The University of Leicester will be celebrating Black History Month

An Attenborough Arts exhibition, Literary Leicester discussions, student-led initiatives and more to mark the 30th Anniversary of Black History Month in the UK

October 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK- a time to celebrate black history, arts and culture.

At the University of Leicester, an array of events will be taking place throughout the month- with Literary Leicester special guests, a national touring exhibition, and a full programme in the Students’ Union.

On Saturday 14 October, a free public event entitled ‘Talking Sound Systems’ was held at Attenborough Arts Centre to launch Let’s Play Vinyl.

Let’s Play Vinyl is a nationally touring exhibition at taking place from Saturday 14 October 2017, where it will remain on show in Attenborough Arts Centre until Friday 24 November.

The high quality exhibition will explore how sound systems and the reggae scene are becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity, and how a love of vinyl is being carried through by the new generation of soundmen and women despite technological advances and the popularity of digital formats.

This year’s Literary Leicester Festival, Leicester’s annual celebration of the written and spoken word, will feature two events exploring aspects of black history on 18 November.

‘Green Unpleasant Land: Rural Racism in Contemporary Britain’ is a panel event that will discuss the experience and phenomenon of rural racism. It will focus on the cultural and literary experiences which underpin this racism and consider how to combat it with evidence, writing and action.

For the second event, ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’, Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga will discuss his multi-award winning book. Published to accompany the BBC2 series, the book explores the longstanding relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa.

Our Students’ Union and student societies are also organising a series of events throughout October- featuring exhibitions, film screenings, discussions, talks, social events and sports sessions.

Highlights include the ‘Forward to Freedom Exhibition’, the ‘Black Sport Alumni Q&A’ and a ‘Black in Academia Panel’ with academics from Oxford University, King’s College London, UCL and the University of Warwick.

Eden Mesfun, BAME Officer for the Students’ Union, said: “Black History Month is the opportunity for us to celebrate black prominent figures, past and present, who have lived remarkable, inspirational lives, whose achievements play out their legacies to this day.

“It is important for our Students’ Union to celebrate BHM to create awareness of the struggles and challenges that relatives of the black students at our University overcame. It is a chance to celebrate how far we’ve come in achieving a fairer and more representative society.”

Beyond campus at the Phoenix, the University of Leicester has partnered with local arts organisation Serendipity to support their month-long FilmFest.

The festival programme includes documentaries, biopics and cinema classics from around the world exploring social, cultural and political change, challenges to social and civil rights, and those who have sought to change things for the better.

This year, Black History Month is also the inspiration for new efforts at the University of Leicester to document our black history and our contribution to race-related research.

The Special Collections team at the David Wilson Library are searching the archives for photos, texts and articles about our past.

These artefacts will be digitised and become part of an ongoing project to document life, study and research at Leicester.

Kate Williams, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equality and Diversity at the University of Leicester, said: “The celebration of Black History Month at the University of Leicester gives us the opportunity to recognise, appreciate and celebrate the achievements of our diverse staff and student body. We look forward to welcoming staff and students to an exciting and diverse programme of events.”

More information on the events taking place for Black History Month can be found here:

Peter Thorley

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