Montage of paintings by Annan Affotey for a Black History Month art exhibition at St Hugh's
Paintings from 'My Complexion', an art exhibition by Annan Affotey at St Hugh's. Annan navigates Black identity through portraiture.

Black History Month at Oxford

Oxford University is delivering another engaging and informative programme for Black History Month during October 2022 and beyond.

Throughout Black History Month 2022, Oxford University recognises and shares the outstanding contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have made throughout history, exploring those contributions both globally and right here in our city and University. 

Our engaging and informative programme brings together talks, events, resources and initiatives for the general public, staff, students and alumni.

Events open to all

The following events and talks are open to members of the public as well as University staff and students...

Black History Month Art Exhibition: 'My Complexion' by Annan Affotey

Image of Annan Affotey in his art studio paintingAnnan Affotey's exhibition will be on show in the College’s Hamlin Gallery until December 4
'My Complexion' will run daily, 10:00-18:00, from October 1-December 4.
Location: St Hugh's College (Hamlin Gallery)
Free event

Oxford-based artist, Annan Affotey, will be exhibiting some of his paintings in the College’s Hamlin Gallery from Saturday 1 October. 

On Thursday 20 October (16:30-18:00), Annan will be in conversation in Mordan Hall talking about his work, and will also offer a walk-through of the exhibition. Tickets are free and available through Eventbrite here.

Annan navigates Black identity through portraiture. His paintings focus on women and men of colour with vibrant dark skin and soul filled, red eyes. He surrounds his figures in negative space allowing each subject to tell their own story. Affotey’s paintings highlight the nuances of facial expression and examine a story that goes beyond surface level.

Annan was born in 1985 and graduated from Ghanatta College of Art and Design in 2007 with a degree in Drawing and Painting. In 2013, Annan helped found the African Young Artist Organization (AYAO), a group dedicated to supporting African youth in the arts through education and exhibitions.

His paintings are influenced by two main factors: growing up in the presence of strong women and the cultural diversity he’s experienced through living in Ghana, Europe and the United States. The combination of these experiences brings a diverse narrative to his work, exploring the nuanced stories and meanings behind his subjects’ faces and bodies.

Find out more.

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages has organised a programme of Black History Month events throughout October and November.

All welcome.
No booking required, just turn up.

October 11 (14:00)
José Lingna Nafafé (Bristol University)
Launch and discussion of his monograph Lourenço da Silva Mendonça and the Black Atlantic Abolitionist Movement in the Seventeenth Century (CUP: 2022).
(St Peter’s College, Top Floor Perrodo)

October 18 (17:00)
Maria Chiara D’Argenio (UCL)
“Indigenous Plots in Twenty-First Century Latin American Cinema: Inter/culturality, Modes of Production and the Films’ Social Life”
(Room 2, Taylorian)

October 19 (14:00)
Paulo Scott (Afro-Brazilian author)
Reading and Q&A with author.
(Colin Matthews Room, Ground Floor of the Radcliffe Humanities Building)

October 20 (14:00)
Andrew Kahn (Oxford)
“Pushkin and Blackness”
(Room 2, Taylorian)

October 26 (14:00) 
Cécile Bishop (Oxford), Jane Hiddleston (Oxford), and Phillip Rothwell (Oxford)
Roundtable: “Negritude and its Legacies”.
(Room 2, Taylorian)

November 3 (17:00) 
Clare Finburgh (Goldsmiths, University of London) 
“Fanon’s ‘grin’ and Postcolonial Theatre in France”.
(Maison Française)

November 22 (14:00)
Margarida Calafate Ribeiro (CES-Coimbra)
“Afroeuropeu? Afropolitan? Afropean?”
(St Peter’s College, Top Floor Perrodo)

Exhibition - These Things Matter: Empire, Exploitation and Everyday-Racism

These Things Matter launches at The Bodleian and on museumofcolour.org.uk on Thursday 17 November 2022 and is running until February 2023.

Oxford's Bodleian Libraries has partnered with the Museum of Colour (MoC), and Fusion Arts to curate These Things Matter: Empire, Exploitation and Everyday-Racism.

Available globally through the MoC's digital platform and in-person in Blackwell Hall, Weston Library at the Bodleian Libraries from 17 November, These Things Matter shows how every day communications maintained the British Empire and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Maps, letters and even the Bible were edited deliberately to manipulate millions of people and to justify the value of trading African bodies.

