Ben_Blackwell

Participation in the project: Researcher

Occupation:

Hobbies: I am currently learning to play the Banjo and have been enjoying it greatly. I have travelled extensively and spent three and a half years teaching English in Taiwan, hence my interest in Chinese people in the UK. I am also a big supporter of Bristol Rovers Football Club.

Reflective Log

I was fortunate enough to find out about the research project through my good friend Martin Kuroczik whom I have known since my days at University in Leicester. Martin asked if I was willing to help on the project as they needed somebody to cover some of the history from the Bristol area. I was keen to help out, so agreed to participate as a researcher. I was a little intimidated at first as to where I should start, but was keen to begin. I chatted with Martin online and got a good feel for the project. It seemed like a great opportunity to combine my previous experience of living in Taiwan with a chance to learn some more about my own local community in Bristol.

Through the research project I have found areas of Bristol and resources that I was previously unaware, of which the Bristol Record Office was most impressive, and will happy revisit out of interest in the future. Handling documents from the 1850s and seeing primary sources was a great privilege and one that I would not have enjoyed had I not begun this journey. When I received the group from London it was a very enjoyable day and I was able to share my knowledge with similarly minded people which I found to be highly rewarding.

My only regret is that there wasn’t a bigger Chinese community in Bristol in past which would have provided me with many more interesting stories to research. It has been great fun and I have even been able to involve my wider family in helping me research different aspects by giving their time. What will stay with me longest is the accessibility of history within easy reach that is so fascinating and relevant to our modern lives.