Students and staff are being invited to take part in a series of digital events that look at major issues affecting the black community in modern Britain’s part of Edge Hill University’s plans to mark Black History Month.

The University’s Inclusion Team and the Students’ Union have joined forces and to bring together four notable speakers from Britain’s black community who bring a wealth of knowledge with them about black lives and culture in the modern age.  

The events will encourage students to celebrate the contributions of the black community, to think about the challenges they face and how they can tackle racism in their day to day lives.

Dr Jane Moore, Dean of Education and the University’s lead for inclusion and diversity, said: “This year’s Black History Month is incredibly poignant following the murder of George Floyd in the USA, and subsequent global protests, which have been a devastating reminder of the extent to which racism continues to blight the lives of individuals and communities across the world.

“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 celebrate the contribution that the black community have made to shape our history and culture.”

The first event, Representation in Media and Fiction, on Monday 19th October at 6.30pm, will be led by performer and support worker Simone Mendez and playwright Chavonne Brown.

Simone is a member of Birmingham’s Vogue House of Bab workshop and leads on literature and writing workshops that focus on QTIPOC authors, queer history and writing as a holistic practice.

Chavonne is concerned with presentation and purpose of blackness and queerness in visual storytelling. His most recent collaboration is a musical, educational radio play entitled A Waltz Through New Orleans about the genesis of jazz as a uniquely black art form in the early 20th Century.

Chavonne said: “I’m honoured to be able to have a far-reaching and exciting discussion about the representation of black people in literature and media, especially for an institution like Edge Hill whose very foundation is about providing opportunities to those society has previously denied.

“This year has been strange, witnessing a civil rights uprising in the midst of a pandemic whose bitter outcomes have fallen hardest on minorities. As is so often the case, those already vulnerable to the neglect and contempt of the state suffer worst in a crisis; it is crucial that in a year like this the voices of black people are uplifted, and that the messages they carry be heard.”

The second event, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, will be held on Monday 26th October at 6.30pm. Guests at this event include activist and inclusion specialist Lauren Blackwood who will be speaking alongside campaigner and equality researcher Joshua Williams.

Both Lauren and Joshua are active black rights campaigners. Lauren also works full time as a diversity and inclusion specialist in Higher Education. Joshua is a previous Birmingham Awards winner and formerly the Guild of Students’ President at the University of Birmingham. Both offer a unique perspective on the challenges of being a black student.

Students and staff can book using these links:

Edge Hill’s Students’ Union are offering a number of ways for students to get involved and learn more during black history month. More information can be found on their website www.edgehillsu.org.uk/blackhistorymonth.

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 can get involved  blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/icr/.