The exhibition will, for the first time, feature selected artefacts from the Bodleian's colonial collections. The inclusion of these artefacts allows visitors to understand how they were used to dehumanise people of colour in order to oppress them over several centuries. 

The exhibition features seven contemporary artists, one for each of the six artefacts featured and one reflecting on the entire display. The artists, selected by the MoC and Oxford-based charity Fusion Arts, will interpret the items through sound, art installations and digital displays for a modern audience. 

These artists are Bunmi Ogunsiji, Grace Lee, Amina Atiq, Dirty Freud, Nilupa Yasmin, Mahmoud Mahdy and Johannah Latchem.

Each piece looks at the artefact through a 21st century lens, offering a raw - and at times - brutal, illustration of the artist’s personal response to it. It conveys how it made them feel, and how they see its intended purpose and human impact. Collectively, the experience takes visitors on a unique journey, forcing them to recognise the simple tools used to exploit and uphold systemic racism.

Image of the Slave BibleThe Slave Bible, Bodleian Libraries
These Things Matter is the brainchild of Samenua Sesher, founder of the Museum of Colour, and challenges visitors to consider new perspectives on a perilous time in our history. Samenua was motivated to bring awareness to such conscious acts of manipulation when she discovered what is known as The Slave Bible – an adapted version of the Holy Bible. The edits were made with the intention that slaves who were allowed to read, would have no notion of their right to be free, or thoughts of rebellion. The Bible is held in the Bodleian’s collections and is a key feature of the exhibition.

Samenua said: “Museum of Colour and the Bodleian were looking at how to build on our work together on MoC’s pilot exhibition, People of Letters. So, when I learnt about the 'Slave Bible', and that the Bodleian held a copy, I realised that we had the makings of a really compelling exhibition. Reading about how it was used made me want to explore the quiet but pernicious behaviours that hold barbaric structures in place. This exhibition will highlight the less discussed but conscious emotional manipulation in items like books and maps. Our co-curative process enabled us all to see the legacies in our societies today. The ongoing manipulation which makes some people think they are better than others and convinces other people that they are less.” 

Students and alumni

The following news and events relate to students and alumni...

Application Support and Advice for #10000BlackInterns

The Careers Service at the University of Oxford has long-standing experience sourcing and advertising internship opportunities to students and guiding them through the application process. For the second consecutive year, they are delighted to extend their support to the 10,000 Black Interns programme. Specialised University of Oxford Careers Service staff are delivering one-hour sessions offering pre-application sessions for all students applying for internships through the 10,000 Black Interns programme, whether they are Oxford students or at other UK universities. 

The 10,000 Black Interns programme aims to offer 2,000 paid internships to Black African, Black Caribbean and/or Black British candidates each year for five consecutive years.

Julie Quist-Therson, Programme Manager at 10,000 Black Interns, said: 'The Oxford University Careers Service and Internship Office have been integral to the 10,000 Black Interns Programme's ethos of opportunity and access for all. Through multiple series of applicant preparation webinars, the team has shared specialist insight into the sectors the Programme covers, and has detailed CV and cover letter writing skills allowing attendees from universities across the country to benefit.'

Read more here.

Past events

Black Women at Oxford: Exhibition Launch

Monday 3 October 2022 (17:30-18:30)
Location: The Hub (Kellogg College)
Free event - register to attend 

Part of Black History Month, Kellogg alumna Urvi Khaitan's exhibition traces the lives and careers of some of Oxford’s first black women students.

The University began awarding degrees to women in 1920 and it was from the 1930s that black female students began arriving at Oxford.

Focusing on Kofoworola Ademola (née Moore), Merze Tate, Florence Mahoney, and Karen Stevenson, among others, the exhibition uses photographs, writings, and biographies in an effort to understand their remarkable journeys, unique struggles, and experiences at Oxford.

The exhibition will be introduced by Kellogg Racial Equality and Justice Fellow, Dr Shreya Atrey.

This event is free and open to all. Refreshments will be available. Booking is required, book here.

Find out more. 

