Past Events

Screening Eugenics: How Theories of ‘Racial Fitness’ Shape Our Views 

Black History Year welcomed Dr Shantella Sherman for our first in-person event of the new academic year. The event explored the idea that in previous years, eugenics, the science of better breeding, relied most heavily on public health and public education platforms as a means to disseminate information, whereas it now thrives strongly through popular television, film, music, advertising, and social media. 

Dr Sherman, an award-winning historian and journalist, spoke about this shift of eugenic theories from the laboratory to the living room and explored their presence in some of the UK’s favourite shows, from Orphan Black and Top Boy, to Coronation Street and Happy Valley.

Confronting My Imposter

This discussion provides a supportive insight into Imposter Syndrome in women, with a focus on Black women. Our speaker was Rhoda Quist and the event was hosted by Dr Deborah Husbands.

You can watch the recording here.

Grief in the Black Community- Hushed Harbours

Our speaker explored the evolution of the Black funeral, funerary rites and practices, and the relationship with death from the enslavement of Black people to the present times.

This discussion provided a supportive approach to grief and bereavement by looking at practices that family and friends engage with when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Other themes included a review of religious practices and rituals.

You can watch the recording here.

Mental Health in Black Students- Creativity, design, well-being & advocacy

Please find the slides to our recent workshop run by Sarah Gordon and hosted by Elina Souris here

The Black Love Project: How We Love in the UK

BHY Westminster welcomed Words of Colour’s Executive Director and Co-Founder Joy Francis to discuss the findings of The Black Love Project’s landmark survey, completed by over 900 Black Britons, pre-Covid. Co-founded in 2013 with Patsy Isles, The Black Love Project is the first of its kind to centre the Black British experience of love and relationships with plans to relaunch in February 2023. In this conversation, Joy will share the stories, insights and surprises the survey uncovered, why in the wake of the pandemic she and Patsy plan to launch a new survey and the vision of how this knowledge can raise the visibility of how Black Britons love.

Please find a list below of contacts, books and authors that were mentioned during the event:


Cassava Republic:

Authors and books


Sleepover @ Bush Theatre

You can watch the recording here.

“How did I get here? Know-how for overcoming the barriers to career success

The Black History Year steering group welcomed academic and Diversity expert, Dr Doirean Wilson. Dr Wilson shared poignant and personal insight into her personal growth, career-life journey and the critical learning experiences of racism endured along the way, as a Black Briton born to parents who arrived in the UK from the Caribbean during the Windrush era.

Dr Wilson’s slides detailing her vast experience and tips for career success can be found here.

You can watch the recording on Youtube here.

Zoom picture of speakers

Professor Catherine Loveday in conversation with John Amaechi OBE

The Black History Year steering group welcomed Professor Catherine Loveday, neuropsychologist and ally, and John Amaechi, organisational psychologist and bestselling New York Times author, for our flagship Black History Month event.

The rapport between Catherine and John lent itself to matters from music to microaggressions and all things between. Catherine opened the discussion with a question about music. As well as learning about John’s impeccable taste (‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – Dionne Warwick, ‘Wichita Lineman’ – Ray Charles and ‘A Song for You’ – Donny Hathaway), the question was nuanced and the effect on the audience, as indicated by comments in the chat, was notable. This seemingly innocuous question invited the audience to lean in – not only to think of music – but to reflect personally on the topics covered later on in the discussion: privilege, stereotyping, and everyday language. 

The audience heard about the importance of memory. John spoke of ‘brutality’ in the erasure of one’s history and subsequent resentment that can arise as this history is revealed. He reflected on his own privilege and how it is not harmful to acknowledge this. In terms of language, they discussed what terms are ‘acceptable’ and how this is always changing. As well as language, John also mentioned the importance of tonality; for example, the difference between describing someone as Black and whispering the word ‘Black’. The whispering, he says, is linked to ascribing negative connotations to the word ‘Black’ and how, if you are using this as merely a physical descriptor, you would not need to whisper.

A key takeaway was the importance of holding people to account. John spoke openly of the discrimination he has experienced and the way in which people have treated him – from microaggressions to overt racism. When holding people to account, he tells us to call attention to the action and the direct consequences of this action. He puts it perfectly by saying it is not about offence, it is about harm. 

