‘Remaking Britain: South Asian Connections and Networks, 1830s to the Present’ is a collaborative Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project led by the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with the British Library.

Using archival materials and oral history interviews, ‘Remaking Britain’ will analyse and showcase how British South Asian connections have been documented, remembered and narrated, as well as highlight how South Asian people and communities have effected social, political and economic change across the period. The project will produce an interactive digital resource exploring the links amongst South Asians across the UK, as well as the connections between South Asians and other groups in Britain, from 1830 to the present day.


‘Remaking Britain’ will reveal the significance of South Asian people and communities as agents of change to Britain’s cultural, economic, political and social life from the period of empire in the 1830s to the present.


Embed from Getty Images

Docklands Pastor, Kamal Athon Chunchie at the Coloured Men’s Institute, a social and welfare centre he established in Canning Town (1930)


Our aims include to: 

  • Unearth archival materials on South Asians in Britain from across the four nations of the UK and use this research to create a new, freely accessible digital platform featuring a database of South Asians in Britain
  • Conduct new oral history interviews with British South Asians across the UK, to preserve lived experiences of the diaspora, and bring these together with existing oral histories
  • Co-create learning materials with The British Library, on the subject of South Asian Britain, which will be available for use in educational settings


Through this work, we will:

  • Trace the connections and ruptures in the experiences of people who have contributed to areas of work that have a long history of South Asian involvement
  • Encompass a wide range of experiences and class positions
  • Reassess existing historical and literary ideas about the migration and settlement of racialised minorities across Britain
  • Redevelop and expand the original ‘Making Britain’ project, led by Susheila Nasta, by using new technologies to visualise the connections amongst South Asians in Britain


Embed from Getty Images

Indian soldiers during World War II drinking tea from a mobile canteen outside the Shah Jahan Mosque, Woking (1941)


By undertaking this research, ‘Remaking Britain’ will open up, generate and re-present the archive of South Asian Britain for public audiences, community groups and academics. In addition,  the project will deepen and complicate contemporary public debates on belonging and home, and help to remake ideas of Britain and Britishness.


Embed from Getty Images

Children standing on a patch of grass on the Chicksand Estate in Tower Hamlets, London (1978)