Black Women at Oxford: Exhibition

Monday 3 October 2022 until Monday 31 October
Location: The Hub (Kellogg College)
Free event 

Oxford University began awarding degrees to women in 1920 and it was from the 1930s that Black female students began arriving at Oxford. Focusing on Kofoworola Ademola (née Moore), Merze Tate, Florence Mahoney, and Karen Stevenson, among others, the exhibition uses photographs, writings, and biographies in an effort to understand their remarkable journeys, unique struggles, and experiences at Oxford.

This Exhibition is part of Black History Month and is curated by Urvi Khaitan and introduced by Kellogg Fellow, Dr Shreya Atrey.

The Black History Month exhibition will be in The Hub and anyone can enter the building which includes a café. 

Faith and Politics Lecture

Image of the poster for the Faith and Politics Lecture at Christ ChurchA Black History Month lecture at Christ Church
Wednesday 12 October 2022 (16:30-18:00)
Location: Christ Church (Michael Dummett Lecture Theatre)
Free event - no need to book

Lord Dr Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE with talk on the subject of 'How heroes are made: Race and the battle for transformation, leaderships and change' for this Black History Month event at Christ Church.

Lord Dr Michael Hastings is an independent Peer in the House of Lords and his career has led him to work across public, private and non-profit sectors. Formerly Head of Public Affairs at the BBC, he also served on the Commission for Racial Equality and as the Global Head of Citizenship for KPMG. He is currently Chair of SOAS, University of London. He is particularly interested in promoting and equipping young black leaders in the UK. 

Find out more.

The Sam Sharpe Lecture 2022: 'Bringing Down the House'

Wednesday 19 October 2022 (19:00-21:00)
Location: The Mathematics Institute (in person or online)
Free event - register to attend in person or online

The Sam Sharpe lectures seek to broaden and advance the legacy of Sam Sharpe by exploring subjects in mission, race, class, and injustice.

The Sam Sharpe Project, in partnership with the University of Oxford, presents this year's 10th anniversary lecture being delivered by Professor Kehinde Andrews at the Maths Institute, Oxford.

Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. His latest book is The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule World published by Penguin Allen Lane in 2021. He also wrote Black to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century and Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement and is editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Bloomsbury. Kehinde has written opinion pieces for outlets including The Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and CNN. He is founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity; and editor-in-chief of Make it Plain.

Following the Lecture, there will be a Q and A session facilitated by Patricia Daley - Professor of the Human Geography of Africa, University of Oxford.

Find out more.

Black History Month Lecture 2022

Head and shoulders image of Dr Victoria ShowunmiThursday 20 October 2022 (17:30-19:00)
Location: Worcester College (in person or online)
Free event - register to attend in person / register to attend virtually

Dr Victoria Showunmi, UCL: Sophisticated Racism: Navigating the Terrain

The University of Oxford's Equality and Diversity Unit and the BME Staff Network are honoured to welcome Dr Showunmi to Oxford to give this year's Black History Month lecture.

Dr Victoria Showunmi is an associate professor at the Institute of Education, University College London. She 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, including the WomenKind project (centred on women and violence), Gender and Leadership in Higher Education in Pakistan, and Black Girls/Young Black women's experiences in Education. Showunmi co-authored a book published in May 2022 entitled Understanding and Managing Sophisticated and Everyday Racism: Implications for Education and Work on which her talk will be centred.

Image of alumna Cat White who will be in conversation with Professor Wes Williams about how her writing and filmmaking have helped champion the experiences and voices of Black women and girlsCat White will be 'in conversation' about how her writing and filmmaking have helped champion the experiences and voices of Black women and girls

Black Women’s Intellectual Future: In conversation with Cat White

Tuesday 25 October 2022 (17:30)
Location: St Edmund Hall (Doctorow Hall, Queen's Lane, Oxford, OX1 4AR)
Free event - register to attend here

In the third of the St Edmund Hall’s ‘in conversation’ series, Professor Wes Williams talks to Teddy Hall alumna Cat White (2016, MSt Women’s Studies) about how her writing and filmmaking have helped champion the experiences and voices of Black women and girls.

This event is part of SEH's Black History Month celebration.

This event is hosted by the Vice-Principal of St Edmund Hall, Professor Robert Whittaker.

Find out more.

St John's Black History Month Lecture: The Enslaved Black Family

Tuesday 25 October 2022 (17:00-19:00)
Location: St John's College Auditorium
Free event - register to attend here

This year's St John's Black History Month Lecture will be given by Professor Brenda Stevenson, Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair of Women's History, on the subject of 'The Enslaved Black Family'.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Garden Quad Reception Room. The event is free and all are welcome. Reserve your spot in Eventbrite here.