The discussion and Q&A left the audience with much food for thought. Professor Catherine Loveday expertly facilitated a conversation that allowed John Amaechi to speak openly about the salient points of his lived experience. Our Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Peter Bonfield offered closing comments while expressing support for the Black History Year programme. Thank you to Dr Deborah Husbands for organising an incredible Black History Month event.

“I always learn so much from John but there is always something new for me to take away and tonight was no exception. I am really grateful to Deborah Husbands and the BHY Steering Group for giving me this valuable opportunity.”- Professor Catherine Loveday


Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé in conversation with Black History Year.     6pm, Tuesday 19 July 2022. Online

Black History Year steering group and the Queer London Research Forum  welcomed Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, author of the award-winning and New York Times International Best Selling YA novel, Ace of Spades.

During the course of this in conversation event, we explored the pleasures of Black young adult fiction; the dangers of racist educational structures; the power of Black queer representation; and learnt so much more about the amazing Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, who signed a million dollar book deal at just 21 years old.

Faridah was also kind enough to provide us with a reading & watching lists of resources she mentioned in during the event.

Faridah’s Reading List:

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan 
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
  • Flamer by Mike Curato
  • Black Joy anthology edited by Charlie Brinkhurt-Cuff & Timi Sotire

Faridah’s TV/Movie List:

  • Horror Noire 
  • Gossip Girl (2007)
  • Dear White People (TV Series)
  • We are Lady Parts (2021)


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The Windrush Scandal, with Patrick Vernon & Charlotte Tobierre. 6pm, Monday 20 June 2022. Online

The Black History Year Group and Westminster Windrush Justice Clinic were delighted to welcome Patrick Vernon and Charlotte Tobierre for this online session on the impact of the Windrush Scandal.

Patrick Vernon has led the campaign for a national Windrush Day since 2010 and in 2018 kick-started the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation in response to the Windrush Scandal. He is a writer and broadcaster for national and international media on healthcare, cultural heritage and race, and co-authored 100 Great Black Britons.

Patrick is Associate Director at Centre for Ageing Better, Independent non-executive Director of Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System, Chair of the Citizenship Partnership for HSIB and non-executive Director for Hertfordshire NHS Trust. In August 2021 he was appointed Honorary Professor of cultural heritage and community leadership for the Department of Community Development at Wolverhampton University. Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work on tackling health inequalities in ethnic minority communities.

Charlotte Tobierre runs a small business, and is a Windrush activist. She was born in Essex. Charlotte’s father, Thomas, was born in St Lucia, and came to the UK at the age of seven. She has campaigned extensively on his behalf since the Windrush scandal broke, particularly on the issue of occupational pensions, losses of which are not reimbursed under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

You can watch the recording of this event here

Stephen Akinsanya2

Black Crime and Punishment, with Stephen Akinsanya. 6.30pm, Wednesday 8 June 2022. Online

Black History Year Group welcomed Stephen Akinsanya, Barrister, Great James Street, for an in depth conversation with Stephen Bunbury, Senior Law Lecturer, University of Westminster.

Over the 60 minute conversation Stephen Akinsanya discussed the challenges and experiences of being a Black male barrister, particularly how he has navigated his role in criminal law, where Black men are often viewed as criminals rather than defenders/protectors of the rule of law.

The session also delved into the ‘psychology’ of Black males caught up in the Criminal Justice System. Trying to identify the drivers for criminal activity, what is the impact on them and their families, what is their experience of being in prison?

The conversation touched upon what kind of research, applied practice and social justice action is needed to understand these experiences better and mobilise men out of prison in ways that reduce reoffending.

You can watch the recording of this event here



World in Westminster x Black History Year present: Caribbean Cooking. 12.30, Thursday 17 March 2022. Online.

Black History Year joined Rosamund Grant for a culinary feast of culture through our Caribbean Cooking event, on 17th March 2022.

Rosamund Grant is a published cookery writer / consultant, Caribbean food expert, former restaurant owner. She is also a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist; for well over 30 years has worked as a Clinical Consultant delivering therapeutic services to children and families in Children’s Social Care and also delivering training in Race, Culture and Diversity to various institutions.

Rosamund has authored several books on Caribbean and African cooking, e.g. Taste of Africa (1999) and Taste of the Caribbean (2001) and was one of the ‘Hot Chefs’ on the BBC TV Series.

You can watch a recording of the session here


Building Your Potential and Presence with Jacqueline A. Hinds. 12.30, Thursday 24 February 2022, Online.

