A photography exhibition portraying black, minority and ethnic (BME) role models is going on display from today.
The portraits, of individuals of black and Afro Caribbean descent, are designed to promote positive role models in fields with which they are not conventionally associated. The exhibition, at the University of Portsmouth, is part of its annual One World Week celebrations, a staff and student initiative which celebrates diversity.
The exhibition of 15 portraits represent people in a range of roles including a junior doctor, a managing editor, an entrepreneur and a partner in a firm of solicitors. Photographer, David Ward, a lecturer at the University, said that by portraying people who are doing well in so-called normal roles demonstrated that success comes in many forms.
“These people are not from professions stereotypically associated with people of afro-Caribbean origin such as musicians or footballers; they represent those in professional, responsible often highly complex jobs.
“If we can get more young people seeing these individuals as role models we can help raise their aspirations and encourage them to believe in themselves. Having the exhibition in Purple Door may encourage our own students to broaden their ideas as to potential careers upon graduation.”
Greg, whose portrait forms part of the exhibition, is an entrepreneur who runs his own company selling high-quality Caribbean products which retail in fine food markets across London and Surrey.
He said: “I certainly do see myself as a role model having achieved a certain level of success in my life and others can see me and take inspiration from that. I went to a comprehensive school, to University and I had high-level jobs before I set up my own business. When I was young there were not many people like that around. I almost see myself as a trailblazer. Now I hope people can look at me and take inspiration from that. And think he’s done it so I can do it.”
The University’s One World Week incorporates a series of activities designed to encourage people to discover more about each other. Today, a Canine Partners dog display will demonstrate how specially trained dogs help disabled people perform everyday tasks. The event will demonstrate the dogs’ skills in a mock-home environment and give those attending the opportunity to ask questions of the team.
On Wednesday an exhibition by International and EU students is designed to showcase culture from countries represented by the international student body. Around the world in a day will include costume displays, food and artefacts from countries such as China, India and Vietnam and incorporates traditional music and dance will be performed by students.
Curries from around the world will be served in the Student Centre every lunchtime this week, based on recipes submitted by staff and students. Each day one of the chosen curry recipes will be cooked and sold. The person submitting the recipe is invited to help come and cook the curry in the 3rd Space Canteen.