Black History Month 2021: What's on in Barking and Dagenham

File photo 22/06/1948 of Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Offic

Jamaican immigrants welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury in 1948. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The culture, history and achievements of black, African and Caribbean people in the UK is being celebrated in Barking and Dagenham and around the country this month.

As part of Black History Month (BHM) in October, the town hall and local arts, cultural and community organisations are putting on a programme of free events and activities both online and in person.

Councillor Sade Bright, cabinet member for employment, skills and aspirations and member development at Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “Our diversity is what makes Barking and Dagenham a wonderful and unique place to live, work and enjoy.”

Councillor Sade Bright, the cabinet member for employment, skills and aspiration. Picture: LBBD

Councillor Sade Bright, the cabinet member for employment, skills and aspiration. - Credit: Andreas Grieger / LBBD

Here are some of the highlights in this borough:

Black History: Past, Present and Future
October 14, 1pm-9pm 
Broadway Theatre, Barking 


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Join authors, artists, musicians and influential speakers for an afternoon and evening of panel discussions, artwork, poetry and performances. 

Hear about the history of African music, artistry and traditions, with a focus on how these continue to influence contemporary culture and society today. 

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Small Cures: A Healing Reading with Della Hicks-Wilson
October 19, 7pm-8pm
Online

In the vein of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, bestselling poet Della Hicks-Wilson will perform a selection of poems from her debut collection Small Cures to the soothing sounds of hip-hop jazz.   

She will also discuss her writing process and the road from posting to publishing Small Cures, which is her book-length ode to self-love and a Stylist magazine Best Summer Read 2020.

Launch of The Library Sessions with Soul and Sound
October 22, time TBD
Valence Library Arts and Culture Hub, Dagenham

Led by Soul and Sound, The Library Sessions is a showcase of young, up-and-coming talent from the borough and across London and the UK.

During the sessions, singers, instrumentalists and spoken-word artists will perform to members of the community as well as an online audience and fan base.

A team of students will take full control of key areas of production.

East End Women’s Museum presents Black Women in East London 
October 22, 11am-4pm
Location TBC

A family-friendly day of talks and activities hosted by East End Women’s Museum, which will be opening a site in Barking next year.

There will be a focus on people such as Phillis Wheatley, the first published black female poet, and Annie Brewster, one of the earliest identified nurses of African descent working in London, and an opportunity for attendees to share their own stories.

Chocolate Workshop with Cocoa Social Enterprise CIC 
October 23, 10am and 2pm sessions
Everyone Everyday, The Warehouse, Barking

Make your own chocolate while discovering its history and the benefits of eating dark chocolate in an interactive learning environment.

People can take home the chocolates they make on the day.

ARTiculate the Journey 
October 23, 5pm-9pm 
Everyone Everyday, The Warehouse, Barking

An interactive and social painting event exploring the theme of “journey”.

Vibe to music, get inspired with some spoken word and discuss the journey taken by black people throughout history.

Colonial Countryside
October 26, 7pm - 8.30pm
Online

This talk will explore the connections Eastbury Manor House and Valence House had to colonial activity and the transatlantic slave trade, and discuss how new writing could respond and make sense of this legacy.

It features contributions from heritage properties manager and historian Lisa Rigg, family historian and author Paul Crooks, former volunteer at Eastbury and history graduate Tobi Oluwe and postcolonial literature author Corinne Fowler.

Creating Stories with Janette Parris
October 27, 6pm-7.30pm
Online

In this workshop with contemporary artist Janette Parris, participants will develop a method of how to divide story concepts into manageable comic strip frames and focus on how to create comic or comic strip stories.

Janette shares the reasons behind her style of working and her experiences of being a black female artist.

Visit https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/black-history-month for the full programme and more information, including how to book.

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