October 11, 2016, by Paula Akpan
Thoughts on Learning in Womanist Ways
I attended the Learning in Womanist Ways talk at the University of Nottingham’s Arts Centre last Friday, given by guest speaker, Dr Jan Etienne who is a researcher and associate lecturer at Birbeck, University of London. Despite having the potential pressure of being first of the University’s Black History Month events this year, the event did not fail to deliver.
Dr Etienne described the niche and complex research that she has been undertaking for a number of years now – understanding where the older black women over the age of 50 learn and why they choose to learn; an issue that I’m sure most, myself included, have never truly considered but one that affects many, particularly the black community. Not only did she touch on where these women go to learn but she also reflected on how these matriarchal learning hubs increase participation within the local community as these women are afforded a greater wealth of knowledge due to the learning courses they undertake. Additionally, she introduced the concept of womanism, which borrows from feminist thought but prioritises and aims to tackle racism before sexism.
Dr Etienne’s talk was a illuminating lesson in support and survival amongst mothers and grandmothers within the older black generation who found themselves in the UK in the 50s and 60s. I live tweeted the event for People and Culture and you can read the Storify here or see it as a slide show below.
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