Celebrate Black History Month 2020


September 29th, 2020

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

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.

At Nottingham we are committed to supporting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for our staff and students and will be celebrating Black History Month virtually for 2020. We’d like to encourage everyone to get involved, join our celebrations and share details of the programme within their respective areas.

Highlights of the month include:

Early October: EDI Blog: Baroness Young, Chancellor, recognises Black History Month

Wednesday 7 October: Online Panel – What is Black Joy? 5pm – 6.30pm
The event will be open to the whole of the University of Nottingham community via MS Teams Live.  Sign up via Eventbrite.

To launch this year’s Black History Month celebrations, please join us for this discussion about what Black Joy means to members of our university community – including staff, students and alumni. Hosted by Dr Maria Arruda (Chair of the BAME Staff Network), our panel of speakers will share in the insights and reflections about how Black joy is a presence in their lives and celebrates what it means to be Black.

Panel of Speakers:
Karel Green: Astronomy PhD Student: Centre for Astronomy and Particle Theory, University of Nottingham
Lukeki Kaindama: Epidemiologist, Public Health England
Serena Mitchell: Economics UG Student, University of Nottingham
Shanice Vincent: NextGen Movement UK

Wednesday 21 October: Online Panel: Why We Need Black Radicalism, 5.30pm – 7pm
The event will be open to the whole of the University of Nottingham community via MS Teams Live.  Sign up at Eventbrite.

As part of our Black History Month celebrations, we will look at the role of Black Radicalism in creating and maintaining Black Joy. Black radical movements are often presented with military agendas that aim to overthrow systemic racism at any cost. However, radical philosophies, including many Afrofuturist concepts, ask us to reimagine society in positive and nurturing ways. Black radical collectives continue to explore ways of belonging and supporting people from all positions including centring queer and disabled voices and the thoughts of those in incarceration.  Hosted by Dr Hannah Marie Robbins (Assistant Professor in Popular Music), our panel of speakers will look at Black radicalism that centres freedom, possibility and imagination.

Panel of Speakers:
Janine Francois (Central St. Martin’s)
Lisa Robinson (UoN)
Professor Anthony Reddie (Regent’s Park College, Oxford)
Larissa Kennedy (President of the NUS)

Thursday 29 October: Fireside Chat between Baroness Young, Chancellor and Professor Shearer West, Vice Chancellor
5.30pm – 6.30pm
Register your place here.

As part of our Black History Month celebrations, Stacy Johnson MBE will be hosting a fireside conversation between Baroness Young, Chancellor, and Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor. This will be an opportunity for the Chancellor to introduce herself to the university community as well as sharing her plans for the future.

The Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor will be reflecting on the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests from a personal and university perspective. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about the role of Black History Month and the importance of Black Joy for the University of Nottingham and its city.

Dr Maria Arruda, BAME Staff Network Chair, said: “The year of 2020 has served as a magnifying lens on racial inequalities, graphically revealing the consequences of colonialism and imperialism in shaping the white supremacist systems that still prevail in our Society.

COVID-19 has shown the impact of structural racism, with members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community being hit the hardest by this modern plague, not because of the colour of their skin, but the fact they are disproportionately represented among frontline workers and the victims of discrimination as workers and patients. The murder of George Floyd reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement, turning trauma into action, revealing to the world the systemic violence against Black individuals across the Globe.

These discussions have trickled down to the core of Higher Education, with Universities around the Globe examining their role in perpetuating racist practices and how institutional racism has negatively impacted the scientific ecosystem, contributing to the leaky pipeline that prevents BAME, particularly Black individuals from a career in Academia. 

Black Joy is the way the Black community has responded to the most terrifying modes of oppression for centuries, not only surviving, but thriving amidst violence and contempt. The University of Nottingham’s decision of focusing this year’s BHM events around the theme Black Joy will bring our community together to celebrate Black History while continuing to hold long-overdue discussions on how to be a truly anti-racist institution, with local, national and global influence.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People Professor Sarah Sharples 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, and would like to thank the organising committee for their hard work. 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.
Alongside the events, during October, we will be continuing to finalise our Race Equality Charter submission which will guide our prioritisation of action for several years ahead, building on feedback from our BME students and staff. In addition, Professor Emmanual Adegbite is chairing our group which is advising on actions to address the ethnicity and gender pay gaps. I also hope that Black History Month will provide a focus on the response from the University to the issues raised in the open letter received from our Black student societies in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.
I wish the team every success with the exciting programme of events”.

