This year’s Black History Month events, exhibitions and resources aim to enhance awareness, champion equality, diversity and inclusion, highlight support and to celebrate Black joy and achievements.
A highlight of the programme is a visit from Olympic medal-winning athlete Anyika Onuora who will share her remarkable life story with students and the public at the Ormskirk campus.
Anyika released her autobiography My Hidden Race earlier this year, revealing her shocking experience of racism, discrimination and sexual abuse, and the impact on her mental health.
Tayo Aluko, writer, singer, actor and producer will also be welcomed on to campus as part of our Black History Month celebrations organised by the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR).
Tayo’s talk, ‘Art as a weapon: some pan-Africanist examples’, is a survey of artists from the African diaspora past and present who used their arts in the fight against oppression and white supremacy. The presentation will include slides, video and some live performance by Mr Aluko himself.
Throughout Black History Month, the University will play host to a gallery of images curated by Joy Gana-Inatimi, Senior Lecturer in Edge Hill’s Medical School.
The gallery celebrates Black culture coming together as one community, anti-racism movements and thriving in the face of adversity.
The powerful images highlight how being one community can help us grow together to learn and understand our differences while recognising what ties us together.
“I hope other Black people see themselves reflected in the images – the hope, the joy, the energy and the vibrancy that our different cultures bring to the mix.
“I hope these images make people smile but I also hope they stir up defiance in the face of bias or challenges that some people may be facing. I hope these images send out a reminder that there is love, there is acceptance, there is inclusion and that there are allies they can seek out across our communities for support. You are not alone.”
Students have been involved with the ‘My Icon’ project which highlights influential Black professionals in the modern world, helping to educate people about Black history, through photographic displays around campus.
Law student Mazvita Kadzirange chose former High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs as her icon, highlighting how she revolutionised the legal system by becoming the first Black person to be appointed to the senior judiciary of England and Wales.
“It is crucial for everyone to learn about influential Black professionals in the modern world and this project is a great way to educate and shed light on Black history.
“Through ‘My Icon’ I hope other Black people will feel seen, heard and represented. It’s important for students to see faces similar to their own around campus, as this will reassure them that they are studying in a place that is inclusive and wholeheartedly cares about diversity and celebrating their heritage.”
English student Judea Tucker chose writer, intellectual and cultural critic Bell Hooks as her icon, describing her as a pioneering feminist theorist during the second wave of feminism.
To close the month of celebrations Edge Hill will host a market-style event featuring local independent African and Caribbean traders – including Mikono Creations, Akoma Arts and Afro Blend UK – selling food, clothes, arts and crafts.
The event, organised in conjunction with the University’s Multicultural Society, will take place on Friday 28 October, 11am-3pm.
Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor, added:
“During this year’s Black History Month, Edge Hill University is drawing attention to the continued need for everyone in society to identify and challenge racism wherever it arises.
“As an institution founded on principles of inclusivity and diversity, we are committed to raising awareness and using education as a means to help our students, learn more about Black culture and to celebrate the contribution that the Black community has made to our University, Britain and the world.
“However, exploring these principles isn’t confined to just one month in October, we pledge to keep up the momentum and to continue championing inclusivity and diversity as part of our core values all year round.”
More information about Black History Month at Edge Hill and the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion can be found here.
The University’s International Centre on Racism is dedicated to researching racism in all its forms, click here to find out more about its work and how students and staff can get involved.
The Institute for Social Responsibility aims to make a positive impact on societal issues through cross-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange activities. Learn more about the work of the ISR on their homepage.
October 11, 2022