Edge Hill University is committed to diversity, inclusivity and fostering a sense of belonging where all of its community are valued – principles that are being spotlighted during Black History Month.

This year’ Black History Month is being marked by a programme of events aimed at equipping students, staff and the wider community with the knowledge and confidence to challenge discrimination while celebrating achievements and success within the black community.

This year’s programme brings together students, campaigners, academics and experts for a series of poignant discussions and activities.

Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater said: “During this year’s Black History Month Edge Hill 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 celebrate the contribution that the black community have made to our University, Britain and the world.

“However, exploring these principles isn’t confined to just one month in October. That’s why on top of events marking the month we have events in November and December and are carrying this agenda through to 2022 to keep up momentum and continue championing inclusivity and diversity.”

Director of the Institute for Social Responsibility Professor Jo Crotty, who is co-organising events, said: “Sadly, the racism that followed England’s defeat in the European Championship shows that education with regards to race and ethnicity is still badly needed. It is therefore incumbent on us all to recognise this and work towards tackling racism head on with the ultimate aim of creating a more equal world, accepting of ethnic diversity and difference. We hope everyone taking part in Edge Hill’s programme of events comes away empowered and more aware of these issues than before.”

To launch the month, Edge Hill is hosting a series of events for students and staff to learn more about some of the key issues affecting black and minority ethnic communities in the UK.  

Senior Lecturer Dr Joy Gana-Inatimi is hosting two workshops to provide a safe space for students and staff to share their lived experiences in the hopes of opening up the conversation about everyday racism and begin the process of addressing the issues raised as a community.

The general public are then invited to a day of activities organised by the Research Centre of Art and Wellbeing on Friday 15th October that will explore the role of the arts, art therapies and psychotherapies play in the lives of many people in helping to express diversity and learning how the arts and dance therapy can heal racial trauma.

These themes will be considered across several discussions, debates, and performances from international, national, and local experts. The day will feature spoken-word, silhouette and movement performances that convey the energy and emotions that underpin Black History Month. There are four events spread across the day at, 10:00am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

On 19th October at 4pm Edge Hill alumni are taking part in Diverse Voices: Minority Ethnic Alumni Panel – a roundtable discussion about the lived experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students. The panel features alumni from various backgrounds who will be talking about their lives after University. Their career journeys, achievements, and reflecting on their experiences of jobhunting and the workplace while navigating personal challenges. Members of the public are welcome to join the discussion and submit questions for the panel.

The final public event takes place on Thursday 21st October at 6pm when Edge Hill’s International Centre on Racism are hosting a screening of a new and deeply impactful film about Black history. Wilmington on Fire is directed by African American director Chris Everett and documents events that took place in the U.S. in 1898 when a white mob attacked the black-governed city of Wilmington, North Carolina. Following the film there will be a live Q&A with the director Chris via video link.

Also available to all students and staff throughout Black History Month are:

  • 2nd October, Stand Up Comedy, Emmanuel Sonubi
  • 11th October, Show Racism the Red Card online training session 1-2pm
  • 13th October, Rise by TRIBE (Dance Company), Outdoor dance performance
  • 14th October, A talk from noted Black Swimmer Michael Gunning about his life in sport
  • 20th October, A book club looking at the Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. 
  • 22nd October, South Asian Arts Festival & Mela, All day and evening, The Arts Centre,
  • 22nd October, Wear Red Day in support of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.  
  • 26th and 27th October, Just Us Dance Theatre, Born to Protest an Outdoor dance performance
  • Students can join the student run Multi-Cultural Society who run events and meet ups all year round
  • A comprehensive reading list featuring a range of literature from top black authors exploring the key themes of Black History Month.

While some events require registration, all of the events are free and are a mix of in-person and online events. The full list can be found here. Check back for updates and new events.

Celebrating diversity doesn’t start and end with Black History Month. Edge Hill’s commitment is carried through to November when noted historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and film-maker David Olusoga will be delivering a public lecture in the Arts Centre followed by a question and answer session.

Then on 1st December the ISR is hosting Dr Onyeka Nubia, a pioneering and internationally recognised historian and writer who is reinventing perceptions of the Renaissance and British history. Onyeka is the leading historian on the status and origins of Africans in pre-colonial England from antiquity to 1603. His lecture will shine a light on aspects of history most people are entirely unaware of.

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/.

The ISR 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 www.edgehill.ac.uk/isr/.