SOAS University of London

Black History Month at SOAS featuring SOAS alumni David Lammy, Zeinab Badawi, Lavinya Stennett and more

1 October 2020

SOAS University of London is celebrating Black History Month with a varied programme of events, blogs and articles to promote knowledge of black history and experience; circulate information on positive black contributions to British Society; and heighten the confidence and awareness of black people in their cultural heritage.

This year arguably marks one of the most important Black History Months since their inception in 1987. In 2020 the world finally began to openly discuss ‘Black Lives Matter’, and the UK has started conversations discussing our shared history and its link to the vast inequalities that impact Black people today. 

Our Black History Month blog series will include a special contribution from SOAS alumnus David Lammy MP, who has written a piece reflecting on how 2020 will be remembered by Black History Month

The Centre of Migration and Diaspora studies will host an online seminar titled 'Do Black Lives Matter? Race, Racism and Resistance' on Wednesday 14 October with Maya Goodfellow in conversation with Kehinde Nkosi Andrews.

Our principal event Furthering Black Women in Higher Education and Careers will take place online on Thursday  15 October 6-7pm. 

Speakers include: BBC broadcast journalist and SOAS alumna, Zeinab Badawi, Founder of the Black Curriculum and SOAS alumna, Lavinya Stennett, lecturer in Law at the Department of Jurisprudence, Mx Busisiwe Deyi, and Pro-Director Learning & Teaching and senior lecturer in Law at SOAS, Dr Emilia Onyema

Looking towards the future, our panel will create a dialogue of insight for black women on their academic and professional career journey, as we collectively work to shift these institutional paradigms and make real change. We will have a roundtable discussion and Q&A, celebrating the success of black women and also discussing how they can get the most out of their education and careers.

Find out more and sign up to the event.

SOAS will also feature influential talks on black history, identity and challenge the notion that African’s and our history is monolithic such as SOAS Teaching Fellow Emma Dabiri’s video on Why black hair is still stigmatised, SOAS academic, Dr. Awino Okech’s talk on Global blackness and transnational solidarity, Honorary Fellow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk on the danger of a single story and much more. 

The SOAS Student’s Union also has a calendar of events organised for Black History Month including interactive classes, discussion spaces, and opportunities for community building.

SOAS will also launch the Ebony Initiative this term, led by Dr Althea-Maria Rivas and Eleanor Newbigin, with support from Lucia Kula, SOAS's Black Student Support Coordinator, which is aimed at opening up a stronger pathway into academic careers for black undergraduate students through a programme of research and mentoring opportunities aimed at mending what has been called the ‘broken pipeline’

Finally, from 19-24 October, the SOAS Virtual Festival of Ideas will take place hosting a range of events focusing on Decolonising Knowledge. The festival builds upon the work of the Decolonising SOAS Working Group, which has driven the agenda to decolonise our teaching, learning and research practice at SOAS. Dr Adam Habib, Incoming Director of SOAS will officially open the Festival with a keynote lecture entitled “Decolonising Knowledge: The Flow of Knowledge in regards to the positioning of the Global South”.

View the full programme of events.