October 1, 2019, by Claire Henson

Celebrate Black History Month 2019

Black History Month has been celebrated in the UK for more than 30 years. It acknowledges signature moments in the history of the UK and is a celebration of the magnificence of cultural diversity and the enriching value in peaceful co-existence.

A number of events are taking place at the University of Nottingham this month in celebration of Black History Month, acknowledging history is being made not just during October but every minute, every hour, every day, every week and month.

We’d like to encourage everyone to get involved, join our celebrations and share details of the programme within their respective areas.

Event highlights include:

  • 20th Century Britain through the lens of Black American Music
    7.30-10pm, Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 October 2019 at Peggy’s Skylight, 3 George Street, Nottingham NG1 3BH
    Join us for the screening of three BBC documentaries directed by the British director James Maycock:

    • Northern Soul: Living for the Weekend
    • The Motown Invasion: How the Detroit Label Captured the UK’s Soul
    • Gershwin’s Summertime: The Song that Conquered the World

Gain a unique perspective, at different times and places during the mid-20th Century, of the influence of Black American music and youth culture on the UK – well before the advent of either social media or Hip Hop.

For more information, and to book your place, please visit the event page.

  • Career Success – the BME Experience
    4-6.30pm, Thursday 17 October, Senate Chamber, Trent Building

Join our BME staff, students and alumni to hear about their careers, have your questions answered, share experiences, get ideas and build your network. A mix of short presentations and informal small-group discussion, the evening will be chaired by Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability.

For more information, and to book your place, please visit the event page.

Activities and events will also be taking place in our Faculties, Schools, Departments and Professional Services. These include:

  • Black Healthcare Leaders and Trailblazers
    Tuesday 1 – Thursday 31 October, Medical School Foyer, QMCA display of black healthcare leaders and trailblazers will be in the foyer of the Medical School for Black History Month.
  • Black Nurses: The Women who saved the NHS
    5-7pm, Monday 7 October, Lecture Theatre 3, QMC
    The School of Health Sciences BME Student Network is hosting a screening of the BBC documentary “Black Nurses: The Women who Saved the NHS” followed by a thirty minute discussion afterwards.

For more information, and to book your place, please visit the event page.

  • Organ and Blood Donor Awareness Campaign
    11am-1pm, Tuesday 8, 15, 22, 29 October, A Floor, Medical School Foyer
    10am-2pm, Saturday 12 October, Nottingham City Centre
    10am-2pm, Saturday 19 October, Beeston Town Centre
    The School of Health Sciences BME Student Network is leading a month-long campaign to raise awareness of blood and organ donation, at the University of Nottingham and in the wider Nottingham community. Because of the new rules around organ donation changing next spring, and low numbers of blood and tissue donors from the black community, this is at timely campaign to debunk myths around donation and encourage more people to register.
  • BecoME: BME Leaders in Healthcare Conference
    9am-5pm, Saturday 26 October, Business School South
    The School of Health Sciences BME Student Network, together with the Afro Caribbean Medical Network and the Students’ Union BME Network, present “BecoME: BME Leaders in Healthcare” conference. Open to all, this conference will highlight the journeys of prominent BME leaders in healthcare, offer career building workshops, and provide an opportunity to network with other current and future leaders of healthcare.
    For more information, and to book your place, please visit the event page.
  • Black Faces in High Places
    4pm, Wednesday 2 October in Room A03 Auditorium, Teaching and Learning Building
    A panel discussion entitled Black Faces in High Places – A Navigation Of Race and Gender In Workplaces and Academic Institutions.
    Find out more on the event page.
  • Film Screening: I Am Not Your Negro
    4-7pm, Wednesday 9 October in B63, Law and Social Sciences Building, UniversityPark
    This 2017 documentary film, I Am Not Your Negro, is based on James Baldwin’s final, unfinished manuscript ‘Remember This House’. The film uses the words of James Baldwin to explore the troubling issues that face people of colour living in the US.
    Find out more on the event page.
  • African Drumming Workshop
    12-2pm on Thursday 10 October in the Medical School Foyer, Queen’s Medical Centre
    Join us for a workshop where you can learn more about African drumming.
    For more information, contact Linda Allsop at linda.allsop@nottingham.ac.uk.
  • Steel Drum Band
    12-2pm, Friday 11 October in Hipps Cafe, A Floor, Queen’s Medical Centre
    A live steel drum band performance with Caribbean food available in Hipps Café.
    For more information, contact Linda Allsop at linda.allsop@nottingham.ac.uk.
  • Let’s Dance! Free salsa classes and food market
    12-2pm, Tuesday 15 October, Medical School Foyer, Queen’s Medical Centre
    Come and have a go and learn a few steps!  Cleon has been teaching salsa for a very long time and is great fun. Or just come along to watch and have lunch at our food market from 11am. So much to choose from – Indian, Indonesian and Jamaican.
    For more information, contact Linda Allsop at linda.allsop@nottingham.ac.uk.
  • Windrush is not history: Lunch and Seminar
    12.30-2pm, Wednesday 23 October in B63 Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park
    This seminar will explore how the resonances of the past persist in the present, focusing on drawing out the interlinked web of historical events and present-day exclusions.
    Find out more on the event page.
  • Decolonising the curriculum 
    2.30-5pm on Wednesday 30 October in A4 Law and Social Sciences Building
    This workshop is an opportunity to re-think the beliefs that underpin the curriculum, to challenge these values and to imagine a different curriculum that is inclusive of other voices/histories/theories.
    Find out more on the event page.
  • University of Nottingham Libraries
    Libraries are celebrating Black History Month by asking staff and students to recommend reads which explore BME culture and history to build a Black History month reading list.
    Find out more on the event page.

Other events may be announced throughout the month. For full listings please visit the University’s event listings.

Dr Val Watson, Head of University Counselling Service and Chair of the University’s BME Staff Network, said:

“Recent sighting of the slogan ‘Black History is everyone’s history’ on a tee shirt brought a smile of recognition and pride with a sense that some progress has been made. Black History recognition was public.  Matters of race, racism, belonging, immigration and discrimination are a significant feature of national, international political and personal debates, education discussions, decision making and actions. The need to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of our Black heroes and reflect on the consequences of injustices experienced by Black people is a necessity. The effects of the UK Windrush scandal reminds us that Black history is everyone’s business and to deny this truth is perilous.

Andrea Levy and Toni Morrison, distinguished writers and exceptional heroes who died this year, have left powerful bodies of work which bring the importance of Black history and experience into focus. Their work reminds us of the richness and endurance of the human spirit, often when oppressed. As Morrison says: “If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem.”

We’d like to encourage everyone to get involved; show support for our BME staff and students and local community, aim to learn more about black history, contribute to ongoing debates, see the progress we’re making, and help us make more history.”

Professor Sarah Sharples, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said:

“I am really pleased to see such a varied and dynamic programme of events that has been led by our staff and students for Black History month. This month represents a vital opportunity for learning and celebration for all, whether or not we are members of the BME community, and I strongly encourage University staff and students to take some time to attend at least one of the events which are taking place. I wish the team every success with the exciting programme of events”.

Find out more…

To find out more about the University’s Black History Month programme, please email People and Culture.

You can also subscribe to the People and Culture blog for further updates throughout October.

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