Black History Year were delighted to welcome Jacqueline, as she explored the practices and principles of managing self, and the skills needed to build effective networks, profile and presence through career resume.

Jacqueline is the Founder of Wilson Hinds Consulting Ltd, Managing Partner of Synergised Solutions Ltd, specialising in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, a Board Member & International Liaison for the Society of Emotional Intelligence International, USA as well as, Founder & CEO of the Society of Emotional Intelligence, UK & Europe. She is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach & Leadership Consultant, with over 25 years of knowledge, skills and expertise within the Human Resource Development arena, working within key corporate and public sector and healthcare organisations.

Jacqueline is also an established author, and her book entitled Journey to Empowerment: Tackling the bullies within, takes the reader on her journey from the School Yard to the present day, looking at bullying, harassment, highlighting peoples’ mindsets, positions and behaviours used to suppress and oppress others.

You can watch a recording of the session here

Screenshot photo of event

Unravelling the Mixed-race experience, Thursday 10 February 2022, 6pm

Black History Year Group opened our first event of 2022 by welcoming Grace Barrett to share her experience, wisdom and knowledge of mental health from her perspective. As someone who has wrestled with her own mental health, Grace has provided of mental health education to over 100,000 parents, teachers, and students. Inviting us into understanding the mechanics of structural racism and micro-aggressions, Grace explored the impacts this can have on health and wellbeing, and how this impacts anti-racism efforts, equity and living in a healthier happier society.

(From top left: Patricia Foster McKenley, Julia Hendricks, Zahrah Surooprajally and Grace Egbewole-Adereti

The Power of Writing, Thursday 9th December

“Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances.” – Toni Morrison

Opening her talk with the poignant quote from the works of Toni Morrison, award winning poet, performer and life coach Patricia Foster McKenley shared her personal perspective of how writing supported her during the pandemic. As a woman of Black British, Christian, Jamaican heritage, she spoke of the global impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the unlawful killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd; the effects of the Covid pandemic, within the Black community.

Patricia also urged us to look at routes to healing. In particular, she spoke of the importance of tapping into creative gifts, accompanying this point with the Alice Walker quote, “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.” Most importantly, she spoke of rewriting the narrative of Black people, stating, “we are not just about trauma – there is so much more to us”. During the course of the talk, as well as sharing her writing, Patricia also shared this list of resources:


Watch a recording of the talk here.

Beverly Tatum

Conversations about Race in Education with Professor Beverly Daniel Tatum, Thursday 18 November, 6pm

New York Times best-selling author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations About Race – this event was hosted by Bryan Bonaparte, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Westminster.

Professor Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., president emerita of Spelman College, is a clinical psychologist widely known for both her expertise on race relations and as a thought leader in higher education. Recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award and author of several books including the New York Times best-selling “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations About Race. Tatum is a sought-after speaker on the topic of racial identity development, the impact of race in the classroom, strategies for creating inclusive teaching environments, and higher education leadership.

Watch a recording of the talk here.

George The Poet, Tuesday 19 October 

Black History Year Group opened our 2021/22 programme, by welcoming George The Poet for an online event of spoken word performance, discussion and audience questions.

George the Poet is a London-born spoken word performer of Ugandan heritage. His innovative brand of musical poetry has won him critical acclaim both as a recording artist and social commentator and seen his work broadcast to billions of people worldwide.

In the summer of 2018, he opened the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with his poem ‘The Beauty of Union’, and in 2019, his audio offering ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast?’ won a prestigious Peabody Award and five Gold British Podcast Awards, including the highly-coveted Podcast of the Year. The podcast was described by BBC R4 as “a story that could change the world”. George is now embarking on a Ph.D. and completing chapter three of the podcast.

Politically Black
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Politically Black, Thursday 8 July

The final event in our year-long Black History Year programme looked at the involvement of Black people at the sharp end of politics. Two Alumni from the University of Westminster, Councillor Princess Bright, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Councillor James Beckles, London Borough of Newham discussed their roles in shaping the political sphere with Dibyesh Anand, a professor of politics and international relations, and offered advice on ways to navigate and influence local and central government policies that affect us all.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Confronting my Imposter, Monday 14 June

For the last event in our ‘Wellbeing and Mental Health in Black People’ month we welcomed Rhoda Quist.

