Whose History?

Whose History?: where Liverpool’s past and present meet

Welcome to the home of Whose History?, the new film project from Sidelong Glance. The four films in this series they enter production in July 2021, ahead of their release by the University of Liverpool in September. You can keep in touch here, on Instagram @whosehistory, and on Twitter @sidelong_productions

Let Her Witness It

Reimagining the celebrated performances of Mary E. Webb, the African American actor whose tour of Britain in the 1850s also saw her voyage through literature, exploring questions of identity, power and representation which remain vital in our own time 

The Welsh Chapel on Chatham Street on Liverpool’s South Campus. Picture credit: Harriet Bell.

Whose History?, our current project, enters production this month. Let Her Witness It is the first of the four films in the series.

In this film, we reimagine the celebrated readings given by Mary E. Webb, the African American actor. Webb toured Britain in the 1850s with her husband, the writer Frank Webb, visiting leading abolitionists and giving stirring dramatic readings from classic and contemporary literature.

In July 1857 she read at the Royal Institute in Liverpool. In July 2021, we recreate one of those occasions here, on the steps of the Old Welsh Chapel on Chatham Street, now home to the Management School at the University of Liverpool.

Read more about Mary and her remarkable performances here.


Hundreds of people pass up and down Mulberry Street every year. Thousands once lay beneath their feet. This living memorial remembers 2600 people, victims of the Irish Famine in the 1840s who managed to make the journey from their homes in Ireland to Liverpool, but no further.

Inspired by this memorial plaque which marks the resting place of these 2600 people, this film is almost entirely wordless.

In a unique gathering, the 26 participants in 2600 – who include members of the university, and of the wider community in the city and Irish networks in Liverpool and across the North West – will each perform a silent act of remembrance at the site of what was once a pauper’s grave, now covered by student accommodation.

There are many stories of individual experiences, and great personal tragedies, among the Irish community which grew rapidly in Liverpool in the years of and immediately after the Great Famine of the 1840s. But faced with a site that was the resting place of so many, recovering a single story as ‘representative’ did not seem appropriate. In 2600, therefore, we strive to ensure that all are remembered.

You can read more about the background to this film here.

eJoy of Cooking

Every meal tells a story. A meal can bring us home when we’re away, or transport us to new places with every bite. Visit the kitchen, the supermarket and the restaurant with Richard and Sherry, as they reflect on the food cultures of China and the UK. It’s a chance, as Sherry says, to see a different world…

Based on interviews with current students at the University of Liverpool, eJoy of Cooking explores traditions, memories and experiences, all centred around food.

From Stargazy pie to strawberry spaghetti, the film, which blends animation and live action and borrows its title from eJoy Asian Foods on Myrtle Parade, is a vivid celebration of food and its wonders, which draws us into the social lives of contemporary students in Liverpool, and how they see (and smell, and taste) the city.

Hey Joe

To feel that history belongs to you, first you have to know that it recognises you. Joe’s always understood that – and he’s spent his life in Liverpool 8 making sure people know the same is true of the here and now. In Falkner Square Gardens, he’ll explain why. 

The final film in the series, which goes into production in August, is set in the mid-1990s and takes us on a journey through the history and experiences of Liverpool 8 since World War 2.

This verbatim piece is based on an interview with a community activist and fundraiser, and it takes place beside the memorial to Black Merchant Seamen in Falkner Square Gardens which he campaigned for.

Like Let Her Witness It, this film centres on one figure, but it also seeks to ask questions about memory, recognition, and honesty in our shared histories.