Project Tidal Teatime: A £250,000 project to give more perspectives on history

A NEW pilot project is hoping to shine a fresh light on cultural artefacts in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

By Sophie Lewis
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 1:53 pm

Project Tidal Teatime has held a film premier showing demonstrating the work done to give a voice to historic maritime pieces that may have been overshadowed by Britain’s colonial past.

The project involved analysing three artefacts to discover the cultural backgrounds they have whilst also paying homage to their African and Asian heritage.

The initiative, which is a pilot scheme, has been achieved through a collaboration with Chat Over Chai at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

Pictured: Chat Over Chai members with Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Graham Kerr, Diversity Inclusion team and Jo Valentine, community producer with one of the exhibits at the museum Picture: Habibur Rahman

The group picked out a portrait, a poster by Dora Batty, used in the Second World War, and HMS Trincomalee.

Yahya Barry, research hub manager for National Museums Scotland, which is funding the project, said: ‘The people that we have taken these things from are being silenced and that is a bit problematic in the 21st century.’

The portrait chosen, called ‘Appreciating the situation’, had been sat in the Portsmouth museum archives for years due to lack of cultural information surrounding it. After extensive research, the group discovered that the portrait was of Sub Lieutenant Ahluwalia of the Royal Indian Navy, and had the opportunity to put the piece into context of its origin.

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Pictured: Yahya, research hub manager Picture: Habibur Rahman

The three films, which premiered on July 28, gives an insight into the research conducted to understand the cultural heritages surrounding each object and the multiple voices that can be heard throughout history.

The films are currently only for private use but it is expected that they will be released later on this year.

Lucky Haque, who is part of Chat over Chai in Portsmouth, said: ‘It has been a great opportunity to look at different items in the museum and give our perspectives from our lived experiences.

‘It has been a lot of fun and I think that we have managed to find the family of the man in the painting which has been quite emotional.’

Pictured: Audience at the premiere of the films Picture: Habibur Rahman

The themes throughout the project were life in Britain, immigration and the British Empire

The scheme is set to be the first test run of what may be part of a much bigger project in the future to ensure that people from all cultural backgrounds are able to tell their historical story.

Chat Over Chai Film Premiere of Tidal Teatime at Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth on Thursday 28th July 2022 Pictured: some of the exhibits at the film premiere Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pictured: some of the exhibits at the film premiere Picture: Habibur Rahman