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University of Bristol celebrates Black History Month with a dynamic lineup of events

As October ushered in the annual celebration of Black History Month, the University of Bristol is gearing up to mark the event.

Image courtesy of Milan Perera

By Milan Perera, Deputy Editor

As the month of October is underway, the University of Bristol is gearing up to mark Black History Month with a series of events and activities.

Black History Month at the University of Bristol is a time to recognise the profound impact of Black individuals on history, culture, and society.

It also serves as a reminder of the ongoing work needed to address racial inequalities and promote diversity and inclusion.

Afrika Eye is the biggest celebration of African cinema and culture in South West - Milan Perera

Here is a shortlist of the activities and events organised at the University and beyond to mark Black History Month.

An alternative guided tour of Bristol - Decolonising Memory

An augmented reality app was launched early this year to explore Bristol’s transatlantic slavery past that guides users on an alternative tour of Bristol, using narration, art, dance, music, spoken word to explore sites and landmarks in the city which have connections to the legacies of transatlantic enslavement.

Augmented reality app to for an alternative tour of Bristol - Jessica Moody

The app was developed by The Cultural Assembly, as a part of Decolonising Memories: Digital Bodies in Movement. The project was led by the historian, Dr. Jessica Moody, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol with the creative partners Kwesi Johnson and Cleo Lake.

Users are taken on a guided tour around Bristol’s well known landmarks such as Bristol Old Vic theatre, Queen Square, Pero’s Bridge, and the vacant Colston statue plinth. It explores the history of these iconic venues whose ties to enslavement are often blurred.

The app by could be downloaded by visiting the Google Playstore or App Store under ‘Decolonising Memory’.

Steppin Sistas Walk (Wednesday, October 11)

Steppin Sistas is a grassroots walking group of women of colour established in Bristol who aim to encourage an interest in walking and thriving in open spaces.

Steppin Sistas Walk is designed to be a space for Black students who identify as female/non-binary to reflect and share experiences - Bristol SU

The meeting point is at the Water Tower on The Downs for 3pm on Wednesday, October 11. This is a circular walk that will end up back at the Water Tower.

This event is designed to be a space for our Black students who identify as female/non-binary to reflect and share experiences. Booking is required.

Beyond Black History Month Panel: Changing approaches to the teaching of the Black British presence in the education sector (Thursday, October 12)

This panel event is held at the Global Lounge on Thursday, October 12 as the first of a series of informative Beyond Black History Month events. Along with a panel of academics, other educators and students, the discussion will focus on the changing approaches to the teaching of the Black British presence in the education sector in England and Wales.

Staff and students alike will have the chance to learn about dominant/existing approaches to teaching the Black British presence and contributions in the UK, at various levels of the education sector in England and Wales. In addition, this is a space to explore alternative teaching strategies, from different disciplinary and sectoral perspectives.

To fuel the discussion, there will also be refreshments. Free event for staff and students. Booking required.

Open Mic Night at the Balloon Bar (Wednesday, October 18)

Open Mic Night at the Balloon Bar - Bristol SU

Celebrating the talents of the Black student community, the Open Mic Night welcomes all students for an evening of songs, poetry and spoken words. Organised by the Black Students' Network to celebrate Black History Month in a relaxed atmosphere on Wednesday, October 18 from 7.00pm onwards. There is a free drink token for a beverage of choice. Booking required.

'Paint and Sip' at the Balloon Bar (Wednesday, October 25)

After the success of previous years, ‘Paint and Sip’ is back for another Black History Month. Organised as a relaxed evening of ‘talk and paint’ over a drink, this is an ideal space for Black students meet fellow Black students in order to reflect and exchange ideas. Hosted by Black Students’ Network at the Balloon Bar on Wednesday, October 18, from 7.00pm onwards.

'Paint and Sip' - Milan Perera

No prior experience is needed. Open to all abilities. Painting materials are provided. A free drink of choice available on arrival. Booking is required.

Film Screening: ‘Get Out’ at Ansons Rooms Bar (Friday, October 27)

Organised by Black Students’ Network, Get Out (2017) follows the story of Chris, a young African-American man who visits his girlfriend's family estate for the weekend. What initially seems like a friendly family gathering takes a sinister turn as Chris uncovers disturbing secrets that propel him into a nightmarish reality.

Directed by Jordan Peele, a rollercoaster ride that unravels a gripping account of suspense, race, and social commentary.

The film is rated a 15 and contains strong language and themes of violence. The screening is at 6.00pm at the Anson Rooms Bar.

Tickets include a free drink to be redeemed from The Balloon Bar. This event is free but booking is required.

Afrika Eye Film Festival at various venues (November 14 – 22)

Afrika Eye - Bristol’s annual celebration of African cinema and culture - will return from November 14 to 22 with its 17th annual programme, presenting the city with opportunities to take part in street art, architecture, chess, politics, music and a Sundance Festival award winner rooted in Nigerian folklore.

Afrika Eye 2022 - Milan Perera

The festival will kick off on Tuesday, November 14, with a screening of Who I Am Not (2023), an award-winning documentary telling the story of two South Africans learning to live with being among the 2 per cent of people worldwide classed as intersex.

The festival will also showcase System K, Neptune Frost, Queen of Katwe and the Sundance Festival award winner, Mami Wata.

For a detailed schedule of events and locations, please visit the Bristol SU.

Featured image: Milan Perera

Will you be attending any Black History Month events? Share your experience with us.