Diverse range of events taking place at the University of Leicester to celebrate Black History Month 2018

Mental health discussions, student-led initiatives and Leicester’s hidden Black history among events marking Black History Month in the UK.  

The University of Leicester’s staff BAME Forum has planned a number of events throughout October to mark Black History Month in the UK. 

The month will kick off with the first of four LitLunches - a book club bringing together staff and students to discuss the experiences of black writers. 

Monday 1 October will also see Dr Margaret Byron, from the University’s School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, set the story of the HMT Empire Windrush within important socio-economic and historical aspects of Post-War migration to Britain. The talk will focus on the colonial relationship that underlies Post World War II migration, the 1948 link between this migration and the NHS and the re-emergence of ‘Windrush’ in 2018 immigration discourse. 

On Saturday 13 October, an evening of poetry, prose and performance celebrating Black history will take place at the Attenborough Arts Centre, featuring local Black artists performing their own history through these creative mediums. They will be performing as part of the Anerki Collective, which aims to break down age and cultural barriers and bring about positive change through the arts.

Tuesday 16 October will showcase a networking session titled ‘Black Routes: Your journey through academia’, which is aimed at Black undergraduate students and explores career progression in academia. Black University of Leicester postgraduate students and staff will be on hand to speak about their own experiences and offer advice. 

During Thursday 18 October, BlackChat – a forum to exchange and progress ideas and plans for issues which affect Black communities – will be taking place at the Curve Theatre in Leicester. The discussion will focus on the topic of representation, with particular reference to Black women in arts, media and politics. 

Thursday 25 October sees psychologist and equality consultant Guilaine Kinouani examine racial trauma and shame and their connection with stigma. This will be followed by a panel discussion on mental health in black communities, featuring journalists, researchers and professionals who have lived experiences with mental illness. 

Finishing off the month, Leicester researchers will be showcasing their work on two projects on Monday 29 October at the David Wilson Library. The Colonial Countryside project reinterprets the historical representation of 10 National Trust country houses through the eyes of school children; and the Library’s Black History project has been unearthing Leicester’s hidden Black history and speaking to students about their experiences of taught history. 

Kate Williams, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equality and Diversity at the University of Leicester, said: “Our celebration of Black History Month gives us the opportunity to recognise, appreciate and celebrate the achievements of our diverse staff and student body at the University of Leicester. I would like to thank the enthusiastic organising team BAME staff Forum for drawing together an exciting and diverse programme of events this year. We look forward to welcoming staff and students to these events across the month.

“The celebration of Black History Month at the University of Leicester gives us the opportunity to recognise, appreciate and celebrate the achievements of our diverse staff and student body. This year we will be undertaking a number of activities to promote dialogue around race equality. We look forward to welcoming staff and students to an exciting and diverse programme of events for Black History Month 2018.”

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