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Black History Month

Black-heritage lady smiling

Held every October in Britain, Black History Month (BHM) was first introduced in London in 1987 through the Greater London Council, as a means for offering a sense of history, achievement and continuity within the Black community.

In the same year, the African Jubilee Year Declaration was launched which called on local and national government authorities to recognise African contributions to the cultural, economic and political life of London and the UK. Over the years, hundreds of local and national events have been organised across the UK in commemoration of Black History Month. It has also evolved into a celebration of cultural diversity, and has significantly contributed in promoting inclusion in the UK. At Durham, BHM activities and events are organised by various groups, colleges and departments from across the University. Have a look at our consolidated programme  below and take part in the activities!

Staff and students can also visit our Black History Month Hub to learn more about the significance of Black History Month and this year's theme "Celebrating our Sisters", and to access various Black History Month resources and features.


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Library Book Giveaway: Black History Month

(taking place throughout October)

Throughout Black History Month, we will be running a book giveaway in Bill Bryson Library. New copies of selected titles will be wrapped and hidden in the Library – find one and it’s yours to keep or pass on! Titles included in the giveaway have been recommended by staff and students from across the University, and each title will also be made available to borrow from Bill Bryson Library. 

Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share what you find! #DULibBookGiveaway


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All God’s children need travelling shoes: critical reflections on race, gender, identity and belonging

(Tuesday 10 October, 5.30pm to 6.30pm | open to all)

Trevelyan College are delighted to invite everyone to a lecture featuring Professor Donna Chambers (Northumbria University). Professor Chambers is an interdisciplinary scholar who is interested in how people and places are represented in cultural and heritage tourism (as a form of human mobility), the link between heritage and national identities, gender intersectionality (specifically Black feminist approaches), postcolonialism and decolonisation, visual methods, and in critical and innovative approaches to research.

This lecture will take place at Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College, DH1 3LN. To register, please complete this form.


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Black History Month Event: Department of Chemistry

(Wednesday 18 October, 12pm to 4.30pm | open to DU staff and students)

The Department of Chemistry are delighted to invite University staff and students to celebrate their Black History Month Event, with an outstanding range of speakers from Durham and beyond:

  • Dr Marcia Philbin, CEO of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
  • Jared Sey, Real Estate Investment Banking Analyst
  • Dr Isaac Odiase, Chief Product Owner, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK)
  • Dr Kelechi Uleanya, Postdoctoral Research Associate, York University

The event will start with lunch, which will be served in Red Green House in Chemistry. If you would like to join for lunch, please register using this link by 16th October and let the organisers know about any specific dietary requirements.


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Understanding the role of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) teaching workforce in schools of England

(Thursday 19 October, 12pm to 1.30pm | open to all)

Professor Feyisa Demie will be holding a seminar featuring findings from an ESRC-funded research project on ethnic disproportionality in school teaching workforce

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion by Professor Nadia Siddiqui, Professor Beng Huat See, and Dr Yiyang Gao. This event will focus on the following topics:

  • Ethnic inequality in the teaching workforce in schools - Why it matters
  • Ethnic composition of the teaching staff and its relationship with the attainment of ethnic minority pupils at KS2 and KS4
  • Factors that facilitate the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority teachers in schools in England
  • What works in attracting and recruiting ethnic minority teachers, relevant to England

It will take place at Room PCL057, Palatine Centre (DH1 3LE). 


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Black History Month Art Exhibition

(Friday 20 October, 12pm to 6.30pm | open to all)

In celebrating Black History Month 2023 themed “celebrating our sisters”, the BAME Network and Durham People of Colour Association (DPOCA) invite everyone to an art exhibition showcasing the various art works of Black-heritage women from the UK and globally, including textile artist, Dr Sequoia Barnes.

The art exhibition is being held to celebrate Black-heritage women and their contributions to the world of art, music, food and much more.

It will be held in the Bailey room at St Aidan’s College (DH1 3LJ), and will be open for all to see from 12pm until 6:30pm. We hope to see you there!


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Gender and race in leadership: imperative or irrelevant?

(Monday 23 October, 6.30pm | open to DU staff and students)

Stephenson College is delighted to invite Durham University staff and students to a panel discussion featuring Dr Victoria Showumni and Dr Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE.

