Welcome to the University of Westminster Black History Year

The blog was created to showcase the University’s commitment to Black history and is run by the Black History Year steering group. Primarily a resource for Black History of the University of Westminster, it also gives an overview of the Black History Year events planned for 2021 and details of past events. The Blog is also a place for sharing stories of our colleagues, students and alumni as well as a link to media news, podcasts and other programmes available online which highlight Black History.

We are constantly updating the blog, with events and articles so please keep checking. If you wish to suggest any event ideas, new stories or articles, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact blackhistoryyear@westminster.ac.uk


People who landed in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973 are known as the “Windrush generation.”

‘On 22 June 1948, the MV Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury carrying 492 people from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands in the commonwealth, thus inaugurating the process of post-war mass migration to Britain’ (BBC, 2018). Windrush is the name given to the case involving Caribbean immigrants who were brought to the United Kingdom after WWII to assist in rebuilding the economy, infrastructure, and other aspects of the country (Mead, 2009.) Many of these migrants went on to work as manual labourers, cleaners, drivers, and nurses.

The Windrush crisis occurred in 2017, when it was revealed that hundreds of Commonwealth residents – many of whom were from the ‘Windrush generation’ – had been wrongfully jailed, deported, and denied legal rights despite having been granted the opportunity along with their families to live, work, and attend school. There is an ongoing fight to give justice to those wrongfully detained, including people reporting through social media, news, books, talks and events.

For further information on the status of Windrush, please visit Windrush organisations, charities, and news websites.

Some useful links:





BBC (2018). Windrush generation: Who are they and why are they facing problems? BBC News. [online] 18 Apr. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43782241.

Matthew Mead (Mead, 2009) Empire Windrush: The cultural memory of an imaginary arrival. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 45:2,137-149.

About Us

The Black History Year steering group initially came together in June 2020 to plan for Black History Month in October 2020. We were saddened by recent events and what they were telling us about racial injustice and disparities across the globe. As our plans developed, it became clear that Black history should not be relegated to just a single month of recognition. Instead, the group wanted to showcase a continuous stream of stories, events and initiatives that reflect the richness of our University – past and present. As we continue this work, we do so with the support of the sector. The University of Westminster has been commended by several institutions and individuals for taking a bold and sustained approach to recognising our histories.


Dr Deborah Husbands

My history is your history: it’s important that they are recognised equally

Kate T2

Kate Theophilus

Sankofa is an Akan idea: We must go back to our roots, to what we may have forgotten, and not be afraid to pick up what we find there because it’s with that knowledge that we make the future


Manvir Grewal

“There is a fable that when the Sun was setting for the first time, … light was decreasing … and the signs of Darkness were appearing … Darkness set its foot on the Earth, but it is said — far away, in some hut, one little Lamp lifted his head. It proclaimed, ‘I challenge the Darkness. If nothing else, then at least around myself, I will not let it settle. Around myself I will establish Light.” Bhai Jaswant Singh Khalra.


Dominika Opyrchal

My motto: Freedom, Equality, Solidarity

Sara Hafeez

I support the Black History Year initiative to uplift the history and cultural heritage that has been pushed into the margins and slept on!

Dr Katherine M. Graham

The Black History Year initiative, and steering group, is doing vital work to reveal hidden histories and voices. It’s vital that we do this work within our University and our wider communities.

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Jeff Braganca

The BHY Steering Group is doing wonderful things to celebrate the stories of Black culture, not only at UoW, but in the wider community. This is a big step towards creating a truly inclusive Westminster – one that is accepting of change, and I am proud to be a part of this amazing group of individuals who are so passionate and dedicated to the project.


Julia Hendricks

I am passionate about black creativity, freedom and justice. I can’t wait to help bring more voices to the fore during Westminster’s Black History Year

Edna Johnson

Historically October has been when UK talks about achievements of Black people.

I joined BHY steering group to help highlight stories and achievements of Black people throughout British history and share it with a wider audience.

Stephen Bunbury

Black History Year is a constant reminder that my country would not be where it is if it were not for the dedication, ability, education and courage of Black people that made the way for people like me.

photo for bhy

Zahra Butt

The Black History Year initiative challenges the way we address race and culture, to bring forward a more inclusive and liberated way of looking at black history, as it isn’t just ‘black history’ but its ‘everyone’s history’. This is why I joined the BHY steering group to keep pushing for liberation especially for Westminster Students and Colleagues and beyond.

Grace Egbewole-Adereti

Grace Egbewole-Adereti

“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility.” – bell hooks

Zahrah Surooprajally

Zahrah Surooprajally

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything… that smacks of discrimination or slander.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

Lonceny Kourouma

Lonceny Kourouma

Joining the BHY Steering Group is vital to me, in my research on decoloniality I want to to find out “how we know the things we know”, and ultimately bring Africa to the forefront of knowledge production. To do this I believe we need to share our authentic stories and help reinstate Black identity beyond the confines of coloniality. 

BHY member

Kevon Jones

The Black History Year initiative goes against the status-quo in showing that our history cannot be reduced to a single month. It challenges perceived notions that our history started with slavery and it takes us out of the October box in the UK and the February box in America. Black history year to me can be summed up in the words of Marcus Garvey “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” 

Stephanie Ifill

I am interested in bringing to the table the Black woman’s perspective and seeing herstory being told. Black History Year to me is not a nice “add on” but a part of the lived struggle to counter the invisibility of the Black experience across Europe.


Elina Souris

Black History Year is much more than promoting the black community, but rather giving black creatives a way of teaching and sharing various talents with the pressures that surround us. An amazing opportunity to connect with my community through being a contributor in an educational environment, learning and teaching through a variety of sources.


Huge congrats to the Black History Year team on delivering another great event in the BHY series. As a ‘guest’, I thought the email comms, design, platform and event structure came together really professionally.

Laura Hughes ,Head of Alumni Relations, University of Westminster

‘I just want to say, as a staff governor, what a great programme this is. Fantastic work!’

Professor Graham Meikle, Staff Governor, University of Westminster

‘Thanks for yesterday’s very interesting and informative event. It came at exactly the right time for me and the organization that I chair as we are working hard on a Diversity and Inclusion Process to meet the challenges and criticisms we are facing.

To learn of the approaches used in the face of some considerable difficulties was very refreshing and gave me food for thought.

Mike O’Farrell, University of Westminster Alumnus (Activism and Academia event, 15 February 2021)

‘I applaud your Year approach and wish you all the best with your 2021 programme and steadfast support from the University, which is my alma mater – music business and law school.’





Pride Belongs to the People: Images of Soweto Pride exhibition opening party

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé shares her experiences as an award-winning Black writer in University of Westminster Black History Year event

Black History Year event explores the impact of Windrush scandal

Professor Kehinde Andrews delivers lecture on the importance of going beyond disciplines at the University of Westminster

Westminster alumna nominated for Turner Prize 2022

Building a memorial for the people the UK enslaved

Richard Antwi scholarship opens applications

PhD studentship for BME applicants

Mykaell Riley for BBC Radio 4 Archive

BHY YouTube Video Playlist

Menswear MA alumna Priya Ahluwalia receives top reviews

BBC Radio 4: British folk culture

Shirley J. Thompson OBE

Westminster Alumna Kaylee Golding E4 Academy

Westminster graduate Bree Runway

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