Image HM April 2022

EDITORIAL

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Black & Asian Heritage Mix’ Newsletter!

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi want schools to teach “all aspects” of the British Empire, including the “positives”. The new Commission on Culture and Local Government, chaired by Baroness Lola Young and advised by Lord Neil Mendoza, intends to demonstrate the important contribution local council funded culture can make to the Levelling Up agenda and recovery from COVID-19.

Interestingly, research by the University of Manchester on the impact of both the Covid 19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter activism of 2020 on ethnically diverse workers in the creative and cultural industries has already revealed devastating consequences, including job security, obstacles to entry, progression and retention.

A new model history curriculum to equip teachers to lead lessons on “migration and cultural change” is expected by 2024, even though new government guidance on “politically impartial” teaching risks, as pointed out by Dr Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, to shut down conversations about race with students.

Also note that it has taken more than 50 years for David Oluwale, a British Nigerian man who was “hounded to his death” by the police to be commemorated by a new bridge named after him by Leeds City Council. Let’s hope that the British government’s new agenda, which seeks to consider not only “the Great and the good”, will genuinely include us all.

Happy Reading!

 

Thushari Perera

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CULTURE

CODE Creative Cultural Workers

The impact of Covid-19 and BLM on Black, Asian and ethnically diverse creatives and cultural workers, Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, University of Manchester, March 2022

“This report investigates the impact of both the Covid 19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter activism of 2020 on Black, Asian and ethnically diverse workers in the creative and cultural industries. We found that ethnically diverse participants had experienced negative impacts including: reduced financial stability and job security, obstacles to entry, progression, and retention in the creative and cultural industries, ongoing forms of racial and religious discrimination within the industry, negative effects upon mental health. For more on this topic, see our Diversity in the Creative and Cultural Industries project.

Commission on Culture and Local Government, Local Government Association, 2022

“To investigate the role that publicly funded culture can play in our national recovery, we have created a new independent Commission on Culture and Local Government… The commission will be chaired by Baroness Lola Young and will run from March to December 2022. Lord Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal will be acting as adviser for the commission.”

HISTORY

British Empire at War

Teaching my pupils the ‘positives’ of the British Empire would entrench white supremacy, inews/MSN, 29 March 2022

“Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi declared that schools should teach “all aspects” of the British Empire, including the purported positives. When asked if he agreed with equalities minister Kemi Badenoch’s comments that “both sides” of colonialism should be taught in schools, Zahawi said he did…”

DfE: Some school rules ‘discriminate against black pupils’, TES Magazine, 17 March 2022

“Schools will have a new “model history curriculum” by 2024 to equip teachers with the skills to lead lessons that cover “migration and cultural change”, the government announced today.”

If the government wants open debate in universities, why stifle it in schools?, The Guardian, 18 February 2022

“New government guidance on ‘politically impartial’ teaching risks shutting down conversations about race with students.”

What are the British monarchy’s historical links to slavery?, The Guardian, 23 March 2022

“While it is difficult to say how much of the royal family’s wealth is owed to the slave trade, the past links date back to the 16th century… Protests have taken place during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Caribbean tour…”

The Indian suffragettes, Europeana, 15 March 2022

“Four Indian women who brought about change in Britain and India: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, Lolita Roy, Cornelia Sorabji, Bhikaji Cama.”

ARCHIVES, LIBRARIES & INFORMATION

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History rewritten with wrestler Louis Bruce revealed as Britain’s first black Olympian, The Guardian, 27 January 2022

“The sprinter Harry Edward, who won two bronze medals at the 1920 Antwerp Games, has long been lauded as Britain’s first black Olympian. But now a team of researchers has found that Edward’s achievement was beaten by 12 years by a long forgotten black heavyweight wrestler named Louis Bruce, who reached the second round of the 1908 Olympics in London.”

Timbuktu manuscripts placed online are only a sliver of West Africa’s ancient archive, The Conversation, 29 March 2022

“The ancient Timbuktu manuscripts of Mali were back in the headlines following internet giant Google’s initiative to host a collection of them at an online gallery. The images of the documents, text in Arabic, can be found at a page called Mali Magic…thanks to decades of scholarship and, recently, digitisation, that information is now accessible at a bilingual, open-access, online union catalogue of nearly 80,000 manuscripts at the West African Arabic Manuscript Database.”

An ancient language has defied translation for 100 years. Can AI crack the code?, Rest of World, 8 February 2022

“Machine learning can translate between two known languages, but could it ever decipher those that remain a mystery to us?”

Howard gets $2M grant to digitize Black newspaper archive, 21 February 2022

“The Black Press Archives, dating to the 1970s, contains over 2,000 newspaper titles from the U.S. and countries in Africa and the Caribbean…“Once digitized, Howard’s Black Press Archive will be the largest, most diverse, and the world’s most accessible Black newspaper database…””

ARTS

Award for Civic Arts Org

Recipients announced for the £150,000 Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2022, Kings College London, 23 March 2022

“The Art House, In Place of War CIO and Project Art Works are the recipients of the 2022 Award for Civic Arts Organisations” Read the Award publication here.

