October is Black History Month here in the United Kingdom and, for some of our international staff and students, this may be your first time celebrating Black History with our University community. If it is, I do hope you find the time and space to participate fully in the incredible programme of events that have been planned.

While Black history is in no way confined to one month of the year, many people in the UK set aside this time as an opportunity to highlight Black-owned businesses, to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people in the UK, and to reflect on the diverse histories of the UK’s African and Caribbean communities.  It is also an opportunity for us to learn more about racism, its effects and how we as a community can challenge racial stereotypes. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating our Sisters, Saluting our Sisters, and honouring Matriarchs of Movements’. The events that have been put together at the University will align with this theme, focussing on the vital role of Black women throughout history. 

This year the University submitted its first AdvanceHE Race Equality Charter application. Staff from across the University worked tirelessly over a period of two years to complete this submission, and we are grateful to them for all of their hard work and contributions. The Race Equality Charter aims to improve the representation, progression and success of Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students within Higher Education and focuses on: academic staff, professional and support staff, student progression and awarding, and diversity of the curriculum. It provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students. 

During the month of October, we are also opening up applications for three University-funded spots on the AdvanceHE’s Diversifying Leadership Programme, which tackles the under-representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders in UK higher education institutions. This programme aligns to three themes: power and influence, demystifying leadership, and cultural identity and cultural capital. The hybrid course will require attendance on eight days scheduled over the course of three months (April – July) in 2024, and is a valuable way to both network and develop one’s career. Applications and guidance can be downloaded online, and applications are due for submission internally by 5pm on Friday, 17 November 2023. For more information on the application process, please email the Inclusion team

Upcoming Black History Month events:

  • 12 October – Oedipus Electronica at the Lakeside Theatre
  • 17 October - BAME Staff Forum: Black History Month Event ‘Empowering the BAME Community through celebrating influential women’
  • 18 October – Telling Your Own Story
  • 19 October – Law student to theatre-maker alumni workshop
  • 19 October – You are African first before anything
  • 20 October – His Story Her Story Their Story My Stories Your Stories Our Stories