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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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Gender and race in leadership: imperative or irrelevant?

Stephenson Ideas Panel Discussion

(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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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.

(Pattern image designed by Freepik)