A new project has been launched to unearth stories revealing the multi-cultural history of Honiton.

Volunteers will collect oral history stories from people from diverse backgrounds, and research archives to uncover hidden multi-cultural histories.

The project will be led by Honiton Community Heritage Coordinator Jess Huffman, who will work in partnership with Allhallows Museum to recruit and train the volunteers.

Jess is a Cultural Studies graduate and a trained Oral Historian who has worked on national and regional initiatives including the Beautiful Days festival, the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, the National Rural Touring Forum and Hikmat, a community interest company enabling and supporting minority ethnic communities in Devon.

She said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this role. I strongly believe that embracing cultural diversity through arts and heritage-based projects like this one can nurture community cohesion, empathy and understanding for others. This can have a huge everlasting impact on us all. These projects help us to value our place in our communities and highlight the important contribution we all have to offer.”

The work is starting this summer and will take 18 months to complete, finishing by the end of 2024. The oral histories and the research will be added to the museum’s collections at the end of the project, helping to fill gaps identified by the museum.

The research findings and oral histories will also be shared in a number of ways including exhibitions, events, a self-guided walking tour booklet, teaching resources and on the Telling Our Stories website.

The ‘Telling our Stories, Finding Our Roots’ project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and has already been carried out in Bideford, Okehampton and Tiverton. Its latest stage covers Honiton and Ilfracombe.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Honiton project should contact dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk or look on Devon Development Education’s website: https://www.globalcentredevon.org.uk/

Devon Development Education is a charity which runs projects with groups throughout the county. It aims 'to enable children and adults to understand links between their own lives and those of others worldwide; and to develop skills, attitudes and values which enable people to work together to bring about change to create a just and sustainable world'.