Black History Month
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Black History Month 2021


Throughout Black History Month we will celebrate the culture, history and achievements of black communities. It is an integral part of the university’s calendar of events and supports efforts to develop long-term cultural and institutional change, whilst celebrating the contribution of our staff, students and alumni.

As Leeds Beckett University celebrates Black History Month, Vice Chancellor Peter Slee introduces a programme of events and content to inform, educate and broaden horizons

Vice Chancellor Peter Slee

This is a time for us all to reflect on how our society has been made stronger, and our country and city enriched, by the enormous contributions of people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, and their descendants.

Professor Peter Slee Vice-Chancellor

This is a time for us all to reflect on how our society has been made stronger, and our country and city enriched, by the enormous contributions of people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, and their descendants.

I have spoken before about the all-too-often undervalued accomplishments of Black people and Black communities in the UK in every area of endeavour throughout our history, and at Leeds Beckett we are proud to take part in celebrating these accomplishments during Black History Month.

Throughout the month we will be reflecting on Black history, but also looking at the work being done by academics, students, staff and alumni to ensure the lessons of that history are reflected in a brighter and more prosperous future for Black people in Leeds and across the UK.

I invite you all to join us in this celebration, and look out for these highlights:

A blog by Dr Emily Zobel Marshall offers fresh insight into the Abolitionists of Yorkshire, and how three prominent Black activists from the United States helped to build the UK movement against slavery.

Professor Vini Lander and Dr Daniel Kilvington have launched series two of their Talking Race podcast, which runs over the course of the month covering a wide range of subjects from Black feminism to racism in sport.

Maryam Riaz talks about the lack of diversity in counselling, and how we are helping to address this with our Northpoint Wellbeing Counselling Scholarship in a special episode of the Beckett Talks podcast.

In a special event for Black History Month Yinka Shonibare spoke to Dr Emily Zobel Marshall in a virtual event, where he discussed his work, inspiration, and his sculpture in memory of David Oluwale.

David was a British Nigerian who drowned in the River Aire at Leeds in 1969.

His death was the result of, “the physical and psychological destruction of a homeless black man, whose brutal, systematic harassment was orchestrated by the Leeds city police force” and “resulted in the first successful prosecution of British police officers for involvement in the death of a black person.”

It is important we recognise our own responsibilities for the problems in our own society. You can find more information about our university’s approach in our Anti-Racism Statement.


Talking Race

After the success of the first series of the TALKING RACE podcast it has returned to further explore the uncomfortable truths around race. The second series, co-created by Professor Vini Lander and Dr Daniel Kilvington, hopes to continue to inspire positive change by offering an honest, informed discussion around society and race.

The new series will explore themes that helps educate listeners about how racism operates across a range of areas.

Series two will launch early this month, but you can take a look back at series one on the following links:

Season Two episodes

Episode guide:

  • Episode1: Black British Feminism with Professor Heidi Mirza, Emeritus Professor in Equalities Studies in Education, UCL Institute of Education
  • Episode 2: Race and Britain Today with Professor Les Back, Goldsmiths University
  • Episode 3: Race, Education and Activism with Dr Rita Kohli, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  • Episode 4: Race and Mental Health with Professor Frank Keating, Royal Holloway University
  • Episode 5: Race and Sports Commentary with Dr Paul Campbell, Sam Matterface and David McGoldrick
  • Episode 6: Race and Sports Journalism with Nelson Kumah and Leon Mann

The episodes will be released over the course of Black History Month.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are key to our culture of care and at the core of how we work with all members of our community. 

We seek to develop further as a learning organisation and as the best possible place to work and study, to be a ‘Community of Great People’ and to ‘provide an excellent education and experience’ for all our colleagues and students.

More about EDI at Leeds Beckett

centre for race, education and decoloniality

The Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED) is challenging everyday racism and structural race inequalities in education through research, evidence-based practice and the professional development of pre-service and in-service teachers nationally and internationally.

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