Dr Jeannette Baxter Receives an ARU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Leading Citizen Research Projects.
Jeannette Baxter, Director of New Routes, Old Roots, has received a Vice Chancellor’s Award in recognition of her work with community researchers who explore historical and contemporary issues of migration and heritage through arts-based projects.
Jeannette’s research into the German writer and academic, W. G. Sebald, who was a migrant to Norfolk and whose work challenges official representations of history, has allowed her to develop a Sebaldian methodology of creative historical research for non-academic audiences. In the manner of Sebald’s own research and writing practices, Jeannette’s creative research methodology foregrounds randomness and assemblage, rather than systematic mining, and places creativity, story-telling and the imagination on an equal footing with documentary research practices in order to make room for marginalised and ‘lost’ historical voices to emerge. So, far this creative method has impacted on site-specific citizen research projects, including:
- ‘Come Yew In!’ (2017)an award-winning community play, which explored Norwich’s rich migration history in the form of a Sebaldian historical collage.
- ‘Norfolk Welcomes (2018)a collaboration with Norwich Schools of Sanctuary, The Common LotTheatre company, and Amnesty International, which saw over 16,000 schoolchildren take part across in a day of action devoted to developing welcoming communities for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
- Island Migration Project(2018) a Heritage Lottery Fund project that uncovered the long and rich migrant history of Great Yarmouth.
- ‘Come Yew In! by Wensum Junior School (2019). Inspired by the original play, 65 young researchers (Years, 3, 4, 5) at Wensum Junior School (Norwich) are working with Jeannette and their teachers on developing their very own version of ‘Come Yew In!’.
- Anglia Square A Love Story(2019). Funded by the Heritage Lottery this collaborative, participatory research, music and theatre project will respond to and record contemporary and historical changes to this iconic area of Norwich’s urban landscape. Anglia Square has a long and rich migration history. Jeannette is working with more than 100 citizen researchers (yr 6 at Wensum Juniors and more than 50 adult researchers) to explore this diverse heritage and to produce research that will inspire creative practice and performance.
2018 was a busy year for New Routes, Old Roots. 2019 looks like it’s going to be even busier!
For more information about all of the projects outlined above, please click the links or on the respective project tabs in the menu.