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The C&TH Guide to Black History Month 2020

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The online and offline highlights from this year's Black History Month

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October marks Black History Month, the annual celebration of the history, contributions and achievements of black people in the UK. Every year numerous events celebrating African and Caribbean cultures take place across the country, and despite the pandemic creating limitations the 2020 programme is as diverse and interesting as ever.

Black History Month 2020

Black Book Series

Melissa Thompson, Black Book

Following their popular eight-week digital series, ‘De-colonising the food industry’, Black Book is launching a programme of events celebrating Black History Month, focused on the food and drinks world. Every Tuesday throughout October there will be a full day of workshops, masterclasses and discussions exploring the four pillars of Black Book: equality, visibility, wealth creation and equity. Taking place at The Tramshed Project, the series is designed to showcase voices and talent who just so happen to hail from the Black diaspora. Events include a workshop with drinks writer and wine professional Aleesha Hansel, a cook-a-long with Joe Faulkner of The Krio Kanteen focused on food from Sierra Leone, and a discussion between Melissa Thompson and Zoe Adjonyoh on recent BLM events. blackbook-global.com

Living Just Enough, Goodman Gallery

Goodman Gallery’s new exhibition takes its name from Stevie Wonder’s 1974 hit, Living for the City. The song tells the story of a young black man who moves to New York from Mississippi, documenting his experiences of systemic racism. Living Just Enough brings together black artists’ response to these themes. Works include Carrie Mae Weems’ poster project on the effect of Covid-19 on black and brown communities, and Kudzanai Chiurai’s To Walk Barefoot (2020), a pastiche of posters generated for the purpose of inciting political action during Zimbabwe’s turbulent 1970s. 6 October – 19 November 2020, goodman-gallery.com

Phenomenal Women

Phenomenal Women

The first ever public exhibition to honour Britain’s black female professors is launching this month at the Southbank Centre. Commissioned and curated by Dr Nicola Rollock, the free outdoor exhibition features portraits of 45 professors across a broad range of subjects – from law to medicine to creative writing. Among the women being featured you’ll find award-winning author Bernadine Evaristo, poet and playwright Joan Anim-Addo and the first woman ever to be appointed head of a UK dental school, Cynthia Pine. 10 October – 8 November, southbankcentre.co.uk

Aké Festival

Abi Dare Ake Festival

The world’s biggest event for creative voices from Africa and the African Diaspora, Aké Festival returns this year with over 170 speakers from the worlds of literature, poetry, music, theatre and art. It was introduced as a celebration of black excellence; this year’s theme being ‘African Time’ in recognition of the global anti-racism movement. Events are all digital, meaning people from all over the world can tune in for free – with topics set to be discussed including intersectional feminism, decolonisation of black spaces and colourism. Nigerian-born Abi Daré will talk about her latest book Girl with the Louding Voice, Canadian journalist and author Desmond Cole will lead a panel discussion on ‘Blacktivism Around The World’, Ugandan feminist and gay rights activist Stella Nyanzi will discuss ‘Why Africa Needs Feminist Giants’ and much more. 22 – 25 October 2020, akefestival.org

Coco de Mer & Janet’s List

Popping up in Coco de Mer’s Covent Garden boutique is a curated edit from Janet’s List, featuring 12 brands championing independent businesses that have been founded by black women and women of colour. All brands included have women’s empowerment at their core, including Ahima Jewellery, Ange B Designs, Sofia Latif, The Soap Connoisseur and AK Wilde. 2 – 30 October 2020, coco-de-mer.com

Black Greenwich Pensioners

Andrew Morton, Black Greenwich Pensioners

Andrew Morton, The United Service, 1845

A new exhibition launching at Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College shines a light on the black mariners that played a crucial role in its history. Co-curated by Black British heritage consultant S. I. Martin, Black Greenwich Pensioners tells the stories of black seamen, some of whom were volunteers and others who were enslaved, tracing their unpredictable lives in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition delves into the lives of prominent Greenwich pensioners, such as John Simmonds, a Jamaican veteran of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, and Briton Hammon, the author of the first slave narrative. 3 October 2020 – 21 February 2021, ornc.org

The Black Farmer’s Campaign

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones

Throughout October, the majority of Britain’s supermarkets will be devoting in-store promotional space and profits to The Black Farmer’s nationwide Black History Month campaign. Donations will go towards the historic Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton and The Mary Seacole Trust. There’s also a GoFundMe campaign for extra donations to the causes. Here The Black Farmer’s founder, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, shares his favourite spots in Devon and Cornwall. theblackfarmer.com

That Black Theatre Podcast

That Black Theatre Podcast

Over the course of 12 weekly episodes, The National Theatre’s new podcast will delve the Black Plays Archive, discussing the leaders of Black British theatre. Hosted by PhD student Nadine Deller, the series will explore the life and work of trailblazers throughout history, beginning with the earliest black theatre practitioners Una Marson and Errol John. Deller will also chat to leading academic Lynette Goddard about the barriers faced by black women playwrights, and reflect on the past and future of Black British theatre with Mojisola Adebayo and Ola Ince. The series launches on 28 September and will be available on all major podcast platforms. nationaltheatre.org.uk

Black Voices in Literature To Read Now / Podcasts About Race To Listen To

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