About the Project

“History isn’t just about writing in a book. It’s about real people, whose lives can be changed in many different ways”
Student, Cathays High School, Cardiff

This Making Histories website is an exciting collection of fascinating family histories and migration stories documented by young people in Cardiff, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester and London. You can hear incredible oral history interviews exploring journeys to Britain from parts of Europe, India, Africa, the Caribbean and beyond. Stories range from escaping a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean island of Montserrat to being recruited from Zambia to work in the NHS. These deeply personal stories will make you think about history in a completely new way.

The Runnymede Trust, initially in partnership with the Department of Sociology at the LSE and the Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, worked with young people in Leicester, Sheffield and Cardiff to stimulate their interest in social, community and family histories. Due to the success of this project, we later worked again with the University of Cambridge, as well as the Sociology department at the University of Manchester, to extend these projects to schools in Manchester and London, where students looked at the effects of migration and diversity on local spaces. We encouraged all the students to research their own family and local community history. They were taught basic research skills, and have used these skills to produce the podcasts, family trees and mini-documentaries available on this website.

Making Histories is the second phase of a previous Runnymede project called Bangla Stories which is a new learning resource for young people (KS3) about migration, integration and life histories. We created this to showcase the work of Claire Alexander and Joya Chatterji (our partners from Manchester and Cambridge University) on the Bengal Diaspora. You can also read more about this work here. Its success led to all the projects you will see on this site.

How to use the website

Migration Stories – To find a migration story, go to the ‘Find a story’ section of this website and browse through the full list of stories. Alternatively you can use the interactive ‘Stories map’ on the homepage to select individual stories. 

Migration Timeline – Use our interactive migration timeline to learn about how global events can influence where people live. Migration routes aren’t always straightforward.

Community Booklets – If you would like more information on the history of either Cardiff, Leicester or Sheffield, download one of our community booklets.

We hope these stories will encourage others to think about their own families’ journey and reflect on the patchwork of different local histories that make up 21st century Britain. If you are a teacher, the content on this website is ideally suited to assist learning activities for Key Stage 3 and 4 in History, Religion, Citizenship and English subject areas.

‘How To’ Guide

If you are not a teacher, but wish to document your own family or local history, you can download the “How To” guide to make your very own documentary.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please email [email protected]