Windrush Cricket: Meet the Team
Dr Michael Collins (Principal Investigator)
I am Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary British History at UCL and have published on the intellectual history of empire and decolonisation after 1945. I discovered cricket as a seven-year-old in 1984, watching in awe at the skill, organisation and power of that year’s West Indies team, perhaps above all the incomparable Viv Richards. Only much later did I discover, through C. L. R. James, Hilary Beckles and others, the political potency of that moment in terms of the history of empire, decolonisation and national identity. The impetus for this project arose from what I see as the relative historiographical neglect of cricket as a form of social and cultural life within black British communities in the postwar period, but also a desire to do practical work with these communities to record and preserve oral history memories. Please see my UCL webpage for further details.
Montaz Marche (research assistant)
I am a recent MA History graduate from UCL, where I studied after earning a BA in History at Royal Holloway, University of London. In September 2020 I began a PhD in History at the University of Birmingham. My areas of focus are modern black British History, particularly of the 18-20th century. Recently, my research has explored 18th century gender, racial politics, and experiences of black women in London. I have written about my 18th century research for the UCL History website and for the National Archives. I am an active member of the Young Historians Project. I am passionate about bringing black British histories to the forefront. Being of St Lucian-Jamaican heritage, I feel particularly drawn to this project’s illuminative and unique exploration of West Indian migration and settlement in London and I’m excited to be a part of what I hope will be an important piece of cultural and social history.
James Serieux (research assistant)
I am currently studying BA History at UCL. I have also held the position of Streetbase Team Lead for approximately two years within the council of Waltham Forest. I joined Streetbase at a time when I felt lost. Now I hold multiple positions, such as Youth Mental Health Ambassador, and a position as member of the Life Chances Taskforce. Whilst undertaking the role, I took various forms of training, e.g. Conflict Management at Leap CC. I went into youth offending services and found out how life was for members of society such as young people from BAME backgrounds. From 16, I began designing websites as a way of showing my parents that I could be independent. Starting with close friends, I began to design for the wider community, and now for this project and the forthcoming Windrush Cricket exhibition. My main interests as a historian are the study of British and Asian history, but I am also extremely invested in the controversial history of countries under imperial rule. Through this project, I hope to delve into some of my St Lucian roots, alongside Montaz. I hope to bring the element of understanding that I have developed through my experiences into the research.
Ladi Ajayi (2020 Hackney project partner)
I am Hackney Council’s Leisure and Physical Activity Development Manager. I have been in the post for the last 11 years and involved with leisure, sports and community development for over 30 years across London and Essex. I have been a cricket supporter from a very early age, watching test matches at the Oval and developing cricket initiatives at the grassroots level, working with the likes of Essex, Middlesex and Surrey county boards. For me, cricket is a sport that has meaningful depth and importance on so many levels, particularly for migrants to Britain. This is why we need to capture the history and stories first hand from people who experienced it during their lives.
Banner images taken from London Transport Museum