Hip Hop Historian Society and Leeds City Museum Win Prestigious Award

The Hip Hop Historian Society (HHHS) and Leeds City Museum (LCM) have been honoured with the prestigious Best Temporary/Touring Exhibition under £80,000 award at the Museums + Heritage Awards.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday 15 May at the Hilton Park Lane in London.

The award-winning exhibition, “A Hip Hop Journey: 50 Years of Kulture,” was on display from July 2023 until March 2024, attracting 82,157 visitors. It offered an immersive exploration into the rich history and cultural impact of Hip Hop over the past half-century.

The exhibition captivated audiences with its engaging displays and interactive installations, including a subway-styled timeline, art gallery, retro record shop, reconstructed 80’s/90’s bedroom and recording studio, movie theatre, library reading area, barbershop, and a spectacular centrepiece: a reconstructed New York subway train built and decorated by Martin Allan, LSK, King Monk, and the local street art/writer community. It showcased rare artefacts and provided an in-depth look at the evolution of Hip Hop music, dance, art, fashion and hairdressing. The exhibition highlighted the five core elements of Hip Hop: aerosol art, emceeing/beatboxing, deejaying /production, bboying/bgirling and knowledge. It also celebrated significant events, moments and figures in Leeds Hip Hop history, emphasising the genre’s global influence and cultural significance.

Beyond its visual and educational appeal, the exhibition had a significant impact on the community through a series of events, including workshops, live performances and Q&A panels. Local visual/aerosol artists, bboys/bgirls, deejays, beatboxers, emcees, and poets were given a platform to promote their work and engage with the public.

Marcia Brown, Azza Eltraify and Lee Arnold

This accolade at the Museums + Heritage Awards recognises the exceptional efforts of the Hip Hop Historian Society and Leeds City Museum in curating an educational and inspiring exhibition on a modest budget of £12,000. The award further cements their reputation for delivering high-quality, impactful cultural experiences.

Special thanks go to Marcia Brown, Martin Allan, Marcus Browne, Leigh Kenny, Brian Swarray, Hajir Eltraify, Amelia Hopkinson, Anthony Newby, Richard Peacock, Rachael Dilley, Esther Amis-Hughes, Azza Eltraify and Lee Arnold for their dedication in curating and assembling the exhibition.

The judges had this to say:

“It was so clear to my fellow judges and I that ‘A Hip Hop Journey: 50 years of Kulture’ was, above all, fun and joyful and celebratory and inclusive. It was comprehensive, rigorous, professionally executed and thoroughly researched too, of course, but it was the way in which the exhibition was created, and the way in which it invited everyone in to contribute their stories and experiences, which was the most striking thing. Popular music and popular culture exhibitions often run the risk of being gimmicky and shallow and this wasn’t remotely the case here.”

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