Activities, events and more across our Faculties, Schools, Departments and Professional services are listed below:

Saturday 3 October: Peggy’s Skylight on George Street, Nottingham.
JOY! Jazz Music of the African Diaspora featuring Tony Kofi and Dennis Rollins presented by the Department of Music

Twilight Show 6pm:https://peggysskylight.co.uk/events/joy—jazz-music-of-the-african-diaspora-featuring-tony-kofi-dennis-rollins-guests-twilight-show
Highlight Show 9pm:https://peggysskylight.co.uk/events/joy-jazz-music-of-the-african-diaspora-featuring-tony-kofi-dennis-rollins-guests-highlight-show

Curated and hosted by the Music Department in conjunction with Peggy’s Skylight, a highly-regarded jazz venue in Nottingham. A professional house band will accompany a variety of current Black singers and instrumentalists, including the award-winning Dennis Rollins MBE and MOBO-nominated, multi BBC Jazz and Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner (and local legend) Tony Kofi , to perform music which celebrates the canon of Black jazz composers.

Tuesday 6 October: 5pm – 6pm – The Black People’s Side of the Story”: The Historical and Transatlantic Roots of Black Lives Matter.” Virtual talk by  Dr Hannah-Rose Murray presented by the Student-Staff EDI Group: School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and School of Biosciences.
In this virtual talk, Dr Hannah-Rose Murray will explore the trajectory of Black activism and agency from the nineteenth century to the modern period. Using the written, visual and performative testimony of survivors of US slavery in particular, she will trace how their words are still very much relevant today through contemporary challenges to racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thursday 8 October: 12:30pm – 2pm: BAME Virtual Networking Event presented by the Faculty of Engineering.
Students sign up via MyCareer
After the success of the Equality and Inclusion in Science and Engineering event for students in February, the Faculty of Engineering are hosting a virtual event where BAME students can meet enthusiastic BAME role models within the Nottingham Alumni community. The event will create a safe space for students to ask questions about how to start their careers and navigate the world of work and provide Alumni with an opportunity to reflect on their careers and impart advice and wisdom to the next generation of Nottingham graduates. This event will be open to students from across the Faculty of Engineering.

From Saturday 10 October – Sunday 8 NovemberThe Southbank Centre presents outdoor exhibition celebrating Britain’s Black female professors.
Commissioned and curated by Dr Nicola Rollock, and photographed by Bill Knight, it features portraits of 45 professors across a broad range of subjects including law, medicine, creative writing and sociology. The exhibition runs from 10 October – 8 November 2020 , timed to coincide with Black History Month , and is presented along the Southbank Centre’s very popular public riverside promenade The Queen’s Walk in London.
Find out more.

Wednesday 14 October: 5pm – 6pmLets Talk About Race” Navaratnam Partheeban British Veterinary  Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS) presented by the Student-Staff EDI Group: School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and School of Biosciences.
This virtual talk will focus on questions that have been raised by our staff and students such as ‘how to talk about race’ ‘how to be an ally’ ‘ I am a white person who wants to help – where do I start?’ ‘What is the correct terminology?’ ‘Why it is wrong to say you are blind to colour?’ ‘What is the difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist’?

University of Nottingham Libraries
Building on last year’s Black History Month reading recommendations campaign, Libraries will be purchasing electronic versions of students’ and staff’s top recommended reads to celebrate Black history, culture and achievements, promoting them through their website, blog, Instagram and Twitter throughout October. Expanding the digital leisure reading collection means that students and staff can still access these important books at no cost, without needing to enter library buildings.

Celebration of the Black Community presented by The Faculty of Engineering.
The Faculty will be showcasing various Black Alumni, students and staff profiles online throughout the month, shining a spotlight on the achievements and successes of the Faculty’s Black community.

Every Tuesday in October: 12:00 – 12:45pm Culture Café presented by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Sign up via the School of Health Sciences Black History Month Teams chat
A virtual lunchtime ‘Culture Café’ will be held every Tuesday in October, where members of the UoN community will be invited to share stories about their cultural background, careers and experience of being Black in Britain.

