Arts & Culture

Refocus: Reclaiming the Role of Black Women in Activism in the UK

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm | 17 September 2020
Online | Free

The contributions women of colour have made to our society are frequently missing from our history books. With Refocus, we invite you to challenge your understandings of issues that affect our society, both past and present.

Despite notable achievements and contributions made by Black women in activism to British society, many of these narratives have been lost or appear overshadowed. This webinar will celebrate the work of these activists, and ask why these names are missing from our collective memory and what we can do to rectify this.

In this online conversation, we will hear perspectives from Stella Dadzie, Kayza Rose and Ife Thompson, activists and educators not only campaigning for the wellbeing of Black people in the UK but also working to decolonise and diversify our understandings of British history.

Join us as we fill in some of the gaps and celebrate the activist work of Black women in the UK. This discussion will be followed by a Q&A.

Please order your free ticket here. The event Zoom link and instructions will be sent to you via email on the day at noon. The event will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

Please visit here where the recording will be posted a few days after the event.

Image credit: Neil Kenlock – photo of Altheia Jones-LeCointe and Obi Egbuna: Leaders in the British Black Panther Movement.

Stella Dadzie

Stella Dadzie is a published writer and historian, best known for The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain which won the 1985 Martin Luther King Award for Literature, and was re-published by Verso in 2018 as a Feminist Classic. Her forthcoming book A Kick in the Belly: Women, Slavery & Resistance is due to be published by Verso in October 2020. She is a founder member of OWAAD (Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent), a national umbrella group for Black women that emerged in the late 1970s as part of the British Civil Rights movement. She was recently described as one of the “grandmothers“ of Black Feminism in the UK, and her personal archive in Brixton‘s Black Cultural Archives is one of the most visited by researchers and scholars. Her career as a writer, artist and education activist spans over 40 years. She has written numerous publications and resources aimed at promoting good practice with black learners and other minorities, including resources to decolonise and diversify the UK national curriculum in schools and colleges. She is well known within the UK for her contribution to tackling youth racism and working with racist perpetrators, and is a key contributor to the development of anti-racist strategies with schools, colleges and youth services. In November 2003, she received the NBM (Network for Black Manager’s) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Race Equality in Further Education.

Kayza Rose

Kayza Rose is the COO at AZ Mag and is a creative producer, artistic director, activist filmmaker and Arts Council England – Change Maker who uses her creative practices to give marginalised groups a voice. She combines her work at AZ Mag and Mzz Kimberley’s LIFE with her roles as Operations Director at Wahala Film Fund, guest lecturer and curriculum consultant at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and creator/Artistic Director of Family Dinner which is a sober, day event focussing on QTIBPOC well-being. Kayza is also co-creator with Campbell X of QTIPOC Family, an intergenerational event centring QTIBPOC with DJ’s, film, performance and community participation. In 2018 Kayza produced VISIBLE ( directed by Campbell X) which is a film about the erasure and sanitisation of QTIBPOC history and contributions. Allies Corner was created in 2019 by Kayza as a space to connect potential allies to trans people using film screenings, entertainment and a panel discussion. Kayza is Head of External Events at UK Black Pride which covers events outside of the annual celebrations in Haggerston Park.

Ife Thompson

Ife Thompson is a UK-based Community Activist, barrister and writer. She campaigns for the rights of peoples of African Descent in the UK, as she believes we should live in a world where Black people can live free from racism and oppression. She has founded two civil society organisations to further these pursuits. The first being BLAM UK- an award-winning Non-profit that provides educational, advocacy and well-being support for Black people living in Britain. The second being Black Protest Legal Support UK (BPLS) a hub of UK based Lawyers willing to provide Pro-bono support to BLM Activists. Since its inception in June 2020, they have able to ensure that there are Independent Legal observers at every London BLM protests- to monitor police intimidation and to provide protesters with bustards containing their legal rights. BPLS has also been able to facilitate legal support for BLM activists.

Further Reading: 10 Black Female Activists You Should Know

Header Photo: Neil Kenlock