Black History Month at Oxford

Oxford University will deliver another engaging and informative programme for Black History Month during October 2021. Here we bring together talks, events, resources and initiatives.

During Black History Month 2021, 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 for members of the public and University staff and students...

Head and shoulders image of Ijoma Alexander MangoldSt Hilda’s College is delighted to be hosting Ijoma Alexander Mangold.
Growing up bi-racial in Germany

Tuesday 12 October, 6pm-7.30pm
Location: St. Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY
Free event - register to attend

St Hilda's College will host German-Nigerian writer and literary critic, Ijoma Alexander Mangold, for a discussion of his 2017 memoir, Das duetsche Krokodil (The German Crocodile, DAS Editions, 2021).

The book was translated by alumna, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (St Hilda’s Mod Langs, 1999), and the reading and discussion will be hosted by Acting Principal, Dr Georgina Paul. The book is published by the imprint, DAS Editions (Discover Africa's Stories). 

Find out more here

Academia is a Crossfire Hurricane

Black History Month Lecture by Kellogg College: Join us for our inaugural Black History Month lecture examining racism in academia.

Wednesday 20 October, 5.30pm-6.45pm
Location: Kellogg College Hub
This lecture is free, and open to all. Registration is required.
Refreshments will be served from 5pm.

Please note: this event will be filmed.

The turbulence and discriminatory terrain for Black and Minority Ethnic staff in academia is disorientating often causing psychological and physical fatigue.

In attempting to trace the contours of racism within the Academy and their detrimental effect upon staff of colour, this talk illuminates the importance of actively disrupting racism, particularly in the wake of a global shift towards engaging more in anti-racist endeavour.

Find out more here.

Decolonising Land

An online event in partnership with the OLBA Network to mark Black History Month 2021

Friday 22 October 2021, 1pm-2:30pm
Platform: Zoom
Organised by: The Oxford Law Black Alumni Network and the Law Faculty Equality and Diversity Team

In this event, which marks Black History Month 2021, Professor Elmien du Plessis (North-West University South Africa) and Mr Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, author of The Land is Ours: Black lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism in South Africa and Land Matters: South Africa’s Failed Land Reforms and the Road Ahead, will reflect on aspects of their work relating to land title, restitution and reform.

The event is open to the public but you must register to attend. Please note that the event will be recorded and the recording made available online after the event.

Further information can be found on the Faculty Website

Slavery in the Age of Revolution exhibition

Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Road, Oxford OX1 3TP
Ongoing until until Friday 10 December.

Slavery in the Age of Revolution examines the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the turbulent end of the 18th century through the lens of Balliol College’s collections.

Taking the long view from 15th-century encounters between established African societies and emerging European nation states to the legacies of Transatlantic slavery in our present, it foregrounds narratives of resistance to slavery and the voices of enslaved people, as well as exploring how slavery was viewed by those consuming its products in Europe. 

Opening times:         
  • Tuesday 19 October 3pm-7pm                         
  • Friday 29 October 11am-4pm                                  
  • Monday 15 November 11am-4pm                        
  • Saturday 27 November 11am-4pm 

Open to the public on other weekdays by appointment until Friday 10 December. Please email library@balliol.ox.ac.uk to arrange an appointment and with any questions.

Getting to the Historic Collections Centre.

The exhibition is co-curated by Professor Marisa Fuentes (Associate Professor in History at Rutgers University and Oliver Smithies Visiting Fellow at Balliol 2019/2020), Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh (CUF Lecturer in Politics and Tutorial Fellow in Politics), Aishah Olubaji (library team), Professor Seamus Perry (Massey Fellow and Tutor in English) and Naomi Tiley (library team). 

Find out more here.

Events for University members

The following events and talks are for University staff and students...

Head and shoulders image of Professor Kevin FentonProfessor Kevin Fenton
Oxford Black History Month Lecture 2021

Hosted by the University of Oxford BME Staff Network

Thursday 28 October, 5.30pm-7pm
Free, register here
Online event

Professor Kevin Fenton, a regional director of Public Health England, will be giving this year’s lecture on COVID and disproportionality and what does it mean for health disparities moving forward?

Black History Month: Inequalities in healthcare and research

Sponsored by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and hosted by departments in the Medical Sciences Division
Free - Online event
Wednesday 13 October 2021, noon-1pm

Image of Patrick Vernon OBEPatrick Vernon OBE

In this talk, Patrick Vernon OBE, social commentator, campaigner, and cultural historian, considers healthcare inequalities through the lens of Black British History. This talk will be followed by a Q&A hosted by Professor Fadi Issa (University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences).

The seminar is open to all within OUNHS and Oxford University.

Find out more and book online here.

Black History Month at MPLS bannerThe Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division has put together a comprehensive programme

Black History Month in MPLS

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division has put together a programme of events and resources for Black History Month.

The programme includes:

  • A series of recorded interviews that highlight the brilliant work and achievements of Black postgraduates that work within the University's STEM departments;
  • A University-wide event marking the launch of the Race Equality Task Force's consultation (October 19); 
  • An online inclusivity workshop (October 21);
  • Information about networks, resources and training;

Many of the talks and resources will remain available and can be utilised all year round. 

Find out more and see the full programme here.

Useful resources

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 a new initiative: the first network 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.

TRACTION: Teaching Race, Belonging, Empire and Migration

Professor Nandini Das (Tutorial Fellow in English at Exeter College) has been awarded a European Research Council Proof of Concept grant for her project TRACTION: Teaching Race, Belonging, Empire and Migration.

The venture is an offshoot of Professor Das’ current European Research Council funded project, TIDE (www.tideproject.uk), which explores travel, transculturality and identity in England in the 16th and 17th centuries.

TRACTION is a digital platform which provides professional development courses for secondary school teachers on the teaching of race, identity, empire, and migration.

TRACTION plans to be an inter-subject scheme with a dual focus on skills-training and community-building.

The £150,000 Proof of Concept grants are designed to translate cutting-edge research into social enterprises that will have positive and long lasting socio-economic impacts. 

Read more about Professor Das’ work here: Exeter Fellow Nandini Das directs new research project, the TIDE salon

Writers Make Worlds

The Writers Make Worlds is a project run by Professor Elleke Boehmer and the website features resources on over 40 Black and Asian British writers: 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: While the University houses two interdisciplinary research centres explicitly dedicated to the research of these themes (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society and Refugee Studies Centre), these tend to be primarily based in social scientific approaches. This network therefore wants to reach across and beyond the existing migration research centres, to bring 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: Empire and Identity: Imperial Rule and Peoplehood Across Time and Place

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

Oxford and colonialism

Working Group on Oxford University and Colonialism