What we changed
Dr Maples’ performances successfully attracted new and more diverse audiences creating exciting spaces for cross cultural debate.
“Dr Maples’ events are important in their ability to showcase Norfolk's story to wider audiences emphasising its significance to the nation's social, political and cultural history,” said Dr Rob Knee, from the Paston Heritage Society.
In reaching new audiences, her work is changing perceptions and enhancing understanding.
Feedback from Breaking the Silence was overwhelmingly positive, with those attending describing it as “thought provoking, innovative and powerful.”
Audiences were moved and inspired by the celebration of women and black British leaders of the 18th century abolitionist movement, with one black audience member saying
“I’ve lived in Hillingdon all my life…this is the first time I’ve felt I belonged.”
In 2021 the show will tour 11 churches across the UK where freed slaves and key abolitionists are buried or connected to.
Her work is changing the way museums interact with audiences too.
At Norwich Castle Museum, Dr Maples’ projects have been used to train staff in how to critically engage audiences and her immersive scavenger hunt design is being incorporated into future exhibitions.
“These events demonstrated a step change in the way the museum is engaging with its adult audiences,” said Danie Hadley, from Norwich Castle Museum.
There is anxiety in the heritage industry for the sustainability of heritage sites and education initiatives due to a perceived lack of interest in regional heritage by younger people. However, Dr Maples’ work shows that their interest can be ignited, and they not only want to witness historic narratives, but experience, embody, and ‘touch’ a localised past.