What’s Happening in Black British History? A Conversation

Thirty years after the publication of Peter Fryer’s Staying Power,  immigration is still a hotly contested topic, while slavery continues to dominate popular perceptions of Black British History. New research is revealing different stories, but how is this being presented in Britain’s classrooms and museums? Miranda Kaufman, one of the many people active in researching aspects of Britain’s Black History, argues that we need a conversation between those actively involved in researching and communicating the history of peoples of African origin and descent in Britain about what it means to us today. She is part of a team at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies setting up  the first in what will be a series of workshops held once a term by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

The aim is to foster a creative dialogue between researchers, educationalists (mainstream and supplementary), archivists and curators, and policy makers. It will seek to identify and promote innovative new research into the history of people of African origin or descent in the UK. Researchers and archivists will provide an introduction to the ever-growing body of resources available.  We will also discuss the latest developments in the dissemination of Black British history in a wide variety of settings including the media, the classroom and lecture hall, and museums and galleries, thus providing an opportunity to share good practice. The workshops will consider a range of issues around Black British history including the way in which scholars have defined the field, debates around how and why it should be taught, especially in the light of the new national curriculum, and the tensions between celebrating the achievements of people of African descent in the UK and applying a critical perspective to the past.

The first workshop will take place at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in Senate House, London, on Thursday 30 October 2014. The day will run from 11am to 6.30pm, followed by a Reception. The event will consist of a keynote address, followed by three consecutive panels and a round table discussion. There will be a registration fee of £20 (£5 for students/unwaged) to cover the costs of lunch and refreshments.

For our first workshop, the panels will be organised around the following themes: new directions in research; archives and records; and new methods of communicating Black British History. Each panel will consist of three presentations lasting for 15-20 minutes. An outline programme is given below. We would be delighted to hear from researchers, educationalists, archivists and curators or others interested in offering a presentation. Please submit a title and a brief description of your presentation either in writing (in which case, of no more than 300 words) or in some other form (for example a clip or podcast) with an indication of which panel you envisage contributing to, to Dr. Miranda Kaufmann at mirandackaufmann@gmail.com by 31 July 2014.

Draft Programme

The Senate Room, Senate House, London

Thursday 30 October 2014

10.45-11.00                            Registration, tea/coffee

11.00-11.30                            Keynote address (tbc)

11.30-1.00                              Session One: New Directions in Black British History

1.00-2.00                                Lunch

2.00-3.30                                Session Two: People of African descent in the archives

3.30-4.00                                Tea/coffee

4.00-5.30                                Session Three: Spreading the word: New developments

in the communication of Black British History

5.30-6.30                                Round Table Discussion and Conclusions

6.30-7.30                                Reception

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann



07855 792 885

About seancreighton1947

I have lived in Norbury since July 2011. I blog on Croydon, Norbury and history events,news and issues. I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I have submitted views to Council Committees and gave evidence against the Whitgift Centre CPO and to the Local Plan Inquiry. I am a member of Norbury Village Residents Association and Chair of Norbury Community Land Trust, and represent both on the Love Norbury community organisations partnership Committee. I used to write for the former web/print Croydon Citizen. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics history database. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour, radical and suffrage movements, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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