Black History Month 2022

News | Posted on Tuesday 27 September 2022

We'll be celebrating Black History Month 2022 throughout October.

Members of the staff and student community who have contributed to the 'Proud to Be' campaign for Black History Month 2021. Text on the image reads 'Celebrating Diversity'.
Members of our staff and student community who contributed to our 2021 'Proud to be' campaign.

Black History Month in the UK is in its 35th year and is celebrated and recognised across the country in schools, city centres, cinemas, festivals and more.

The theme for 2022 is Time for Change: Action Not Words

Here at the University we will be hosting a variety of online and in-person events to celebrate Black History. In addition to the celebratory aspects of the month, as the theme of this year suggests, Black History Month is also about highlighting the action that is being taken by the University and within the city in order to challenge racism and implement our anti-racism actions. 

Our actions

Following the approaches highlighted during Race Equality Week, the University continues to invite everyone to learn with us about the diverse stories, aspirations and activism that tackle racial and intersectional inequality. For instance, the Covid-19 Storytelling project and the York University Student Union's (YUSU) Life in Lockdown both shed light on different experiences of the pandemic in our communities and how we seek to build connectedness with creative outputs. 

We'd also like to raise awareness of some of our anti-racist initiatives, including:

We are piloting a reciprocal mentorship programme, and have published our first ethnicity pay gap report and the Race Equality Action Plan to make our work more transparent and visible. 

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to the 2022/23 academic year, the University is determined to embed anti-racism and EDI activities in our strategies as well as everyday culture. The EDI Exchange, which aims at building a diverse and inclusive student and staff community, will launch in November with the University’s first Inclusive Impact Awards. Our Race Equality Coordination Group - see below - continues to reflect on its role and priorities to progress in the shifting social and political landscape. 

Our Staff Race Equality Forum (SREF) expands and brings positive influence on the University’s anti-racism agenda. A newly established SREF Operations Team will lead on activities and more effective communications with its members. Building on the impact of our staff listening exercise in 2019, the Forum will meet with the Vice Chancellor to conduct another exercise to gather feedback and develop a renewed action plan.

Race Equality Co-ordination Group 

As an institution, we acknowledge the significance of not losing sight of the important work around anti-racism, which is why we have established the Race Equality Co-ordination Group (RECG). As part of this, we have agreed an anti-racism statement and set ourselves ambitious and impactful targets. 

Our anti-racism statement Our Race Equality Action Plan

The purpose of the group is to oversee activities, to challenge and to redress systemic inequalities and disadvantages. RECG's priorities are under the following three headings: 

  • Establishing a culture and environment where we can talk about the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of race and inequality
  • Addressing the ethnicity pay gap and BAME staff under-representation
  • Diversifying and decolonising the curriculum

RECG has a connection to the University’s Executive Board (UEB) and the Council through the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC). RECG regularly reports to EDIC, which provides an oversight of the EDI activities and make recommendations to UEB and the Council. The University's Executive Board has endorsed these priorities and has committed to supporting the progress of these across our learning, teaching, working, social and living environments.

What's on?

Decolonising Network reading group 

Wednesday 12 October -1pm, The Treehouse

Join us for our first Decolonising Network reading group of the year. For this session, we are reading the first chapter of Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò's Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously, which came out earlier this summer with Hurst Publishers.

Black British Poetry salon with Dr Olivia Carpenter

Friday 14 October - 3:30pm, FR Leavis Room

Reflections on a career in Clinical Psychology: A black woman's story

Tuesday 18 October - 4pm,  PS/B/020

Answering questions such as 'Have you ever felt underestimated as a Black Woman working in Clinical Psychology? Would you mind sharing with us some of your experiences?', Dr Sharon Prince will be speaking to us about her career journey.

Working on a dream; I just had to hear your voice

There is a crack, a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in (Leonard Cohen)

Wednesday 19 October - 1.30pm, CSE/082X

Professor Kiran Trehan gives this talk which will explore the importance of voice and stories in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements. Has the light managed to get in and been a catalyst for change or is equality and diversity simply an illusion?

Representation in Psychological Science

Thursday 20 October - 1pm

Join Dr Nadia Jessop as she gives us insight into her field of Educational Psychology, and what the implications of the lack of diversity in research are.

"Slavery Shall Cease": The Millennial Mission of British Abolitionists, 1780-1840

Thursday 20 October - 5:15pm, The Treehouse

Join us for this illuminating talk from John Coffey.

Black Life and British Literary History

Tuesday 25 October 2022, 6.30pm, online

This talk by Dr Olivia Carpenter (English and Related Literature) will allow us to think more together about the history of Black intellectual life in Britain and what we may think we know about Black people in British history.

Writers at York poetry reading with Dr Jason Allen-Paisant

Wednesday 16 November - 4pm, D/L/037

Black and Florentine: Documenting the mixed ancestry babies at the Innocenti in the second half of the fifteenth century

Thursday 17 November - 5:15pm, The Treehouse

This engaging talk will be led by Dr Kate Lowe. 

Celebrate Black History Month with the Library

The University Library is celebrating Black History Month this October. There will be a pinboard curated by the YUSU BAME Network in the Morrell Lounge. We are also inviting any suggestions for new titles relating to the history, achievements and contributions of Black people that you'd like us to add to our collections - fill in this purchase form with a note 'Black History Month'. You might also be interested to look through our online Black Lives Matter reading list, part of our Your Library, Your Voice initiative, and the guides that were produced by our student interns: Reimagining Africa and Challenging Perceptions: being anti-racist.

Watch again

We have a series of recordings from previous Black History Month, and other related awareness day events, that are available for you to watch again:

Groups and networks

University-based groups and networks

Local groups

National groups


Our Let's talk about race and racism web page directs you to information and resources to help all members of our community better understand what it is like to experience racism, how to support those who experience racism and what the University is doing to progress its anti-racism work.

Union Black: Britain's Black cultures and steps to anti-racism - is a online course provided by Santander Universities in partnership with The Open University, and is freely available to all staff and students in UK Universities.

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680