Office of Everyone

Bussing Out

An immersive installation featuring the oral histories of children from ethnic minority backgrounds that were sent away to remote schools in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bussing Out

Shabina Aslam was a seven-year-old in Bradford when she was placed on a bus and moved out to a white-majority suburban school, where she and her brother were placed in the special needs department, despite being fluent in several languages.

Aslam and her brother were part of the controversial “bussing out” policy from the 1960s and 1970s, which transported primary school children from ethnic minority backgrounds to rural white majority schools. On the surface, its aim was to integrate the children of immigrants from the former British colonies.

Shabina Aslam’s personal experience forms the basis of an immersive installation, Bussing Out, which is based on 21 oral history interviews. For the installation, we developed a purpose-built kinetic set of the top floor of a 1970s bus, which includes 180° projected animation, binaural audio and a virtual bus driver seen through the convex mirror. Visitors are immersed in verbatim oral histories performed by actors, as the animations of the bus route are back-projected onto the windows.

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