What is the Chai Experience?
The Chai Experience project was a social heritage project working with Nottingham’s South Asian citizens, run by Nottingham City Libraries and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Beginning in 2019 the project was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic, restarted in September 2021 and was completed in April 2023.
During the project we have been privileged to capture the memories of members of the South Asian community who came to Nottingham in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. The material we gathered will be added to the Nottingham Local Studies Library collections to ensure they are available for future generations. The collection will also help us celebrate the impact and influence of Asian citizens on the rich social heritage of Nottingham through the creation of school packs and reminiscence packs.
Chai Experience activities
The project was launched at the Nottingham Mela in September 2019 and gained momentum and interest at community events such as the South Asian Heritage Week at Trinity Square and International Mother Tongue Day at the Dales Library. Alongside these events we held creative workshops in libraries, where members of the community participated in Urdu calligraphy, silk painting and memory book making, all accompanied with a cup of Chai. We heard moving stories of how and why people came to Nottingham and details from their lives since they arrived.
Filming of participants began during the Autumn of 2021 and Spring of 2022. We now have 12 individual films, plus a short film which highlights the variety of their experiences.
The short Chia Overview film was first shown to the project participants at the start of Mela 2022 at the New Art Exchange. It was also shown during the project celebration event, also held at the New Art Exchange alongside a display, activities and of course, a cup of Chai.
Watch the Chai Experience films here. Use the drop down arrow to choose from the 13 films produced during the project.