Black and Asian Heritage Mix November 2018

EDITORIAL

Dear Black Europe Resources Reader,

 In a recent article for the British Academy titled “More multiculturalism – but the right sort”, the academic Tariq Modood argues that a “multicultural national story requires a more ambitious connexion between diversity and national identity” than just “rubbing along and peaceful co-existence”. In other words, what is required for a pluralistic society to thrive according to Modood is “a sense of country not simply despite our differences but because our differences.”

Inconveniently, the Royal Historical Society’s recent report “Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History”, which is based on a survey of 737 historians working in UK Higher Education found a profound lack of inclusivity and diversity in the delivery of history both in academia and the heritage sector. The report found that 93.7% of historians are White, which is likely to hinder the need to reform the curriculum in order to make teaching provision less ethnocentric. As Modood would say, it is unlikely to boost critical engagement with “retelling the national story” that was promoted by the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain in 2000.

The diversity challenge is also increasingly revealed in shocking media headlines like “This school asked students to list the ‘pros’ of slavery as homework” or that a GCSE textbook had to be pulled from shelves amid charges of racism.

Despite increasing attempts by organisations like the Royal Historical Society and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to improve the diversity of its workforce, there is a more pressing question: who are our recordkeepers? According to the National Archives, the archive sector workforce is more than 95% white. Does the lack of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation insidiously impact on the diversity of records collected and made accessible to the general public?

In the UK, there are various archive settings: local authorities, universities, museums, charities etc. However, the Black Cultural Archives – the only national institution for Black history and culture in Britain –  is facing serious challenges to secure sustainable governmental funding.

This November 2018 issue of the Black & Asian Heritage Mix’ Newsletter therefore encourages you to read resources and attend events relating to history, archives and documentation. More importantly, it invites you to consider which records are forgotten, hidden, suppressed or even missing. As the writer Chibundu Onuzo puts it in an uplifting article in the Guardian, “Where do the so-called ‘little people’ of history go? Who will bear witness that we were here?… It doesn’t matter if you’re 12, 40 or 99: you have a story and you have a journey. Find someone to share it with.”

 Happy Reading!

 Thushari Perera

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ARTS & CULTURE

 AM I TOO YOUNG TO WRITE MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY? NO WAY

Onuzo

By Chibundu Onuzo

(The Guardian, 20 October 2018)

“We all have stories to tell. History is not just about the big names. It’s about our everyday lives”

Find out more here

 

WHEN ARTISTS COLLECTIVELY ARCHIVE LABOUR

Archive Labour

By Krishnapriya C.P.

(The Wire India, 8 April 2018)

 “An award-winning project of student-artists exhibited in Chennai recently showed their passion for re-imagining and documenting lives of labour – theirs and others’.”

Find out more here

 

THE MYTH OF WHITENESS IN CLASSICAL SCULPTURE

African Boy Statue

By Margaret Talbot

(The New Yorker, 29 October 2018)

“Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction.”

Find out more here

 

ARCHIVES

 

FORGOTTEN HISTORIES: THREE STORIES OF BLACK GIRLS FROM BARNARDO’S VICTORIAN ARCHIVE

Caroline Bressey

By Caroline Bressey

(Women’s History Review, Volume 11, 2002 – Issue 3)

“The history of black women in Britain, particularly before the arrival of the Empire Windrush, is underresearched, and the histories we do have are largely ignored. In this article, biographies of young black women in Victorian London are revealed through the photographic and written archive of Barnardo’s. These documents allow a history of black women to be examined in the context of their own time. They add complexion to our current understanding of the Black Atlantic, and the relationships and histories that impact upon our identities today, as well as being a tool with which to interrogate British history.”

Free access here

 

REPORTS

 

RACE, ETHNICITY & EQUALITY IN UK HISTORY:  

A REPORT AND RESOURCE FOR CHANGE

Royal Historical Society

By the Royal Historical Society

Publication date: October 2018

“A new report published today (18 October 2018) by the Royal Historical Society (RHS) highlights racial and ethnic inequalities in the teaching and practice of History in the UK. It draws attention to the underrepresentation of ‘Black and Minority Ethnic’ (BME) students and staff in university History programmes, the substantial levels of race-based bias and discrimination experienced by BME historians in UK universities, and the negative impact of narrow school and university curriculums on diversity and inclusion. The report, a key component of the Society’s 150th anniversary programme, draws on a year of research and a survey of over 700 university-based historians. It offers advice and guidance for academic historians on taking positive action to address and diminish barriers to equality in the discipline.”

