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The Hidden Figures of Plymouth - Project Update


February 2023

The project has been running for a year, and has included many successes, including school workshops, Pop-up exhibition at Drake Circus shopping mall, The Box Jimmy Peters exhibition, 1-day film festival in October at the Arts Cinema. In 2024 the project will be delivering history walks, further community engagement and exhibitions. 

Oral history interviews with living figures from global majority backgrounds have taken place, and a booklet is being created about them, as well as a booklet about the past hidden figures of Plymouth. 

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Pop up exhibition at Drake Circus shopping mall, engaging with around 80 people per day over 10 days, 10am-4pm. 

WonderZoo's Jimmy Peters Exhibition at The Box, September - December 2023, for the Hidden Figures of Plymouth project. Viewed by an estimated 5,000 visitors over 3 months.


1-day film festival at the Arts Cinema with pop up exhibition of Hidden Figures Project. 

Hidden Figures Of Plymouth

January 2023

WonderZoo are proud to announce that they have been awarded £82K from National Lottery Heritage Fund to supervise a 2 year project starting February 2023 called ‘Hidden Figures of Plymouth’.


We're happy to announce that our two posts have been filled by very experienced and passionate people, Rachel Hawadi is Project Leader and Jackie Wacha is Project Assistant.










The project will use history and storytelling to celebrate cultural and racial diversity, bringing talks and workshops into educational and community settings. The aim is to raise awareness of the amazing people from global majority or marginalised backgrounds that have lived in Plymouth, past and present.

WonderZoo’s core themes are Storytelling, Community and Collaboration and this project will incorporate these elements.

Partner organisations of the project are Diversity Business Incubator, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, Nudge Community Builders, and The Box Plymouth.

The Project Leader will research past figures like Bill and Claude Miller, Plymouth’s father and son politicians, who were the first black city councillor and first black Lord Mayor, respectively, as well as many other figures such as Ann Wilkinson, co-founder of the Plymouth Respect Festival in 1998, and Jack Leslie, the first black professional football player to be selected to play for England in 1925, who played for Plymouth Argyle at the time.

The information gained from research will go into creating a booklet to be given out to schools, universities and community groups.

The Project Leader will conduct 40 recorded interviews over two years with living figures in Plymouth from global majority or marginalised backgrounds, who have not been fully recognised for their lives and achievements, in order to raise the profile of the wealth of interesting characters in Plymouth today.

By the end of the project, the Project Leader, supported by WonderZoo will form a new independent group in Plymouth that promotes diverse history and racial equality, creating a lasting legacy for Plymouth that extends far beyond the initial two years.

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