Leeds Trinity University has launched its series of events for Black History Month, in collaboration with Leeds Trinity Students’ Union.

Image of projector screen showing Re:Tension.

Throughout October, the University and the Students’ Union are hosting a number of events, featuring staff, students and alumni, to mark Black History Month.

As part of the event series, the University has screened short film Re:Tension, which follows 19-year-old student, Thapelo, as he wrestles with the idea of whether or not to report racism at his university.

Re:Tension was written, directed and produced by Senior Lecturer in Film Production Ricardo Barker, a professional documentary and filmmaker. The film highlights what institutional racism, unconscious bias and micro-aggression looks like in real life, and the difficulties that arise when choosing how to tackle it.

Professor Charles Egbu, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, delivered a talk and Q&A session about his perspectives on the importance of Black History Month and his ambitions for the University. He also spoke at a webinar about diversity in higher education organised by the University of Bedfordshire.

Black History Month events feature a number of staff, students and alumni, including:

  • ‘Celebrating Black Professors at Leeds Trinity’ with Dr Sulochini Pather
  • ‘The Big Conversation: race and intersectionality’ with Dr Shyane Siriwardena
  • ‘Celebrating our alumni and their award-winning research projects’ with Macy Idewiebo and Rebecca Rose
  • ‘Talk and Share’ seminar workshop – new perspectives on race in teaching and learning with Syra Shakir

Leeds Trinity also invited founder of Leeds Black History Walk and Heritage Corner Joe Williams to deliver ‘African Stories in Yorkshire’ – a seminar featuring live performance and historical accounts.

Professor Egbu said: “I am delighted that we are able to celebrate Black History Month with a comprehensive line-up of important events throughout October.

“At Leeds Trinity University, we have taken positive steps forward to embed race equality but we acknowledge the progress we still need to make.

“I very much enjoyed sharing my thoughts and perspectives as well as talking to the University of Bedfordshire about my journey to becoming Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University.”

Syra Shakir, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Institute for Childhood and Education and co-chair of the BAME staff network at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am proud that we have organised a powerful line-up of events for Black History Month featuring staff, students, alumni and external speakers.

“It is important that we have these conversations about race equality throughout the year, not just Black History Month, to facilitate open discussion and encourage all of us as peers to take responsibility for our own actions, behaviours and make the changes we need to tackle racism in higher education.”

Ricardo Barker, Senior Lecturer in Film Production at Leeds Trinity University, added: “It’s been great to screen Re:Tension to students and staff during Black History Month. I am delighted that it continues to be truly engaged with and a source of discussion, which is so important to have during Black History Month and beyond.”

Last year, Leeds Trinity University received the Race Equality Charter (REC) Bronze award, which recognises the University’s ongoing commitment to improving the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff.

The University achieved the Bronze award after embarking on a programme to achieve race equality, establishing an internal REC Self-Assessment Team and developing a comprehensive action plan to promote inclusion, which was led by Shames Maskeen, Operational Lead for the Race Equality Charter and Postgraduate Researcher (PhD) at Leeds Trinity University.

The full line-up of Black History Month events can be viewed on the Leeds Trinity University website.

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