Monday 19 October and Thursday 29 October, 2pm – 3pm  – What’s in a Name? Celebrating Black Identity and Culture presented by the Nottingham University Business School.
Are you an African or African Caribbean UoN Student or Young Person in Year 3 to Year 9 in a Nottinghamshire School?  This event will inspire your creativity and deepen your understanding of identity and culture.
Sign Up Via Eventbrite.
The Nottingham University Business School celebrates Black History Month with the ‘Name’ Challenge, which is a widening participation and civic engagement initiative.  The ‘name’ challenge aims to help young African and African Caribbean people to deepen their understanding of identity and culture as they explore the origin and meaning of their names.  Through research and sharing of name stories, the young people will ‘own’ their names and take joy and pride in their meaning.  The challenge is an opportunity for participants to share about their heritage, to learn from each other and to build more confident individuals who are respectful and tolerant of each other’s cultures. Award vouchers will be given to the best presentations in three categories:  Key Stage 2 (Year 3 – Year 6), Key Stage 3 (Year 7 – Year 9), and University of Nottingham Students.

Monday 19 October: 5pm – 6.30pm – Is the University Colonial?: Critical Conversations on Its Past presented by the University of Nottingham’s Institute for Policy and Engagement and University of Connecticut’s Office for Global Affairs
Sign up via Eventbrite
An online panel of leading scholars from Nottingham and Connecticut, chaired by Maria Arruda (Chair of the BAME Staff Network), will discuss the role that universities have had in cultivating racist narratives and inequality in society. This will set the scene for two future talks that will look at the positive role that formal education can and will play in ensuring future equality for all.
Speakers: Prof Lewis L Gordon, Prof Sandy Grande and Prof Cecile Wright.

Wednesday 21st October 2020: 4pm – 5pm – Ubuntu: A decolonial epistemic shift for education, presented by Dr Sobantu Sibanda, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Sign up via Eventbrite
The School of Education celebrates Black History Month by exploring contributions to educational thought from Black thinkers and scholars. The focus of this webinar is Ubuntu, the Southern African theory of being. Ubuntu as a philosophy is predicated on a communitarian conceptualisation of being captured in the saying, “I am because we are, and since we are therefore, I am” (Mbiti, 1969).
The webinar draws on the expertise of Dr Sobantu Sibanda, whose doctoral research explored Ubuntu as a theory of social and educational justice. Dr Sibanda will explain the African philosophy of Ubuntu, show how it represents an alternative epistemology, and suggest how it can be harnessed as a critical tool to inform research and teaching. He is particularly interested in exploring ways in which Ubuntu might contribute to decolonial pedagogies.
After his presentation, he will take questions and engage in discussion with attendees, and suggest readings and resources for those interested in pursuing the topic further

Thursday 22 October: 4pm – 6pmWhat is the ‘Black Student Experience?’ An Open Conversation presented by the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies.
Sign up via Eventbrite
This one-off event is designed to create an open conversation about what the ‘Black student experience’ involves.
In the context of the BLM movement, growing awareness of the BAME attainment gap, and increasing vocalisation from Black student bodies about higher education experiences, this virtual panel discussion will explore the complexities of both individual and collective Black student experiences.
Hosted by Isobel Elstob (Assistant Professor in History of Art, CMVS), panellists Salema Foot (PhD researcher, University of Kingston), Kaleah Alexander (CLAS UG student) and Joshua Madojemu (CLAS UG students) will discuss key issues relating to Black student experience in higher education, before inviting the event audience to share their own thoughts, experiences, and ideas in a broader collaborative dialogue.
This event is open to students and staff and is funded by the School of Cultures, Language and Area Studies and the Faculty of Arts.

Friday 23 October, 5.30pm – 6.45pm: Conversations on race in science and medicine: what can we learn from history today? 
Sign up via Microsoft Teams.
The School of Life Sciences is celebrating Black History Month with an event that explores race in science and medicine from a historical perspective. Leading researchers have been invited to discuss their work on how ideas on racial difference came into being and how these ideas continue to influence racial inequalities in health and healthcare today. The event is open to everyone and is being run as part of the School of Life Science’s Excel in Science programme. The programme aims to support our students and to tackle the fact that BAME students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-represented in funded postgraduate research and hence remain under-represented in academia as a whole.

