Make yourself at home: BBC and the south Asian community experience in Southampton

Abstract

On the 10th October 1965, the TV programme ‘Make yourself at home’ aired on BBC One. A companion radio programme also appeared on BBC radio. The programme was aimed at recent immigrants from India and Pakistan. Contributors spoke a combination of Hindi, Urdu and English, providing informal language lessons based around everyday situations encountered in the UK.The broadcast marked a pivotal move in the BBC’s approach to immigration and had a lasting impact on its ethnic minority programming. While the show demonstrated an important shift in how the BBC saw its role in the public life of an increasingly multi-cultural UK, the programme also marked a crucial moment in the lives of South Asian migrants. Of particularly interest to the artists in Make yourself at home is how such programmes produced a specifically British Asian culture in the UK, and what it can tell us about the nation and the migrant. Make yourself at home is a result of an AHRC funded intergenerational project that included oral histories and facilitated workshops with first and second generation of South Asians in Southampton. The artists’ goal was to understand their engagement with and perceptions of BBC programming from the 1960s onwards, and how such programming may have shaped their identities and sense of belonging to the British nation. Also featured in Make yourself at home is work by textile artist Abeer Kayani who has studied historic BBC archives, analysing the language and lifestyle barriers faced by the South Asian immigrant community of Southampton. These barriers are represented through a series of experimental hand illustrated, screen-printed textile artworks.Make yourself at home is presented in partnership with the BBC to mark the centenary anniversary of the corporation.<br/

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