The winners of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced May 3, including the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB) as a finalist in the Education Category for their free community education programme Tracing Our Roots/Routes (TORR). The Education category honours companies or initiatives that help inspire better and more equitable learning.
World Changing Ideas Awards is a major annual awards programs focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.
NMB’s TORR programme launched in 2021 and continues, providing tools and strategies to explore, honour and preserve family histories. The programme combines technology and participative practices to learn history, encourage critical thinking, see multiple perspectives and promote community wide engagement. It includes five webinars, NMB-created resources, a teacher training, an on-site contemporary art exhibit and crowd-sourcing initiative to better understand and connect with Bermuda’s complex past.
In the series of online workshops and presentations, local and international experts (such as American genealogist Kenyatta Berry, Bermuda Archives & Library, National Museum of Bermuda, Smithsonian Institute and US-based non-profit Story Center), shared how to interview living relatives, use genealogy methodology, and access immigration records and archival resources to trace family history, and how to share family stories. A participant in the Smithsonian workshop commented: “I happy- cried through most of that. I wish I’d known as a kid that our history would be so valuable.”
Working with StoryCenter last summer, NMB introduced a small group of local educators to digital storytelling, where they created a short digital story based on a personal object with the aim to bring newly acquired skills into the classroom. Digital storytelling builds important skills including communication, digital literacy and empathy, and expands interest and pride in family, community, and national histories. One educator’s story was showcased at the International Storytelling Conference.
The Traces and Pastimes contemporary art exhibit by Bermudian artist Gherdai Hassell is the physical and artistic representation of researching family history on display at NMB. Hassell explores ancestry, cultural identity memory and time through large-scale digital collages and biodegradable flagging tape sculpture. Her work focuses on her own discovery of her family history, which she can trace back to West Africa and St. Kitts.
The latest iteration of the programme is the Bermuda Family Scrapbook: Your Pictures, Your Stories, Our History. The crowd sourcing initiative invites everyone living in Bermuda – and anyone abroad who has previously lived in Bermuda or has a relative who has lived in Bermuda – to submit their historic family photographs and associated stories to the project. The images and stories submitted will become part of the NMB permanent collections and will also form digital and in-person exhibits at the Museum, launching later this year and in early 2023.
When asked about TORR, NMB Executive Director Elena Strong stated: “History is about the lived experience of people. Our role as a National Museum is to provide new access points to make history relevant and accessible. TORR, which is supported by NMB’s The Future of History Campaign, is a unique blend of partnerships: educators; artists; museum, genealogy and heritage professionals (overseas and local); historians; and community members. It provides multiple ways to access and engage with history on a personal level using objects, photographs, art and primary and secondary sources. This collaborative programme is not only teaching historical research skills, it promotes critical thinking, seeing multiple perspectives, and builds empathy. It allows for reflection on personal and cultural identity and gives weight to stories and voices that have been traditionally marginalised from the historic narrative.”
Now in its sixth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 39 winners, 350 finalists, and more than 600 honorable mentions—with climate, social justice, and AI and data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 2,997 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, health, social justice, and more. In addition, several new categories have been added this year including climate, nature, water, and workplace. The 2022 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Australia and Bermuda.
Fast Company’s Summer 2022 issue (on newsstands May 10, 2022) will showcase some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling global challenges. The issues highlight, among others, probiotics for coral reefs, easy-to-assemble kit homes for refugees or disaster survivors, a 3D printed vaccine patch, an electric truck, a system to heat homes from the waste heat of a name-brand factory, and prosecutor-initiated resentencing for overly long prison sentences.
“We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems, from shelter to the climate crisis. Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” says David Lidsky, interim editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists have identified some of the most ingenious initiatives to launch since the start of 2021, which we hope will both have a meaningful impact and lead others to join in being part of the solution.”
NMB’s Tracing Our Roots/Routes programme: https://nmb.bm/tracing-our-roots-routes/
Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/