Title ID 4314Collection ID406
CollectionSouth East Arts
ThemeUrban Life Case Study Brighton
KeywordsCommunities Education Ethnic Groups Piers Social Welfare Urban Areas Women
RegionalBrighton and Hove East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionAn Emerald Films / Lighthouse Production
CameraJane Finnis; Nick Stock (Tourist Scene)
DirectorSheela Banerjee; Maria Michael
ProducerJane Finnis (Executive Producer); Tim O'Riordan (Executive Producer)
Funding bodySouth East Arts, Brighton Borough Council and Alleycat Productions
EditorSheela Banerjee; Maria Michael; Nick Stock (Tourist Scene)
NarratorRita Wolf
LightingTim O'Riordan
SoundTim O'Riordan
ParticipantsCllr Steve Bassam (Leader Brighton Borough Council); Cllr Tehm Bramroze (Chair Ethnic Minorities Representatives Council); Asmat Roe (Women's Section Ethnic Minorities Representatives Council); Cllr Arlene Rowe (Chair of Further Education Committee East Sussex County Council); Bharati Roy (Community Worker and English Teacher); Cllr Sheila Shaffer (Chair of Women's Committee Brighton Borough Council)
Other creditsSheela Banerjee (Interviewer); Maria Michael (Interviewer); Bharati Roy (Interviewer)
FormatColour Sound
Duration19 min. 10 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This documentary uses interviews to give voice to the immigrant Bangladeshi women who are living in Brighton, women who feel isolated in their adopted homeland.


A small group of Indian families enjoy a picnic on Brighton beach during a Bank Holiday weekend, and explore the seafront, alongside the white visitors. Neon lights light up the pier and the seafront at night, and Asian men work in an Indian restaurant. Black and white archive photographs of Indian men at Brighton Pavilion serve to remind us of the long connection held between the city and this ethnic group. A number of representatives from ethnic minorities bodies and from local government are interviewed about the difficulties faced by immigrant Bangladeshi women living in Brighton. Several women from the Bangladeshi community are interviewed - their identities remain hidden however for fear of reprisal. The women talk about their feelings of isolation and entrapment in a culture of domestic patriarchy and in a Western society in which they have limited language skills. In an attempt to combat the latter issue, Bangladeshi women take English language classes at the Friends Centre in Brighton, classes which are under threat from a lack of sustained funding. The film ends with an image of the Indian families looking out to sea from the beach at Brighton.


A still from 'Bhashahara' (1990) - a group of Bangladeshi women on

Contextual information

Bhashahara (1990) provides an insight into a community which has traditionally had a low visibility in Brighton - although a diverse city in many ways, Brighton's population has traditionally been represented as being white British. The word 'bhashahara' translates as 'lost voice'; the lost voices of the Bangladeshi women. This film succeeds in giving voice to a community and a gender so often silent and/or invisible.

The film was funded by South East Arts (now known as the Arts Council England, South East) as one of their first multi-diversity culture projects. For Screen Archive South East Bhashahara (1990) represents a starting point for the development of a collection of material that recognizes and represents the diversity of the region.

Related resources


Brighton History Centre records at The Keep

“Brighton History Centre holds an extensive range of material for the study of Brighton's history and culture, both past and present.” The collection includes newspapers and periodicals for Brighton and the region; books and pamphlets on Brighton; an extensive collection of photographs, postcards and slides, maps; Brighton and Sussex ephemera, including theatre, cinema and sporting programmes, scrapbooks and posters; oral histories of local people. A catalogue listing further references and resources accompanies a selection of films about Brighton and Hove (from Screen Archive South East’s collection) is available online from The Keep.

Other Resources

Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership

"MECP, a BME infrastructure and umbrella organisation works with diverse BME community groups and organisations, individuals and their families in Brighton and Hove including Refugee and Asylum Seeker Communities.


Brighton in Pictures

The Brighton History Centre image and photography collections are now held at The Keep. A selection of photographs from the collection is searchable on The Keep website and by request from, Brighton and Hove Museums.

Brighton and Hove Museums Collection

My Brighton and Hove

Described as “a living history of Brighton and Hove”,this web resource gathers memories, photographs, knowledge and opinions about the city.

Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA)

"The Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA; till October 1997 ASCACHIB) was formed in 1991. The aim of the Association is to foster research and to disseminate information on the history of Black peoples in Britain".

Friends Centre

The website for the Friends Centre in Brighton, an institution dedicated to providing learning opportunities for adults.§