Find out more.

Black History Month Lecture - Decolonising EU Law: Purpose, Principles & Practice

Head and shoulders image of Professor Iyiola Solanke Wednesday 26 October 2022 (17:30-18:45)
Location: The Hub (Kellogg College)
Free event - register to attend 

Join us for our annual Black History Month lecture to be given by Iyiola Solanke, titled 'Decolonising EU Law: Purpose, Principles & Practice'.

Iyiola Solanke is the Jacques Delor Chair of EU Law at the University of Oxford and Academic Fellow in the Inner Temple. She is interested in the European Union and racial integration, and founded the Black Female Professors Forum. 

The lecture will be introduced by Kellogg Racial Equality and Justice Fellow Shreya Atrey and is co-hosted with the Decolonising the Law Discussion Group.

This lecture is free, and open to all. Registration is required, book now.

Refreshments will be served from 17:00.

Please note: this event will be filmed.

Find out more. 

Head and shoulders images of Dr José Lingna Nafafé and Dr Machilu Zimba (Left to right) Dr José Lingna Nafafé and Dr Machilu Zimba

AfOx Insaka with Dr Machilu Zimba and Dr José Lingna Nafafé

Friday 28 October 2022 (17:30-18:30)
Location: Blavatnik School of Government (in person or online)
Free event - register to attend

By Africa Oxford Initiative

AfOx insaka's bring together thousands of people on one platform to share ideas and exchange knowledge on Africa related research.

At this event, Dr Machilu Zimba will be presenting on 'Addressing Barriers to the Progression and Success of Graduate Students in UK Higher Education: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Practice'.

Dr José Lingna Nafafé will present on the 'Black Atlantic Abolitionist Movement: Lourenço da Silva Mendonça’s 17th Century Case Against Atlantic Slavery'.

This is a hybrid event with an in person session at lecture theatre 2 at Blavatnik School of Government. The insaka will also be live-streamed on YouTube and you are encouraged you send in your questions via the YouTube chat box. Watch it live here.

Useful resources

Decolonising Our Curriculum

Experimental Psychology has brought together links to resources and academic papers at the University of Oxford around decolonising and diversifying our curriculum, as well as other resources, here: Decolonising Our Curriculum — Department of Experimental Psychology (ox.ac.uk)

Race and Politics in the Great Caribbean during the Revolutionary Era 

Watch a recording of Dr Dexnell Peters give an online talk on Race and Politics in the Great Caribbean during the Revolutionary Era here.

BIPOC STEM network launches

The BIPOC STEM Network is an initiative within the University for research staff, academic staff, and postgraduates that identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) or BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). The main aim of the Network is to promote and support the work of People of Colour within the University and beyond, in order to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within academia.

Find out more.

Writers Make Worlds

Writers Make Worlds is a project run by Professor Elleke Boehmer. Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English today. This website offers ways into exploring this exciting work: https://writersmakeworlds.com/

Race and leadership in the news media 2020: evidence from five markets

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published this research looking at the backgrounds of senior news leaders in five countries including the UK, finding that black people are severely under-represented. The research was referenced by the BBC www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000m56h

TORCH resources

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities share relevant research networks and content on the TORCH site:

Race and Resistance across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century: The Race and Resistance programme brings together researchers, students, and activists in the history, literature, and culture of anti-racist movements across the modern world.

Conversations on Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood: This network gathers scholars across disciplines to foster conversations around identity, ethnicity, and nationalism, considering in particular the constantly shifting definitions and uses of racial discourses, their intersection with religious identities, and the gendered dynamics of national and imperial discourses across cultural contexts.

Migration and Mobility: This network brings researchers of all aspects of migration and mobility from the University together to develop the migration and mobility research agendas at Oxford, to foster synergies for future collaborative cross- and interdisciplinary projects, and thereby generate a deeper understanding of mobility.

A roundtable discussion recording: 'In Conversation' event between Prof Barbara D. Savage and Bonnie Greer, chaired by Dr Rebecca Fraser (UEA)

Read the blog posts from Race and Resistance across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century here: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/raceresist#tab-878416

Why teaching migration, belonging and Empire should be supported and fully funded in secondary schools

Read the report here