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Leicester's diverse communities to be celebrated in national history festival


A celebration of Leicester’s history and how it became the most diverse city in the UK is being planned as part of a national history festival.

From July, the Institute of Historical Research, London, is celebrating its centenary year with Our Century, a 12-month exploration of the discipline of history’s past, present and future through a series of events taking place around the country.

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Historians at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been chosen to host one of the events which will focus on the history of multicultural Leicester. The event, planned for April 2022, will bring together academic historians and community history groups to examine multicultural histories of the city, in partnership with the Leicester Branch of the Historical Association.

The event will discuss what multiculturalism means and how it has influenced the way in which Leicester celebrates its past.  In 2011, Leicester was the first city in the UK where the majority of residents identified as non-white British. There are some 70 languages spoken in Leicester and at least 14 different faiths practiced.

Professor Elizabeth Tingle, Professor of History at DMU, said: “The Leicester History Festival will address all the aims of the IHR events series but in particular it will examine the histories of subaltern groups; celebrate and promote diverse and engaged histories and historical practice as a means of community building.

“In partnership with the Historical Association, it will involve diverse communities in the discussion of how history is created and understood. Doing so through the analytical lens of multiculturalism allows a critical exploration of a theoretical and a lived historical concept.”

The festival will provide an opportunity to hear different stories of residents, community groups and organisations. Programme details and dates will be announced at a later date.

The IHR has given funding towards the costs of staging the day-long history festival.

Professor Catherine Clarke, of the IHR, said the Our Century celebrations aimed to inspire the next generation of historians. She added: "All events approach history in imaginative and creative ways: addressing urgent challenges, discovering or amplifying marginalised stories, promoting inclusivity, engaging diverse communities, and informing and inspiring the next generation of historians."

* Are you a community history group in Leicester who would like to find out more? Please email

Posted on Tuesday 8th June 2021

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