Choir at Chancellor's Dinner

This October we celebrate Black History Month with cultural festivals, films, talks and more

30 September 2019

5 min read

This October, the University celebrates Black History Month with a programme of cultural festivals, film, talks and a call to add to our library archives and collections.

Black History Month (BHM) promotes knowledge of black history, culture, heritage and positive black contributions to British society. In support of BHM, we're supporting various activities throughout the month, together with the Multicultural Staff Network, Student Union and Portsmouth Film Society.

We've signed up to the Race Equality Charter, which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. Find out more about our Equality and Diversity work

Some of the events planned throughout the month include:

Our Global History archive project

Throughout October, University Library

We're proud of our global heritage - but as with many institutions, we sadly have little recorded black history to date. With the project 'Our Global History', we're appealing for more material to add to the University Archive to ensure a more diverse and reflective history. Staff, students and the wider community are invited to contribute items to the archive, and also to express an interest in taking part in a future oral history project to enrich our records further. Anyone wishing to help can email

Nigerian students at the City of Portsmouth Training College and their tutors, June 1955, from the University of Portsmouth Archive

Nigerian students at the City of Portsmouth Training College and their tutors, June 1955, from the University of Portsmouth Archive

Black History Month Film Festival

Throughout October, Eldon Building

Black History Month Film Festival will take place at the Eldon Building throughout October. The Festival launches with an opening ceremony and the screening of 'Yardie'(2018) on Thursday 3 October. 'Yardie' is a British crime drama film directed by Idris Elba based on the novel of the same name by Jamaican-born writer Victor Headley. Other films include 'If Beale Street Could Talk', 'Undercover in the Alt Right', 'Britain on Film: Black Britain (1901-1985)', 'BlacKkKlansman' and 'Us'. Full details are available from the Portsmouth Film Society.

Black History Month Fusion Festival

Saturday 5 October, 12.00pm - 5.00pm, Eldon Building

Celebrate the history, culture and diversity of the local Afro-Caribbean community at the Black History Month Fusion Festival. The event, organised by the Portsmouth Black History Committee, will include performances by local artists, a fashion show featuring African dance and designs, information stalls and a pop-up market with African and Caribbean art, accessories and prints. The festival will aim to settle the #jollofwars as local cooks represent their countries of origin and battle for the accolade of the best cook of this iconic West African rice dish.

University of Portsmouth Students Union Cultural Evening

Monday 14 October, 7.00pm, Third Space

The Student's Union will hold a cultural evening where, in collaboration with several societies, they'll have stalls representing different African cultures through food, music, pictures and clothing. There'll also be performances throughout the evening from Gospel Choir, Capoeira and dance groups.

poster for Britain on Film: Black Britain (1901-1985)

Britain on Film: Black Britain collates little-seen footage from across the UK and is an opportunity to celebrate black British culture and life on screen

Black Preachers in Portsmouth public lecture

Wednesday 16 October, 6.00pm - 7.00pm, King Henry

Dr Ryan Hanley, lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Exeter, will share the experiences of three key black preachers in Georgian Portsmouth when they arrive in ‘the world’s greatest naval port’. This lecture is organised in collaboration with the Citizenship, Race and Belonging research network at the University of Portsmouth. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

The Recordings of Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy book launch

Friday 18 October, 4.30pm - 7.00pm, The Guildhall Village

George Burrows' new book, 'The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy' examines the recordings of this black jazz band from Kansas City to present a new theory concerning musical-racial understandings in jazz. The joint book launch with fellow University of Portsmouth academic Anna Bull, will include reflections on the two books, a live performance of music recorded by Kirk’s band, and a chance for questions. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Image of musician and political commentator Akala

Akala, musician and political commentator, will speak about race, class and imperialism at the University of Portsmouth Students' Union on Monday 21 October

Akala on race, class and imperialism - talk and Q&A

Monday 21 October, 7.00pm, Third Space

The Student's Union will host the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala, speaking about race, class and imperialism. His book 'Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire', a searing modern polemic, is on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Tickets are available for booking now.

The Great Debate Tour

Wednesday 6 November, 6.30pm - 9.00pm, Park

The Student Union's Afro-Caribbean Society (ACS) will host the Great Debate Tour, made up of black alumni who travel around the UK and debate prominent issues about race. Last year, the ACS were recognised for having the best turnout at a tour event, so we were chosen to host for the South East this year. Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.