October 31, 2016, by Michael Jennings

Black History Month 2016 – thank you!

Val Watson, Chair of the University’s BME Network, reflects on another successful year celebrating Black History Month.

As we come to the end of Black History Month 2016, I look back with a sense of pride over all of the activity that has taken place across the month.

Huge thanks go out to all those involved, including organisations such as the Broadway Cinema, the New Art Exchange, Rough Trade and Nottingham Contemporary. Thanks also to our Black History Month working party and all the staff within the schools, departments and professional services across the University who have participated throughout the month. Special thanks are due to Vince Wilson, Claire Henson, Mike Jennings, Paula Akpan and Professor Cecile Wright who have gone the ‘extra mile’ to make the events offered a success and for their unwavering support of the Staff BME network’s efforts to celebrate the contributions by those who have and do continue to question, challenge and present the riches of Black culture. And of course, thank you to everyone who came along to our celebrations – it’s been incredible to see not only staff and students but also people from the Nottingham community at these events.

Music and culture have been a key feature of this programme, as Dr Vince Wilson discusses in his blog. But there’s also been an educational and thought-provoking side to the celebrations. We’ve had screening of the film Generation Revolution and fascinating discussion with directors Usayd Younis and Cassie Quarless, and Bo Olawoye and Jacob Oti of Black Lives Matter UK: Nottingham Activists. The School of Physics and Astronomy hosted an event reflecting on how to reach traditionally under-represented groups, the School of Geography delved into the connections of the slave trade and the Midlands, and and we’ve co-hosted a screening of feature-length documentary Sembène! telling the unbelievable true story of the “father of African cinema”.

We’ve also heard from Dr Jan Etienne, Birbeck University of London, discussing ‘Learning in Womanist Ways’, and hosted a fantastic talk from Akala, on the ‘Evolution of the Emcee‘ – drawing on the history and cultures that would eventually influence hip hop. Click the links or scroll down to see Storifies of both events, collecting highlights and thoughts from the audience.

The Centre for Research in Race and Rights has contributed a number of events, including a conference examining the ways in which slavery has figured in British history, a film festival marking the 50th anniversary of Stokely Carmichael’s infamous slogan “all power to the people”, a look at murals as activism and a talk by world-leading slavery historian Manisha Sinha.

So it’s been a very busy month!

We’ll be planning Black History Month 2017 from January 2017 onwards. Please get in touch with the People and Culture Team to be kept in touch with all the latest news on how you can be involved.



Posted in People & Culture Events Programme