Find out more here

 

BLACK SKIN, WHITEHALL: RACE AND THE FOREIGN OFFICE, 1945 TO 2018

FCO Black Skin Whitehall

By James Southern

(Foreign & Commonwealth Office, History Notes: Issue 21)

Publication date: 4 October 2018

“The booklet, entitled ‘Black skin, Whitehall: Race and the Foreign Office, 1945 to 2018’ reveals the challenges to ensure equal representation for non-white people in the British diplomatic service in the context of decades of political debates about Empire, immigration and racism and pressure from campaign groups. The document, written by FCO Historian James Southern, also highlights the progress achieved in recent years, including this year’s appointment of the first black female career diplomat being appointed into an Ambassadorial Post and in 2017, over 23% of the FCO graduate entry scheme intake coming from a BAME background, one of the highest levels across Whitehall.”

Find out more here

Related news article “Race To Change The Face Of UK’s Diplomatic Service” by the Easterneye (2 November 2018)

 

MUSEUMS

 

OXFORD MUSEUMS TRAIN REFUGEES AS TOUR GUIDES AND COMMUNITY CURATORS

MUSEUMS

By Ploy Radford

(The Arts Newspaper, 29 October 2018)

 “Berlin’s Multaka programme of Arabic-language tours is spreading to the UK—and beyond”

Find out more here

 

BOOKS

 

ECOLOGY AND POWER IN THE AGE OF EMPIRE: EUROPE AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE TROPICAL WORLD

Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire

By Corey Ross

Oxford University Press

Publication date: April 2017

“The first wide-ranging environmental history of late-nineteenth and twentieth century European imperialism, relating the expansion of modern empire, global trade, and mass consumption to the momentous ecological shifts they entailed and providing a historical background to the social, political, and environmental issues of the twenty-first century.” (History Online)

Find out more here

Related article:

University of Birmingham Academic wins major Book Prize” (2 November 2018)

  

TOGETHER: OUR COMMUNITY COOKBOOK

Together Grenfell Community Book

 

By The Hubb Community Kitchen, Foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex

Penguin Random House

Publication date: 25 September 2018

“Together celebrates the power of cooking to connect us to one another. In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, a group of local women gathered together to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen they discovered the power of cooking and eating together to create connections, restore hope and normalcy, and provide a sense of home. This was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen. Together is a storybook of this West London community, showcasing over 50 delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen and including a foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex. The women invite you to make their favorite simple dishes—many handed down over generations— from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean for you and your loved ones. This stunning charity cookbook is a homage to life, friendship and togetherness. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will help the Hubb Community Kitchen to strengthen lives and communities through cooking.”

Find out more here

 

AUTHENTIC SYRIAN COOKBOOK FOR UK SYRIA EMERGENCY FUND, ‘COOKFORSYRIA’

Cook for Syria Recipe Book

By Clerkenwell Boy & Serena Guen

Suitcase Magazine

Publication date: 16 December 2016

“Winner of Observer Food Awards for Best Ethical Food Project, discover over 100 Syrian inspired dishes from the #CookForSYRIA campaign. The book includes traditional Syrian recipes from Syrian families, celebrity chefs, and award-winning cookbook authors. All proceeds will be donated to Unicef UK’s Syria Emergency Fund.”

Find out more here or here

 

EVENTS

 

18 October 2018 – 27 January 2019

THE TAYLOR WESSING PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT PRIZE 2018

(National Portrait Gallery, London)

Taylor Wessing Photos 2018

“…is the leading international competition, open to all, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world. Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition, showcases a diverse range of images and tells the often fascinating stories behind the creation of the works, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family. The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. The exhibition of fifty-seven works features all of the prestigious prize winners including the winner of the £15,000 first prize.”