Discover the diverse photos of faces that make up Portrait of Britain 2021, Digital Camera World, 15 December 2021

“Portrait of Britain is the UK’s biggest annual photography exhibition celebrating the British Isles’ diverse population… Many of the photographers who placed in the top 100 for Portrait of Britain have documented the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who risked their lives by working on the front line to save others. Others have championed disabilities, fought against racism, battled climate change and showed extreme resilience.”

HERITAGE SITES, STATUES & MONUMENTS

Colston Statue What Next

What will Edward Colston’s empty plinth in Bristol be used for?, ITV, 30 March 2022

“The empty plinth which once supported the statue of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston could become a stage for temporary artwork – but only if Bristol City Council and Bristol mayor Marvin Rees agree…The recommendations of the ‘We Are Bristol’ History Commission were published in February. They will be presented to the city council’s cabinet next week. It also suggests a second plaque is put on to the plinth to explain who Colston really was and what happened to the statue in 2020. Read the We Are Bristol History Commission Reports here.

#RememberOluwale

David Oluwale: New Leeds bridge named after race harassment victim, BBC News, 27 January 2022

“Leeds City Council has worked on the crossing alongside the David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA) and other local partners to commemorate his death. Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, co-chair of DOMA, said: “Naming this bridge for David Oluwale gives residents and visitors alike a clear message that Leeds is dedicated to confronting the traumas of the past and becoming a place of welcome and sanctuary for all people.””

David Oluwale’s death in 1969 helped ‘reshape Leeds’, BBC News, 19 April 2022

“A British Nigerian man who was “hounded to his death” by police in Leeds is being remembered in a series of events to mark 50 years since he died.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby criticises delay in removing slavery plaque, BBC News, 8 February 2022

A Church court is considering whether a plaque to 17th Century courtier Mr Rustat, who invested in the Royal African Company, can be removed from the wall of a chapel at Jesus College, Cambridge. The college, which proposed the removal, says Mr Rustat’s financial involvement in the company helped it to enslave 150,000 African men, women and children over 50 years – more than any other institution.”

Glasgow Slavery and Atlantic Commerce Report

Eight Glasgow statues singled out for links to slave trade, report revealed, The Herald, 28 March 2022

“It added gifts from those linked to the trade amounted to more than £300million in today’s valuation and it said that while other cities and institutions around the UK have apologised for their connections to the slave trade, the city lags behind in civic recognition.” Read the Report here.

Brussels statue of colonial king could be melted and made into memorial for Congo victims, says report, The Independent, 21 February 2022

“The notorious monarch ruled what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo as his personal fiefdom for decades in the late 19th century. Experts say his brutal rule left as many as 10 million people dead.” Read the Report Vers la Décolonisation de L’espace public en région de Bruxelles capitale : cadre de Réflexion et recommandations rapport du groupe de travail, février 2022, Urban Brussels.

MUSEUMS

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Vladimir Putin waxwork removed from museum after damaged by visitors, Yahoo News, 2 March 2022

“A Paris museum has taken down a waxwork of Vladimir Putin after visitors defaced the statue following his invasion of Ukraine.”

Revolusi! Indonesia Independent, The Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands, from 11 February to 5 June 2022.

“After more than three centuries of colonial occupation by the Netherlands, in 1945 Indonesia proclaims itself an independent country. From that moment, the struggle for autonomy runs on for over four years. Indonesia becomes a member of the United Nations in 1950, whereby the international confirmation of its independence is a fact. Today the country counts about 270 million inhabitants and consists of more than 17,000 islands. The focus is on people who experienced the revolution at close quarters: fighters, artists, diplomats, politicians, journalists and others. Their individual experiences reflect a history with many faces and many voices. This is the first major exhibition devoted to the subject in a major European museum and complements Rijksmuseum’s landmark 2020 exhibition Slavery.”

Related Guardian article: “Dutch officials drop case against Rijksmuseum over ‘racist’ word

Dutch PM apologises for state’s role in abuses in 1940s Indonesian war, The Guardian, 17 February 2022

“Study finds ‘widespread’ ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions during 1945-9 war of independence…An organisation said to represent Indo-Dutch people, Platform 2.0, had appealed to the courts to block the report’s publication. The research, conducted by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, the Netherlands Institute of Military History and the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, will be published in 14 books, including a summary volume, Beyond the Pale: Dutch Extreme Violence in the Indonesian War of Independence, 1945-1949.”

NAMES & REINTERPRETATION

Lambeth Names

Lambeth council wants your opinion on renaming local roads, areas and places with links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Brixton Buzz, 22 March 2022

“A small number of locations across the borough with proven links to the slave trade have now been identified, and a dedicated website (https://lambethunited.commonplace.is/) has been set up where you can comment on these names. Lambeth say that your feedback will “help us to decide the future of these sites and future sites.””

