UCL Culture has partnered with the Black Britain and Beyond ‘virtual’ symposium on ‘Being and Belonging’ to be hosted on 24 October 2020. The symposium’s ethos is to provide a wider understanding and relevance to the meaning “Black Britishness”, to take stock of its achievements and challenges; the symposium will inspire participants, provoke thought, and catalyse progress, creating a forum that initiates and facilitates relevant conversations across Black communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
“We believe that change starts with a conversation and through the amplification of the voices less heard, said Simon Cane, Executive Director, UCL Culture. “This is a critical conversation about the future that we want to create, a future where Black lives are valued as much as any other, a future that British Black communities’ area able to invest in, influence and shape as equal stakeholders.”
The organisers behind the symposium are UCL Culture’s Revd Professor Keith Magee, a senior fellow in culture & justice and global social justice scholar and public intellectual; Ms Sheryl Nwosu, a public speaker, senior barrister at a leading defence set of barristers 25 Bedford Row and advocate on issues of race at the Bar; and Mr Andy Mundy-Castle, a documentary filmmaker, producer and director, Managing Director of DocHearts Films.
During UK Black History Month, October 2019, the three began to collaborate on convening Black Britons to engage in and critically assess the significance of their unique culture, heritage and identity. The goal became to galvanise Black Britons, to acclaim their space in the ever-changing globalised world, to understand disparities whilst strengthening commonalities – looking backwards (Africa) and sideways (Caribbean & USA), and to continue moving forward and beyond.
Asked about ‘Being and Belonging’ the symposium “Black Britain and Beyond” co-organiser Sheryl Nwosu said:
“We’re here, we’re embedded here, through history, culture, and contribution; building and solidifying institutions, and the very fabric of a society that we can sometimes forget that we have, should we want it, the ultimate stake in, i.e. its future. This symposium is created as a reminder, and perhaps another timely starting point”
The event organisers indicate that the theme and title of the symposium, ‘Being and Belonging’, is the golden thread which weaves together the world-renowned plenary speakers, performances, and the moderated panel sessions featuring intergenerational leading experts. Participants will have the opportunity to celebrate blackness and being Black in Britain now and beyond these times, identify and articulate their shared and disparate challenges, determine future-facing effective strategies in a setting designed to ultimately strengthen the Black personal and professional network.
“There are few things as important and as necessary as the need to better understand the history, the impact and the Contemporary challenges faced by black Britons, said Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch. “This symposium makes a major contribution by illuminating how expanding our knowledge about this community will help all see that history and experiences of black Britons is both the story of a people and a nation.”
For continuing information about speakers, performers, sponsors and registration please visit the events website at www.blackbritainbeyond.org.uk.