17 Feb 2020

What is Don’t Settle?

Over the last year we at Don’t Settle have been working in partnership with Birmingham Museums. You may have seen a mention here and there, but who are we and what have we been doing?

The aim of the Don’t Settle project is to champion young people of colour to get involved with heritage by getting them to design the stories that places tell, deciding how they’re told and who gets a say.

Last year, we worked with Soho House. Since the house has always been part of Handsworth we wanted to situate the story of the building in Handsworth and see how the local communities could get involved with this historic property.

When we explored the story of Soho House we realised that what tied everything together was innovation. The house was innovated to stay relevant to different communities, Soho Road is full of innovative businesses, and Matthew Boulton himself was an innovator.

With this in mind, our curators rewrote text in Soho House to be more inclusive and added new things to the house. These ranged from objects to interviews and portraits of the local community. We also launched a Re-Imagining Soho House Tour, which tells the story of Soho House in a more Handsworth centric way.

But how do you ensure that these stories keep getting told and the local community remains at the heart of Soho House? To accomplish this we set up a Young Advisory Board, made up of local young people, who have helped shape the strategies of Soho House.

The work of Don’t Settle touches on a lot of sensitive topics. We think it's important that young people of colour have an open and safe space where they can discuss issues that matter to them. Which is why we created our Lunar Campfires events, to shape discussions on personal culture, identity and representation.

These events are hosted in public spaces, such as Soho House, to highlight the social responsibility that spaces and organisations can fulfill for their communities.

This year our work will focus on Aston Hall to creatively interpret narratives of people of colour. If you would like to get involved we are currently recruiting for our next programme, visit the Beatfreeks website for more information.