Dr Victoria Showumni is Associate Professor at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and has developed a national and international reputation for her work on identity and leadership. She has been the principal and co-principal investigator for five research projects. The UK WomenKind project centred on women and violence, nationally and internationally. A project on identity and leadership, funded by Race in the Community and BELMAS, explored non-white women in senior leadership positions across sectors in England. Dr Showumni's ‘Coaching and Mentoring’ project explored how coaching and mentoring can assist with the progression and development of racially minoritised staff.

Dr Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE was the Global Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the British Council and member of its Global Leadership Team,  responsible for setting and driving the strategic direction of EDI worldwide. Fiona is a former social worker, a member of the Higher Education Academy and her local Race Equality Council, a Trustee of Africa Gifted Foundation led by Tom llube, supporting gifted and talented African girls in science, and a founding member of the Premiere League’s Independent Equality Panel. Her 2005 OBE further recognised her contribution to EDI, and she has been recognised as Britain’s most influential people of African and African Heritage Powerlist on three occasions and is now in its Hall of Fame.  

Stephenson College JCR's POC Rep and DPOCA College Rep Chair  Lexi Amoakohene will represent students on the panel, which will be chaired by Seun Twins, current Durham PhD student and former President of Durham Students' Union.  

This panel discussion will run from 18.30 - 19.30. Doors open at 18.00. It will be held in the Saltwell Building, Stephenson College, DH1 3DE. To register, click on the event flyer to access the QR code or use this link.


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The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good:

the Life and Times of a Windrush Boy

(Thursday 26 October, 1-2pm | open to all)

Durham University Business School presents their Black History Month event featuring Professor Clive Fraser. Prof Clive D. Fraser BSocSci (Mathematical Economics, U. of Birmingham) and PhD (Economics, U. of Southampton), is a Jamaican-born microeconomic theorist in mathematical economics and public sector economics. His academic career began in 1978 at U. of York. Since September 1995, he has been an Economics Professor at University of Leicester (UoL) and was Head of Department, 2005-2008. 

He is currently UoL School of Business (ULSB) Diversity Champion and belongs to UoL’s Gender Equality Action Group (GEAG). One of his first actions on taking the Diversity Champion brief was to co-found ULSB Black Excellence (UBE) with a White ally to address, among other things, the “awarding” and “satisfaction” gaps for Black-heritage students. Since 1973, Clive has done voluntary outreach with community organisations seeking to boost the attainment and recognition of UK members of the Global Majority. He has worked with Reach Society as a Black-heritage role model at careers conferences in London to inspire Black-heritage young people to explore viable career strategies. He has also organised similar employability days at UoL with the Foundation for Reach Society and, most recently, the Leicester City Council Employment Hub. One of the most satisfying aspects of this activity, he says, is bringing “town and gown” together to try to effect positive change.

Clive’s talk will consider aspects of his life as a “Windrush Boy”, from the time when he arrived in the UK to a hostile environment in 1960, to now, and what it means to be a leader in EDI space. This event will take place at Room 452MHL, Durham University Business School, DH1 3LB.


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History Now! BHM 2023: Black History in the North East
(Thursday 26 October, 5:30-7:30pm | open to all)

A discussion of academic research and public history projects on the North East's Black history to mark Black History Month 2023. Taking place at the Great Hall, Durham Town Hall.

Featuring presentations and discussion from:

  • Busola Afolabi, the Director of Newcastle-based educational charity, Success4All. As part of their work engaging, empowering and motivating young people to succeed in education, Success4All have facilitated youth-led projects on Black history in their local area.
  • Terry Graham, Head of History at Heworth Grange School in Gateshead and the lead in Project North Star - a multi-faceted project looking at promoting Black history with schools and local communities and amplifying the North East's history in national conversations on this subject.
  • Joe Redmayne, a final year History PhD student at Newcastle University interested in global labour history. His thesis situates County Durham during the year 1919 transnationally and explores the global implications of the Empire on British society through regional working-class consciousness. He uses a multi-occupational approach and the category of whiteness to renew our understanding of class consciousness in an age of world empires.

