Exploring the untold stories of ‘Bussing Out’ in Bradford

In January 2023 we were delighted to have the opportunity to take a group of students from PINC college to the brand new immersive exhibition ‘Bussing Out’, at the University of Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill. The trip was part of a wider project Untold Stories produced in collaboration with Dr Becky Parry and funded by XR Stories and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Referring to an educational policy from the 60s and 70s, ‘bussing out’ impacted South Asian, West Indian and African children who migrated to Britain from former British colonies. The policy stated that no school should have more than 30% immigrants on roll, or they had to be dispersed to other schools.

This brand-new installation by artist and scholar Shabina Aslam showcases, through an interactive bus journey, a collection of memories of those affected by the scheme. The special installation combines oral history, creative nonfiction, 2D and 3D animation, binaural audio recording, set design and creative technology to bring to life an unseen history connected to post-war migration. 

The project uses new technologies to recreate events that happened in the past, while producing an intensive archive of oral histories for future generations. The events in the narrative are based on a variety of characters and stories experienced by children, now adults, affected by bussing. 

Part of a wider project, Untold Stories, a project exploring what the future of public service broadcasting could be for young people, we visited the exhibition with a group of students from PINC college. The students enjoyed the exhibition and it sparked some interesting discussions around the future of broadcasting and how we should choose which stories should be told. It was a great opportunity for the students to meet the creator of the exhibition, Shabina Aslam, and to ask questions about the process and history. 

The trip was one of many from a programme of creative activities designed by Dr Becky Parry, to provide some history and context as well as access to content made using new immersive technologies. We are sharing the work inspired from these workshops in exhibitions throughout spring, with the next exhibition taking place from our Cholavan at Dean Clough in Halifax on 3 March and shared again at XR Stories The Future is Northern conference on the 27 March 2023.

The Bussing Out installation is free entry and open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday at Gallery II, in the Chesham building on the University of Bradford campus. Find out more through the Theatre in The Mill website. 

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