Developing Together Social Work  Teaching Partnership

Celebrating Black History: Proud to Be

Thank you to colleagues who joined us for the Teaching Partnership’s Black History Month Celebration Event on 4th October.

We heard from Dr Wilson Muleya, Head of Department of Social Work and Social Care at Kingston University, who reflected on this year’s selected book for the University’s ‘Big Read’ project: The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, by Okechukwu Nzelu. The award-winning Big Read project provides each new student (undergraduate and postgraduate) with a free copy of that year’s Big Read title and aims to make those coming to the university feel welcome before they arrive, creating links between them and the existing staff and students.

Wilson explained that Black History is often overlooked, ignored and distorted, with most schools teaching history through focusing on traditional events without considering black heritage and culture. The book uses fiction to explore black heritage and culture as well as racism, sexism and prejudice, demonstrating to the reader its prevalence in society. The book underpins a lot of what we do within social work and provides a platform to talk about the challenges facing young black people today, especially those growing up in mixed heritage families.

If you would like a free copy of the book, please complete the event feedback form and provide your details. We will then let you know how you can get your hands on a copy!

We then heard from Sharon Evans, Partnership Practice Consultant, who shared many examples of ‘hidden’ Black history, inspired by Lavinya Stennett, founder of The Black Curriculum. From Henry VIII’s trumpeter, to the first black woman to join the Armed Forces, you can find out about these significant but ‘hidden’ contributions made by Black Britons by downloading the presentation slides below.

It was a privilege to be part of this event and be with colleagues who also shared their own knowledge of Black History and some of their own lived experiences. Many of the reflections were about how important it was to make space for conversations like this but that we need to ensure that individual and collective action is taken to to continue the momentum and avoid such events being seen as tokenistic.  

One example of action that we would like to take as a Partnership is to provide a platform to showcase and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of ‘ordinary’ Black people within our Partnership, through the sharing of ‘Life Stories’, as suggested by those who attended. Please do send your stories and experiences into us:

We would love to make the sharing of these ‘Life Stories’ a regular item in our bi-monthly Newsletter and also present a selection of these at our next event to celebrate Black History Month, ‘Celebrating Black Voices’, being held on Thursday 28 October, 2-4pm.

Here is a list of resources that were shared in the chat or in conversation that you may be interested in:

Together we will make a difference.

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in this event.