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Plymouth Community History Festival 2023








30th September - 6th October

In 2023, WonderZoo’s founder Slain McGough Davey was asked by the Plymouth Community Heritage Network (a network of Plymouth Octopus Project) and The Box to create the Plymouth Community History Festival (PCHF).

It was decided that the PCHF would celebrate Plymouth’s diverse history, to coincide with Black History Month in October. This was the first time Plymouth had a history festival that brought in a diverse range of speakers from different cultures, including Caribbean, Indian, Mixed-race, and African backgrounds. 


Slain was the main producer of the festival, supported by Chi Bennett (WonderZoo). Alan Barclay (The Box) was the main liaison between WonderZoo and The Box, helping to produce the festival from the start, with Claire Skinner (The Box) playing an additional supporting role.

Tania Nana and Azza Gasim from DBI programmed events to celebrate Black History Month for two weeks following the PCHF, including Cultural Food Demonstrations, Storytelling, Film Nights, and Wellbeing Workshops with Club Kombat. The PCHF was the start of Plymouth’s Black History Month events.

Working with Chi Bennett, Slain programmed 6 diverse talks, 6 diverse walks, an Opening Day and Closing Event, which were all free to attend and advertised broadly to the general public.

The Opening and Closing events were in collaboration with Diversity Business Incubator (DBI). For the Opening Day, DBI had their monthly Bazaar outside The Box, with stalls, food and music. For the Closing event, DBI hosted an evening of African food and Storytelling at Jabulani, in The Plot, supported by Nudge Community Builders.

During the week of the PCHF, The Box had an unveiling of a painting titled ‘Lady Jane Grey at her place of Execution’ by Plymouth born artist, Solomon Hart. The painting hadn’t been seen by the public in 35 years. This was featured on local, regional and national news, including The Guardian newspaper.


Impact - At A Glance


Opening Day - 30th September 2023

40 people attended Opening talks and performances

20 Information stalls in Active Archives Area of The Box

23 Vendors at DBI Bazaar outside The Box

1004 more visitors than on the same day of 2022

6 Diverse Walks, 6 Diverse Talks over the week

Closing Event: African Storytelling and Food at Jabulani

380 out of 460 free tickets sold for events during the festival

403 actual attendance


Visitors at The Box for the week (30th Sept - 6th October) - 1772 more visitor than the same week of 2022, which is a 52% Increase on the same week of 2022



Solomon Hart Events (organised by The Box)

106 Tickets sold



Actives Archive Area

6 Display Pods

Estimated 5935 visitors have seen the display pods over 3 months (September-December 2023)



Closing Event at Jabulani

A historic moment - the first time the descendants of Jimmy Peters, Jack Leslie and Bill Miller had met each other and been at the same event together.

120 people attended

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