Rhoda shedded light on Imposter Phenomenon (internal experience where you believe you are not as competent as others perceive you to be) and how it affects individuals especially from BME backgrounds. We heard from Rhoda’s experiences and her journey with still confronting her Imposter and how she has been successfully tackling these feelings head on in the workplace.

Watch a recording of the talk here 

Confronting My Imposter – Rhoda Quist

Mental Health in Black Men, 7 June

We welcomed Dr Jason Arday and Professor Damien Ridge to discuss Mental Health in Black Men.

This talk will address the struggles for Black men dealing with mental health, the process of care that is involved with their treatment and the support services available whilst also focusing on empowering Black men to resume control over their mental health following a breakdown or period of ill health.

Jason and Damien each presented a short talk on their research and experiences with ‘Mental Health in Black Men’ and then came together in a discussion around the matters that emerged.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Mental health in Black Men

Black Queer Fictions and Selves, Thursday 29 April

We were joined by  Shantal Edwards, Paul Mendez and Michael Donkor to discuss Black Queer Fictiosn and Selves 

As part of the University of Westminster’s Black History Year and the School of Humanities New Writing Festival, Paul Mendez and Michael Donkor joined Shantel Edwards (Birmingham Literary Festival/Writing West Midlands) to discuss their work. Here they’ll reflect on the pleasures and challenges of writing Black queer fictions and selves, as well as taking questions from the audience.

In the past two years, Paul Mendez’s novel, Rainbow Milk (2020), and Michael Donkor’s novel, Hold (2018), have both brilliantly interrogated the intricacies of Black queer lives. In these novels, both authors give their readers vibrant young protagonists who are coming into an understanding of themselves, their desires and the worlds around them.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Film Screening: Chocolate Babies, Wednesday 21 April

We were joined by the wonderful Rabz Lansiquot and Kate M Graham for our first event in the ‘Gender and Sexuality in Black People’ month, where we are pleased to screen ‘Chocolate Babies’

In 1997 Stephen Winter released his debut film, Chocolate Babies, a vibrant, political, funny and heart-breaking film about activism and the AIDS epidemic. In Winter’s film a group of “black faggots with a political agenda” take on a group of conservative New York politicians in a battle for AIDS treatment.

Filmmaker Rabz will introduce the film – sharing what makes Chocolate Babies such an important piece of work and what it means to them as a filmmaker.

To view the film please visit here


The Power of Writing: During the Pandemic and Rise in Global Black Trauma, 31 March

We apologise for having to cut this event short. We recognise the intentions of evil others to disrupt the power of voice and storytelling. We will not be silenced. The event will be re-scheduled and details posted to all attendees as soon as possible.
Support & self care tools
Counselling services 
Black Minds Matter Black individuals & families connected with free mental health services by Black therapists:
•Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) from your job
•Life / Wellness Coach
•Friendship groups
•Social media free zone

Music: The Black Experience, Monday 22 March

What an event! Watch out for Part 2!

Our wonderful speakers  explored Black artists and executives in the music industry and their personal experiences in both the US and UK market.

They also discussed major key points such Marginalisation, breaking through glass ceilings, creative boundaries and discuss significant labels in the industry such as ‘Black or Urban’ & ‘Pop or R’n’B.

Watch a recording of the talk here

7 minutes and 46 Seconds: Strategic Response and Contemporary Collecting, Wednesday 17 March

We kicked off this month with Aaron Bryant, Curator of Photography, Visual Culture, and Contemporary History and Barby Asante, artist, curator, researcher and healer in training

On May 25 of last year, Minneapolis police officers detained George Floyd, after an employee at a convenience store called 911, alleging that Mr. Floyd purchased cigarettes with a counterfeit bill. Seventeen minutes after the first officers arrived, George Floyd was unconscious, and showing no signs of life. As reported by Minneapolis prosecutors, for 7 minutes and 46 seconds, Mr. Floyd suffocated. His neck and breathing were constricted by the knee of one of the arresting officers, and that moment changed the course of history. Through the use of visual culture, this discussion will position Black Lives Matter protests from summer of 2020 within a larger historical context.

Watch a recording of the talk here

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Women and Black Power in the UK, 17 February 2021

The last event in our ‘Activism month’ where we welcomed Leila Hassan Howe, a leading light in the British Black power movement of the 1970s and 80s to share stories and insights from her life in conversation with journalist, Jaqueline Springer.