ARCHITECTURE

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Diébédo Francis Kéré: how first Black winner of architecture’s top prize is committed to building ‘peaceful cities’, The Conversation, 22 March 2022

“Professional architects, therefore, have a responsibility to go beyond the dominant western, Eurocentric approaches to the built environment and instead, as Kéré has done, reinvigorate indigenous knowledge. This has the potential to not only empower local communities but also foster greater sustainability.”

A £300 monsoon-busting home: the Bangladeshi architect fighting extreme weather, The Guardian, 16 November 2021

“From a mosque that breathes to innovative bamboo houses, Marina Tabassum has won the prestigious Soane medal for her humanitarian buildings.”

PARKS & GARDENS

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Germany: park renamed in memory of Egyptian woman killed by racist, Middle East Monitor, 17 March 2022

“The Mayor of Dresden, Dirk Hilbert, has announced that a major park in the German city is being renamed in memory of an Egyptian woman killed by a racist in 2009. Marwa El-Sherbini was three months pregnant when she was stabbed to death in a Dresden courtroom in front of her husband and child.”

PLAQUES

Sarah Parker Remond

Plaque Commemorating Slavery Abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond To Be Unveiled, Londonist, 1 March 2022

“Remond was also involved in the campaign to allow women to vote in Britain, and is thought to be the only Black woman (of 1,500 signatories) to sign a women-only petition on the subject in 1866. In addition to her extensive and admirable campaigning efforts, Remond relocated to Italy where she continued her medical career, training to become a doctor at the prestigious Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, while continuing her abolitionist work.” Watch the virtual talk by Professor Sirpa Salenius, author of An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe.

David Oluwale: 53 Years Since He Was Drowned In The River Aire, Remember Oluwale, April 2022

“Harry Meadley made this short film for us, supporting our effort to install a Blue Plaque for David Oluwale. You’ll see DOMA Board members telling David’s story and explaining why it’s so important, and the Director of Leeds Civic Trust explaining their decision to award a Blue Plaque for David. Only six minutes long, the film packs a punch. (It’s on our YouTube Channel: RememberOluwale — please subscribe!)”

BOOKS

Legacy of Violence

Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire by Caroline Elkins review – the brutal truth about Britain’s past, The Guardian, 13 March 2022

“Elkins, perhaps minded of her previous brush with controversy, sometimes approaches her task with the meticulous doggedness of a trial lawyer rather than a storyteller in search of an audience. Examining the Boer war, the Irish war of independence, the uprisings in India, Iraq and Palestine, as well as British rule in Cyprus, Malaya and Kenya, she insists that such appalling acts as the Amritsar massacre, far from being – as Churchill argued in parliament – “an event that stands in singular and sinister isolation” were much closer to being a default position.”

EVENTS

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Far-right to hold anti-Black Lives Matter rally in Bristol celebrating Colston’s legacy, Bristol Cable, 29 March 2022

“The protest is being promoted by EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, while anti-fascists organise a counter-demo.” On Saturday 9 April, Bristol Against Hate will meet at 11am at the vacant Colston plinth. For Britain will try to give an anti-BLM speech from the plinth at 1pm.

Exhibition: When Brixton Went on Fire: 40 Years After, Harrow Arts Centre, The Gallery, 31 March – 13 April 2022

“A project which commemorates the 40-year anniversary of the 1981 Brixton Uprising, the first large scale racial confrontation in the UK between the black community and London’s mostly white Metropolitan Police. Triggered by racial discrimination, particularly the police’s increased use of stop-and-search targeting black people, rioters – predominately young, black men – fought police, attacked buildings and set fire to vehicles over three days.”

 Althea McNish: Colour is Mine, William Morris Gallery, 2 April to 11 September 2022

“…a landmark retrospective of one of the UK’s most innovative textile artists and the first designer of Caribbean descent to achieve international recognition…”

Good Chance Artists present… Home, Migration, Belonging, Museum of the Home, 12 April to 2 May 2022

“Three artists with histories and heritages of migration – Andrea Ling, Basel Zaraa and Hamed Moradi – explore through their provocative installations what it means to leave a home and what it means to build a new one.”

Remembering Oluwale

A Blue Plaque for David Oluwale on Leeds Bridge, Part of the DOMA collection by David Oluwale Memorial Association, 25 April 2022

“In partnership with Leeds Civic Trust, we are unveiling the Blue Plaque for David Oluwale on Monday 25th April 2022, at 5pm, on Leeds Bridge — very close to the point where Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching caused David to drown in the River Aire.”

Welcome to Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022

“From venues to parks and street corners, we will tell the story of Lewisham’s trailblazers past and present via music, dance, debate, public art and more. Our programme is created by and with the people of Lewisham.”

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