Find out more here

 

19 November 2018

HIDDEN HISTORIES: GAPS AND SILENCES IN THE ARCHIVE

(British Library, London)

Kate Williams

“How do historians, researchers and novelists interpret and account for the gaps in historical and modern archives? How do you construct a historical narrative when you don’t have all the facts? To celebrate the launch of The US-UK Fulbright Commission Archive at the British Library, join historian and author Kate Williams, academics Tony Badger and Caroline Bressey, and British Library cataloguer Eleanor Casson, as they discuss archival research, the politics and practices of using archives and the purpose and value they have for historians, researchers and novelists. Hear each member of the panel speak on their work and experience of archival research, whether for creative or academic purposes, followed by a moderated discussion on the types of gaps and absences that can occur in the historical record, how these gaps can occur whether shaped by the effects of time and deterioration of material or even loss through administrative error. They also address the influence of current laws and legislation, such as the Data Protection Act and the Official Secrets Act, on the availability of modern records.

Find out more here

 

5 December 2018

CULTURE FORUM NORTH SYMPOSIUM: WORKFORCE DIVERSITY THROUGH HE/CULTURE PARTNERSHIP

(The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester)

 

Culture Forum North

“How can Culture/Higher Education partnership be a catalyst for change in developing the Diverse cultural workforce fundamental to our future? Research, policy-makers and funders are clear that the arts and culture need a more diverse, entrepreneurial and work-ready workforce. This event discusses how university/cultural sector partnerships can ensure we collectively thrive.

Keynote Speakers

Our speakers will challenge participants to talk, think and act collaboratively with the aim of strengthening the cultural workforce through diversity.

Nina Bhagwat, Off-Screen Diversity Executive at Channel 4

Simon Dancey, CEO of Cultural and Creative Skills

Professor Kate Pahl from Manchester Metropolitan University”

Find out more here

 

5 December 2018

PUBLIC EVENT: POLITICS OF THE ARCHIVE

(Department Of Gender Studies, LSE)

 

Matt Cook and Lisa Palmer

“Matt Cook and Lisa Palmer present 2 papers; one explores queer social scenes in England in the 1960s, and the other exploring Caribbean young people’s engagement with Black radical thought and activism during the 1970s .

Matt Cook: Local matters: queer scenes in 1960s

‘In this paper I explore queer social scenes in three very different urban areas in England in the 1960s. Drawing chiefly on oral history testimonies, I show how different local identities, demographics, geographies and socio-economic circumstances affected queer experience in the resort town of Brighton, in naval Plymouth, and in industrial Manchester. Locality matters, I argue, and taking it seriously allows us to further question the pervasiveness of the sixties swing and the cultural dominance of sixties London.’

Lisa Amanda Palmer: Caribbean young people during the 1970s

‘Caribbean young people during the 1970s pursued their own avenues of learning through their engagement with Black radical thought and activism. Using archival sources, this paper will focus on how these important intellectual social movements in Britain more generally and Handsworth specifically, converged and diverged with British sociological studies on ‘race relations’ and with the counter-hegemonic archival practices of the photographer, Vanley Burke. Burke’s photography and archive not only engages with the politics of creating alternative cites of knowledge production, they also enable us to map, trace and reconstruct some of these important sites of Black intellectual life in Britain.’

Find out more here

 

7 December 2018

MISSING ARCHIVES

(St John Priory Church, Saint John’s Square, London)

Missing Archives Histfest

HistFest Panel Event

“What happens when archives disappear? What does the historian do when records are withheld? What are the real-world consequences when crucial documentation simply vanishes? From British imperial history to missing records associated with the Windrush Scandal – this important panel event explores just that. Confirmed panellists include David Lammy MP, Dr Alex von Tunzelmann and Dr Kim Wagner. Additional panellists will be announced soon.”

Find out more here

 

8 December 2018

THE STATE OF HISTORY

(St John Priory Church, Saint John’s Square, London)

State of History Histfest

HistFest Panel Event

“A cross-discipline panel event discussing the uses, abuses and challenges faced by those working within the field of history – from heritage and academia to public history, school education and access. Confirmed panellists include Dr Lindsey Fitzharris (Author – The Butchering Art), Professor Margot Finn (President – Royal Historical Society), Dean Paton (CEO – Big Heritage), Dr Wanda Wyporska (Director – The Equality Trust). Further panellists to be announced soon.”

Find out more here

 

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