Black Lives Matter – resources for the humanities

Black Lives Matter – resources for the humanities

Black Lives Matter – resources for the humanities

Championing diverse voices in the humanities and academia and breaking down barriers is something we are committed to. The diversity of human experience must be reflected in the humanities.

Over the past few weeks we have all seen many helpful lists of resources circulating about ways to educate, support the Black Lives Matter movement, and take action against racism; we decided to collate our own with just some of the organisations, networks and resources rooted in humanities research that we think are worth following, supporting, sharing, referencing and learning from. These include some of the leading voices focused on improving access to the humanities, engaging the public, sharing diverse and untold histories (including Black British history) and showcasing research.


Museums, heritage and archives

  • Black Cultural Archives – the UK’s only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. They are currently creating a new digital archive collection documenting the historic activism of 2020 so far and are asking people to donate digital versions of photographs, videos, posters, flyers, artworks, petitions, and articles etc. They are currently closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but you can virtually visit them on the Google Arts and Culture platform here
  • Migration Museum – explores how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has made us who we are, as individuals and as a nation.
  • British Empire and Commonwealth Collections at Bristol Museum  in 2012 the collections of the former British Empire and Commonwealth Museum were transferred to Bristol Museums. The unique collection documents the links between Britain and countries in the British Empire from the late 19th century to recent times.  
  • Bernie Grant Archive – held at the Bishopsgate Institute, this is archive from the late Haringey MP, Bernie Grant, who was the first ever black leader of a local authority in Europe. He spent 35 years campaigning for racial equality in Britain.
  • Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre & Education Trust the trust archives the life stories of BAME communities in Manchester, by running oral history projects, hosting events and exhibitions, and working with schools. The resource centre is free to visit and includes hundreds of books on the history of race, migration and ethnicity. 
  • Peoples’ History Museum the UK’s national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain – past, present and future. The museum focuses on equality, social justice, co-operation and a fair world for all. 
  • Museum Detox – a network for museum and heritage workers who identify as of colour.
  • Museumand  a museum without walls, Museumand is dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the Caribbean contribution to life in Nottingham and the UK.
  • International Slavery Museum in Liverpool – aims to increase the understanding of transatlantic, chattel and other forms of enslavement. Through their collections, public engagement and research they explore their impact and legacies.

Photo: Detail from “Empowered Printworks” Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski and Aida Wilde, part of Goldsmith’s ‘Radical New Cross‘ project – Being Human 2015.

Organisations and initiatives

  • Runnymede Trust – the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. Check out ‘Our Migration Story‘, an interactive site presenting the often untold stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles. They have also just launched a campaign with 7 actions you can take right now to embed Black British history and the histories of migration and empire in the curriculum. 
  • Race on the Agenda – social policy think tank focusing on issues that affect BAME communities.
  • Check out The Royal Historical Society’s landmark Race, Ethnicity & Equality report from 2018, evidencing the scale of under-representation, the extent of workplace racism, and the limitations of History curricula.
  • Windrush Foundation – a registered charity that designs and delivers heritage projects, programmes and initiatives which highlight African and Caribbean peoples’ contributions to UK public services, the arts, commerce, and other areas of socio-economic and cultural life in Britain and the Commonwealth. (Windrush Day is coming up on 22 June!)
  • The Stephen Lawrence Research Centre – based at De Montfort University, the centre aims to drive forward conversations that will shape and influence how we think about race and social justice through asking new questions, debating critical issues, raising awareness, and advocating to bring about positive change. Check out their 2020 webinar series ‘The Exchange‘.

Breaking down barriers

A few of the networks and organisations that are taking action to ensure more young people access higher education and studies in humanities subjects, and to ensure diversity in the education sector. 

  • The Black Curriculum an initiative that is re-imagining the future of education through Black British history. You can support their campaign here. 
  • Building the anti-racist classroom – an international collective of women of colour scholar activists. They aim to build anti-racist pedagogic communities of students and university workers through sustained collective organising, collaboration and radical thinking. 
  • Arts Emergency – an award-winning mentoring charity and network. They help marginalised young people overcome barriers to participation and success in higher education and the creative and cultural industries. Check out their Panic! Report from 2018, looking at inequality in creative and cultural jobs. 
  • Black Ticket Project – an initiative creating cultural access points for Black young people across England. They supply free tickets to theatre, creative shows, talks and exhibitions, organise free training and development opportunities, help cover travel and accommodation costs, along with anything else they can do to help build relationships between artistic institutions and communities that are often racially and socio-economically marginalised.  
  • The Brilliant Club exists to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. They do this by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools.
  • BAMEed Network – a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Podcasts, television and film…

  • In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer (a Being Human festival patron) – podcast series uncovering the lives of the people of African descent that don’t fit with the accepted history of Western Civilisation that we’ve traditionally been taught. 
  • About Race with Renni Eddo-Lodge – from the author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, the ‘About Race’ podcast series features key voices from the last few decades of anti-racist activism, and looks at the recent history that lead to the politics of today.
  • Witness Black History – podcast series from the BBC World Service.
  • BBC Black and British Season – a season of programming celebrating the achievements of Black people in the UK and exploring the rich culture and history of Black Britain. Originally aired in 2016, the BBC is re-broadcasting many of the programmes over the coming weeks. Highlights include the four-part series Black and British: A Forgotten History, by historian (and Being Human festival patron!) David Olusoga.
  • BFI Black Britain Collection Landmark collection exploring 100 years of Black British stories, histories and representation on film and TV. Search ‘Black Britain on Film’ on the BFI player.

Books, books, books

There are of course, many, many books looking at Black British history and other diverse histories (too many to list here!), there’s a great list here for starters, and the UK Black Writers Forum have a comprehensive list of Black owned bookshops here.

Events, projects and more!


This is by no means an exhaustive list, do get in touch if you think there is something that should be added!

Photo by Etienne Godiard on Unsplash