The Legacy of Industrial Textiles Project (LITE) Launch Event
Textiles Heritage Project Launched in the West Midlands Lottery The award-winning Community Education Academy of Leadership (CEAL) officially launched the Legacy of Industrial Textiles Enterprise (LITE) Project at Hawthorns House in West Bromwich West Midlands on 6 September last. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the LITE is rare innovation in the textiles industry. It involves chronicling the historic contribution of African, Caribbean and South Asian communities to textiles heritage. The aim is to nurture, preserve and disseminate through oral interviews, collections and publication, aspects of the industry in which ethnic groups participated; both as employers or entrepreneurs and workers.
Among speakers at the launch-event were: Professor Monder Ram OBE of Birmingham University, who spoke of his personal involvement in the industry, during his formative years. “CEAL’s capture of this important history, is a recognition of the value-add minorities have brought to this sector”. Chair of the HLF West Midlands Committee and former BBC presenter, Sue Beardsmore, referred to the ongoing investment by the HLF into successful heritage projects in the West Midlands, emphasising continued support to projects such as the LITE. Raj Sirpal, a former textiles manufacturer, gave a personal account of his involvement in the clothing production trade. He touched on the resilient strategies that were used to counter the negative impact of the economic recession during the 1980s and 1990s and later, that affected textiles manufacturing and other industries, at the time. Chair of CEAL and award-winning author and business management consultant, Dr. Christopher A. Johnson, was Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the occasion. He reiterated the significance of the LET project within the broader context of ethnic communities’ contribution to various textiles industry linkages textiles and their corresponding influence on British economic history.
A Heritage project to capture, interpret, and share the ‘contributions of employees’ to textiles manufacturing heritage over the past 60 years across Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.