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LIDC member colleges: Bringing Black history to the forefront

Written by Leila Monteiro

October 12, 2020

History is not neutral. Black Brits experience that their history  is often overlooked, forgotten or ignored. The contributions of Britain’s black population often do not attract the attention and credit that is deserved. Black History Month aims to change that. It is celebrated in several countries in the world to raise awareness of Black history and experience, highlight Black contributions and build confidence and pride in Black cultural heritage.


Black history month in the UK

October marks Black History Month in the UK. It was first created in the UK in 1987 by Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo in collaboration with the Greater London Council. It is celebrated to promote awareness of Black British history and the contributions of Black people in the UK, such as the work of Black immigrants from the Windrush generation to build the NHS. This, along with the systemic racism associated with healthcare in the UK, is quite uniquely important to remember as the country still fights the Covid-19 crisis.


Celebration in member colleges

Black History Month is celebrated throughout the UK through talks, exhibitions, concerts and more. Although it has been moved online due to this year’s circumstances, there are many events going on throughout the month of October to pay tribute to, increase conversation around and become more educated on Black British history.



SOAS is celebrating Black History Month with a varied programme of events. Some of the highlights include:


Furthering Black Women in Higher Education and Careers (Virtual Event)

Join Zainab Badawi, Lavinya Stennett, Mx Busisiwe Deyi and Dr Emilia Onyema for a panel discussion on 15 October at 6 pm to celebrate the success of black women and how they can get the most out of their education and careers.


You Hide Me: 50 Years On

A panel discussion of ‘You Hide Me’ by Ghanaian filmmaker Kwate Nii Owoo and the restitution, curation and teaching of African art, on 7 October at 5 pm.


Is it Time for a Universal Basic Income? Perspectives from African and Peripheral Europe

A webinar on 7 October at 5 pm with speakers Ruth Castel-Branco and Costas Lapavitsas. A recording will be made available on SOAS’ website.


BHM 2020 Critics Programme

A six-week learning workshop, starting on 14 October at 4 pm, which hopes to engage students in critical analysis of a range of art works created by contemporary and historical visual, performing and written Black artists.


Do Black Lives Matter? Race, Racism and Resistance

An online seminar with Maya Goodfellow in conversation with Kehinde Nkosi Andrews, on 14 October at 5 pm.


Governing the Environment in Kenya

A webinar on 28 October at 3 pm, examining the environmental laws in Kenya.



At Queen Mary:

Also Queen Mary University of London has an extensive schedule of events for Black History Month. Some of the highlights include:


Black British History Seminars

On Thursdays at 6 pm from October 1, Rob Waters t QMUL’s School of History hosts a series of Black British History Seminars. Topics include Concepts, Geographies, Debates covers all aspects of black British history from the ancient to the contemporary.


Interview with Arthur Torrington, co-founder of Windrush Foundation

Date TBC.


Podcast: Black Germans under the Nazi Regime

Joseph Cronin from Queen Mary’s Department of History focuses on the history of Black people in Germany and the ways in which Black Germans coped with the unique situation they faced in Hitler’s ‘racial state’. Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud.


A Seat At the Table

A discussion about inclusion in business and other industries is more important than ever. Be prepared to listen and provide your perspective on what Business and other industries must do to incorporate inclusion within the workplace and beyond in this event on 14 October at 6 pm.


BreakThrough! Women’s Café Presents: Female Entrepreneurship and the possibilities

19 October 2020, 5-6:30pm

We will be hearing from female entrepreneurs about:

Their perspectives on Female Business, Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment and its challenges

The importance of female business, entrepreneurship, self-employment and supporting black businesses


Julius Onah: Black Lives in American Cinema

Julius Onah is a Nigerian American filmmaker based in New York City. His work has screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, London, Dubai, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Camerimage. He’s currently exploring storytelling around the world through his multimedia project Open Continents. Meet him on 20 October at 5 pm.


Southall Black Sisters: Why Black Matters?

Rahila Gupta is a freelance journalist, writer and activist. She is a member of Southall Black Sisters and chair of The Nihal Armstrong Trust. Meet her on 27 October at 6 pm.


About Black Entrepreneurship

This guest panel event will include a series of black entrepreneurs/business people including QMUL alumni, starting on 28 October at 6 pm.


At Birkbeck University of London

Check out Birkbeck’s schedule for Black History Month on their website. A few highlights include:



In addition to a film screening on 6 October, UCL is hosting a panel event on 14 October.


At City, University of London

On 5 October, City, University of London organised a Diversity in Business Talk.


Royal Vetrinary College

RVC and its student union have issued a joint statement on Black History Month. A new Racial Equality Task Group is also up and running. Read more about what this group does on RVC’s website.

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