Goldsmiths, University of London celebrated Black History Month with a host of exciting events and workshops.
From a series of Goldsmiths take-overs at the Lewisham Shopping Centre to a one-day symposium on race and racism in academia, throughout October we highlighted a host of events run by staff and students, and looked back on the rich black history of Goldsmiths and the wider community.
Black History Month saw a Goldsmiths take-over of units inside the Lewisham Shopping Centre.
From 17 October, Goldsmiths historian Dr John Price collaborated with artists and community groups to co-create a mural and explore how the Borough of Lewisham should commemorate the events of 13 August 1977 - the first time the National Front were prevented from marching and the first time police riot shields were used in England – which have since become known as the "Battle of Lewisham".
The following week (24 October), designer and researcher Rose Sinclair recreated a front room typical of Caribbean families in London in the 1970s, celebrating the relationship between textiles and culture. Passers-by were encouraged to share their front room memories and stories of making in a time when front rooms are becoming a luxury for many.
Curzon Goldsmiths are hosting a special Black History Month screening of 'Belle', a film inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Showing on Sunday 30 October at 2pm.
Hosted by academics from Goldsmiths and London School of Economics, 'Challenging the Silence in Higher Education: Race and Racism in the Academy' took place on Thursday 13 October. The one-day symposium was held at our New Cross campus in the day and was followed by an exhibition held at LSE in the evening hosting well-known academics, speakers and students to front panels on a variety of themes, to explore the experiences of being black and ethnic minority academics and professionals in higher education.
We are immensely proud of being the first university to programme an MA in Black British Writing - hailed as a "landmark for Black culture" by journalist Hannah Pool. When the programme launched last year, we spoke to the first students to enrol on the course about the importance of bringing Black literature into British academia.
Vanessa Igho, one of the first students on the course said:
The MA Black British Writing allows students of black heritage to study themselves ... learning about your roots, your heritage, and how that can inspire you to aspire. And inspire other people!
Goldsmiths is also excited to announce the launch of our new MA in Race, Media and Social Justice next year. From immigration and Islamophobia to #blacklivesmatter and media diversity, issues around race and ethnicity are at the forefront of public debate. Lead by experits in the field, the interdisciplinary degree will introduce theoretical and philosophical aproaches to contemporary debates on race, ethnicity and racism.
Our Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies re-launched last year. Now entering its 34th year, the centre continues to develop the representation and promotion of Carribbean cultural knowledge and heritage in the UK and across the globe.
As well as contributing to our joint conference with LSE, Goldsmiths Students' Union had a packed schedule of events to mark Black History Month. Cinema screenings, talks on self-care and a night of Black british music, film and poetry in collaboration with Take Back The City all appear on a programme that celebrates the historical contributions, achievements, challenges and roles of Black people in society.
Bringing vibrancy to a corner of campus on Dixon Road is a statement piece of artwork, hand-painted by Design graduate, Ted Low. A beautiful mural spans the exterior of the Students' Union reflecting the timeline of black liberation through images of key people in history who had an impact on the movement. Ted explained that he tried to include people who may have not had as much public recognition for their political impact as they deserved, choosing to feature Assata Shakur rather than Martin Luther King Jr, for example.
I’m from South Africa, and although I didn’t live through the anti apartheid movement, it’s still very much part of my history.
Last year we launched the Goldsmiths' Race Equality Group (GREG) staff network. GREG is open to all staff who self-identify as being from a Black or Minority Ethnic background. If you are interested in joining and further developing the network please email David Ramsay, the Chair of GREG: d.ramsay (@gold.ac.uk).
To celebrate Black History Month, GREG has helped organise these events:
Muhammad Ali and Me
14-15th October. 19.30 and 14.30 Saturday matinée, The Albany Theatre, Deptford
Mojisola Adebayo, a Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Performance, and a member of GREG, has written and will be performing in the play Muhammed Ali and Me. It is described as a "critically acclaimed coming of age story of a young black girl growing up in foster care and her fantastical friendship with the legendary Muhammad Ali".
More information can be found on The Albany's website.
Film Screening: Paris Is Burning
20th October. 17.30 – 20.00. RHB 144
Paris is Burning is the critically-acclaimed documentary filmed in the mid to late 1980s which documents the lives of the Black and Latino gay community in New York and focuses on the ball culture of the time. The film focuses on race, class, gender, sexuality, but also a culture which is not necessarily the first thing you might associate with when thinking about Black culture. Free to attend.