Know Your Roots is a new project, generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, that uses mixed media technology to develop art work that celebrates the beauty of black hair.

Participants embark on a super, kinky, curly exploration of the connections between heritage and hair. They are given the opportunity to sharpen their creative skills and produce a vibrant online exhibition that celebrates the beauty of afro hair. They also record their personal hair journeys for the London Metropolitan Archives and thereby, become part of London’s living history!

The launch of Know Your Roots was at the Museum of London in December, 2018. Click here to view the Know Your Roots presentation. 

Why Epic is involved in the project

Partnership for Young London was invited to meet young people from Lancaster, Canalside Centres and Flashpoint Centre Play because youth workers have previously felt the need to address issues that members of their group have experienced in relation to identity and afro hair. Participants have shared that they do not 'understand' the nature of their hair or what to do with it.  Some young women explained that they appreciated their hair in its natural state but felt that it was not always appreciated by others and that there where some settings they presumed would not allow them to wear their hair naturally, such as work. 

Young people from diverse ethnic groups have expressed an interest in learning about the geography of hair and how the texture evolved as a protective factor against harsh UV rays.

How does the project work?

Participants will work with visiting tutors to explore the connections for them between their heritage and their hair. They will then be introduced to a range of different artists and supported to create their own art work. Artists referred to for inspiration will include the work of Carol Rossetti. The material generated will be curated into an online exhibition. The work will help raise the self-esteem of other young black women and men and raise awareness with a wider audience about links between culture and identity.

This project has also been developed in recognition that all young people need to learn about their identity to promote healthy emotional well-being.

Project Photos