Howe was a member of the Black Unity and Freedom Party, leading demonstrations including the National Black People’s Day of Action in response to the deaths of 13 young people trapped in a New Cross house fire in 1981 – at the time the largest demonstration of its kind. She was part of the hugely influential Race Today Collective, working with others including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Farrukh Dhondy and Darcus Howe to steer the monthly magazine and voice for radical Black politics, taking up as deputy editor in 1973 and editor from 1985.

Howe also worked alongside influential activist and intellectual Ambalavaner Sivanandan at the Institute for Race Relations, leading a grassroots rebellion from within the organisation to transform its leadership. This event gave lively conversation and an insider perspective on key moments of Black political resistance in the UK.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Activism and Academia, 15 February 2021

Another key event in our ‘Activism month’ where we welcomed Lisa Shoko, the Founder of Lisa Shoko Racial Equity Consulting, a start-up delivering anti-racist workshops.

This event gave us an insight into the challenges, experiences, and reflections of a Black woman and a student activist in a Higher Education Institution. She discussed the demands that came out of the Decolonise UoK and Afro-Diasporic Legal Network (UoK) Manifestos as well as introducing her thesis on ‘Searching for Belonging: Institutional Racism and the “Silent Crisis” in Higher Education’.  

Please see the speaker presentation here: Shoko Activism and Academia

Business & Organisations: An Intersectional Approach, 11 February 2021                                                                               

This conversation will covered key issues facing Black people in organisations and how they differ by gender and organisation. Speakers Karen Kufuor, Principal Lecturer in the School of Organisations, Economy and Society, University of Westminster and Dr Nene Ibokessien, Alumnus, University of Westminster reflected on personal experiences and research. They told us about good practice for fostering quality intercultural relationships along with strategies and tips on how Black people can best position themselves in employment in the current climate.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Please see the speaker presentations here:

Karen Kufuor Presentation

Nene Ibokessien Presentation

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England’s Hidden History is Our History, 25 November 2020

Dr Nubia’s talk will centre on the theme of anti-colonialism and Pan Africanism. He is a pioneering and internationally recognised historian, writer and presenter. His current works include reinventing our perceptions of the Renaissance, British history, Black Studies and intersectionalism. Dr Nubia is the leading historian on the status and origins of Africans in pre-colonial England from antiquity to 1603. He has developed entirely new strands of British history which includes Africans in Ancient and Medieval England.

Professor D’Souza is a critical scholar, social justice activist, barrister and writer, from India. She is Professor of Law, Development and Conflict Studies at the University of Westminster. Radha’s research and writing focuses on the Global South, law colonialism and neo-colonialism, history of imperialism in South Asia, and comparative theory and philosophy. She has written and published extensively on a range of subjects and issues concerning social and global justice.

Following discussion by both scholars, there will be opportunity for an audience Q&A. The event is hosted by Manvir Grewal (Westminster Law School), Dominika Opyrchal (College Events Co-ordinator) and Deborah Husbands (Psychology).

Watch a recording of the talk here

Black Tudors, 11 November 2020

The Black History Steering Group was pleased to host Dr Miranda Kaufmann as a keynote speaker for its Black History Year programme. This talk marked the beginning of the continuation of ‘Black History Month’.

Dr Kaufmann is a historian, freelance journalist and author. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the University of Liverpool and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her expertise centres on the history of Africans in Renaissance Britain, and her outputs encompass mainstream and specialist media as well as numerous articles in academic journals. Her consultation work includes David Olusoga’s BAFTA award-winning series ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History” and her critically acclaimed book ‘Black Tudors’ will be turned into an ITV-sponsored televised drama series.

To make the most of this talk, attendees should first watch Dr Kaufmann’s talk delivered at Gresham College, Oxford: Black Tudors

Dr Kaufmann be re-visited key aspects of this talk followed by an audience Q&A.

Watch a recording of the talk here

UoW BME Network

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BHY YouTube Video Playlist

Westminster hosts Black History Year event on how theories of racial fitness shape our views

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

Building a memorial for the people the UK enslaved

Mykaell Riley for BBC Radio 4 Archive

Richard Antwi scholarship opens applications

PhD studentship for BME applicants

BBC Radio 4: British folk culture

Menswear MA alumna Priya Ahluwalia receives top reviews

Westminster alumna nominated for Turner Prize 2022

Westminster Alumna Kaylee Golding E4 Academy

Westminster graduate Bree Runway

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