Chaired by Liam Liburd, Assistant Professor of Black British History. Registration is essential, please register for free tickets here.


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Writing Black History in Another Era of Backlash:

Black History Month Keynote Lecture by Christienna Fryar

(Friday 27 October, 7pm | open to all)

The BAME Network and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit are delighted to invite everyone to this year's Black History Month Keynote Lecture featuring Dr Christienna Fryar. 

Christienna is a writer and an independent historian of Britain and the Caribbean. At the heart of her work is the conviction that Britain and its history cannot be understood in isolation from the Caribbean. After 12 years working in universities in North Carolina, Western New York, Liverpool, and London, she recently left academia. Her last academic position was at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was the founding convenor of the MA Black British History, the first taught masters' programme of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Sharing history as widely as possible and telling stories about the past and the present that explain, inspire, empower, and challenge is an important part of her work. She has appeared on TV, radio, and podcasts, as well as a range of public events. In 2020, she was selected as a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker. She also does historical consulting across a range of industries, including bespoke curriculum development for primary schools and secondary schools. She is currently writing her first book, Entangled Lands: A Caribbean History of Britain, which will be published by Penguin/Allen Lane.

The keynote lecture will take place in Room PCL048 - Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Palatine Centre - Durham Law School (DH1 3LE). To register, please complete this form.


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The Absence/presence of Durham’s Black History: From the affiliated colleges of Fourah Bay and Codrington College to the history of Black students at Durham

(Monday 30 October, midday | open to all)

An event in the Sociology Department for Black History Month. This talk will give an overview of some of the work done as part of the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) Project on the Absence/presence of Durham's Black History with Dr Liam Liburd and Prof Nayanika Mookherjee as well as Laidlaw Scholar Penny Zacharou.

For queries, please contact


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Durham Law School - Law and Black History Video Series

Throughout Black History Month 2023, Durham Law School will be sharing captivating videos where our students and staff delve into the intersection of Black History and Law. Get ready for thought-provoking insights, inspiring stories, and a deeper appreciation for the role of law in shaping history. 

The videos can be viewed in full on the Law School website.


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Lessons from the Life and Work of David Blackwell

(08 November, 2pm via Zoom | open to DU staff and students)


David Blackwell was a pioneer and a trailblazer. In this talk, I will share bits of his early life, to create context for the person he became. I will also briefly review some of his statistical and probability contributions. Professor Blackwell's early involvement in Statistics as a discipline provided clear evidence that everyone can make valuable contributions, no matter their societal labels. Surely, this rich heritage in Statistics has allowed us to rise above other disciplines to be a diverse community. Or has it? To help us address this question, I will review published data on the diversity of our community within the United States. I will also stress lessons gleaned from Professor Blackwell's life.

About the Speaker

Jacqueline M. Hughes-Oliver is Professor of Statistics at North Carolina State University (NC State). She earned her PhD in Statistics from NC State in 1991, following a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. Hughes-Oliver was director of the Exploratory Centre for Cheminformatics Research at NC State (2005–2009) and director of graduate programs for the NC State Department of Statistics (2007–2010). Her methodological research focuses on prediction and classification, analysis of high-dimensional data, variable and model selection with dimension reduction, design and analysis of pooling or mixture experiments, optimal design, and spatial modelling. She is passionate about outreach to underrepresented groups in the mathematical and statistical sciences.

Interested parties can get in touch with or


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Black History Month Films

(accessible via BFI Player, details below)

The British Film Institute (BFI) have curated a selection of films relating to our Black History Month focus ‘Celebrating our sisters’ which highlights the crucial role that Black-heritage women continue to play in shaping history, inspiring change and building communities. All films are free* to access via BFI Player, the BFI’s on-demand film-streaming service: 

To watch the last of these and explore other fantastic content such as the BFI’s own Black History Month subscription collection (Black History Month (, activate your free subscription to BFI Player now. Please go to BFI player - Durham University and follow the instructions. 

* Please note that FREE access is available to all Durham University students and staff within the UK.



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There will be various Black History Month activities taking place in the month of October and beyond, so watch this space!

If your department / college / association / network is planning a Black History Month activity this year and would like for this to be included on this consolidated e-programme, please complete this form. Thank you.

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