Monday 26 October: 4pm – 5.30pm: Black, Other – Underappreciated Narratives on Race and Science presented by the UoN BAME Staff Network.
In this session, we will explore underappreciated narratives of racism and colonialism through the eyes of two UK-based Brazilian Academics, Dr Katucha Bento and Professor Carla Figueira de Morisson Faria.
Sign up via Eventbrite.

Tuesday 27 October at 5pm and Thursday 29 October at 12pm: BAME Careers in Science Event presented by the Faculty of Science.
Student sign-up via MyCareer.
After the success of the Equality and Inclusion in Science and Engineering event for students in February, the Faculty of Science are hosting two online Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Careers in Science events as part of Black History Month in October 2020. These will be open to students from across the Faculty of Science, and will give them chance to hear from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Science Alumni about their careers and experiences.

Wednesday 28 October: 10.30am – 11am Coffee Morning and Talk on the Tuskegee Airmen (the first all-black USAAF squadron in World War Two) presented by the School of Medicine.
The Tuskegee Airmen was ‘set up to fail’ on the assumption that black people didn’t have the skills to fly.  Yet they became one of the most successful units of the ward and other inspiring black aviators, including Eugene Bullard (who despite being American had to join the French Air Force in order to fly in the First World War) and the story of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, another all black unit that was tasked to provide ‘Smoke Jumpers’ who parachuted into fires started by Japanese incendiary balloons.

Friday 30 October onwardsIn Safe Hands – The Voices of Black Britain presented by the Faculty of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies.
Register your interest here.
In Safe Hands -The Voices of Black Britain is an online exhibition and audio documentary that celebrates the Black pioneers who claimed necessary spaces in British radio broadcasting from 1920s-1990s. From Calling The West Indies and Caribbean Voices in the 40s/50s, to the thriving pirate radio stations in the 80s, to Choice FM in the 90s; In Safe Hands, takes you on a journey exploring the often neglected stories of the voices of Black Britain who served their communities whose culture, tastes and interests were not being catered for by the mainstream. The project is hosted and curated by Ayesha Taylor-Camara a PhD student in the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies at the University of Nottingham.

Other events may be announced throughout the month.

Various Events presented by UoN Student’s Union include:

2/9/16/23: 7pm: Culture Fridays (BME Network)
19 October: 6.30pm – 9pm: In conversation with Fabian Rivers –  The Dready Vet (Sutton Bonington Guild)
8/13/20/27 October: 8pm – 10.30pm: Film Party – Celebration Black History Month (Sutton Bonington Guild)
23 October: 10am – 4pm: Instagram Takeover – UoN Biosciences Alumni (Sutton Bonington Guild)
5/9 October: 10am: Blood Donation Campaign (Afro-Caribbean Medical Network)
16/30 October: 10am: 15 Inspirational Black Brits in Healthcare (Afro-Caribbean Medical Network)
12/17 October: African Diaspora Social Media Campaign (Ghanaian Society)
28 October: 3pm – 6pm: CV Clinic (Ghanain Society)
4/11/18/25 October: 6pm – 10pm: Black Joy – Online Radio (Sudanese Society)
7 October: 3.30pm – 8.30pm: The Exhibition (One Heritage)
29 October: 5pm – 7.30pm: The Space – Breaking Barriers (One Heritage)
6 October: 6.30pm – 9pm: Movie Night (East African Society)
14 October: 6.30pm – 9pm: Paint and Sip (East African Society)
26 – 30 October: 7pm – 9pm: Instagram Lives (East African Society)
2 October: 5pm – 7pm: Celebration of UoN Black Alumni (Nigerian Society)
12 October: 5.30pm – 7pm: Britain’s History with Somalia (Somali Society)
3 October (onwards): Discounts for students from Black Businesses (Women’s Network)
15 October: Time TBC: Praising the Black Woman Through Poetry (Women’s Network)
8 October: 5pm – 6pm: Medical Racism with Visible Unseen (Disabled Student’s Network)
21 October: 3pm – 6pm: Nottingham ACS Conference (African Caribbean Society)
3/17/24/31 October: Mid Afternoon: Black Queer Film Screenings (LGBT+ Student’s Network)
14 October: 4pm – 7pm: Online Black LGBT+ Student’s Social (LGBT+ Student’s Network)

Please visit the SU website for more information

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