Author Archive

IBAR UCLan » Women’s Spring: Feminism, Nationalism and Civil disobedience conferenc

Angela Davis, painted portrait IMG_6929004, April 10, 2013 | © Courtesy of Thierry Ehrmann.


Review by Lauren Velvick, representing Preston Black History Group


On the 22nd and 23rd of June I was lucky to be able to attend the annual conference organised by the Institute for Black Atlantic Research at the University of Central Lancashire. This year’s conference was titled ‘Women’s Spring: Feminism, Nationalism and Civil Disobedience’ and invited contributions reflecting on struggles for women’s rights around the world, particularly how art, music, fiction and other forms of culture have contributed to these movements. I am not currently a student or academic and I don’t attend conferences of this kind very often, so it was a real treat to be able to hear about the current research that’s going on in universities from Delhi to Washington.


The first talks that I attended dealt with how the concept of the family relates to how nationality and borders are enforced, with Dr Umut Erel giving a keynote speech titled ‘Black and Migrant Women Challenging Nationalist and Racist Politics of Reproduction’. This talk clearly laid out how a web of changing boundaries meaning that it is often impossible for migrant families to exist and thrive in Britain, with integration ‘always constructed as just out of reach’. Materially, this is exacerbated by the way that adult migrants are left with no recourse to public funds, and are thus forced into destitution, creating a feedback loop of poverty. This can be observed in the recent evictions of Syrian refugees in Glasgow by a private housing company; it seems obvious that people who speak little english, with no contacts and no money, will become homeless or worse if they are evicted, but legally nobody has to do anything if somebodies refugee status is not granted on first hearing.


Dr Erel laid out how this state of affairs arises from the concept of a nation being built on the right to exclude, arguing that the first way to fight back against these injustices that dehumanise people in need is to challenge the current policy of ‘no recourse to public funds’ for migrants.


Next I sat in on the ‘Women’s movements in India’ panel which gave a fascinating and vital insight into political and feminist struggles there, but speakers were careful to point out how the lived realities of women differ greatly between the affluent and the poverty-stricken, and should not be homogenised in an attempt to understand the country as a whole.


Particularly interesting to me was Dr Namrata Ravichandra Ganneri’s talk on the women who organised as part of the right wing All India Hindu Mahila Mahasabha party, raising the question of how we can responsibly biographise right wing women as part of feminism. This is something that we must grapple with in Britian as well, given that our only two female Prime Ministers were and are on the right, but experienced the same structural sexism as everyone else, if in different ways as members of the political elite.


The final Keynote that I was able to attend that day was from Prof. Cathy Cohen who advocated for naming the problems that we face, and naming them repeatedly. This emphasis on the power of naming brings to mind Lubaina Himid’s ‘Naming the Money’ series which have been displayed in various museums around the UK this year.


Cohen paid particular attention to ‘the margins of blackness’, criticising the erasure of queer black radicality from narratives of resistance in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. She also draw attention to our tendency to politically scapegoat, rather than address issues, which can lead to white people only addressing their own marginalisation through right wing figureheads. Cohen ended by affirming the importance of working with what the people in our communities can bring, rather than expecting people to be perfect political subjects, and to build resilience by rolling with the changes and shocks that arise within resistance movements.

Lifetime achievement award for city’s Clinton Smith in honour of his dedication to equality in Preston

Clinton collecting his award.

A campaigner and volunteer from Preston has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his selfless dedication to equality in the city.

Clinton Smith was awarded the Lifetime Community Achievement Award at the 2018 Fusion Awards held in Blackburn.

As chairman of the Preston Black History Group, the 67-year-old widened the group’s outlook to support racial tolerance and celebrate diversity in Preston.

Clinton said: “Every so often in life out of the blue comes a really ‘feel good moment’ – for me this is one of those moments.

“In life you choose to carry out certain actions because you have the ability to do so for the benefit of others and the community within which you live and work.”

Clinton, who has worked in maintenance for the Prison Service for 19 years, added: “Preston has changed considerably over the years in terms of its communities and race relations.

“I am pleased to live in a city where we have such a large mix of nationalities and ethnicities all coexisting together in a small shared space.

“The positives for the future in my opinion are that so many of the groups are engaged in conversations together laying the foundation for future generations.”

At the awards ceremony, Clinton thanked Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid and University of Central Lancashire professor Alan Rice for their time and advice.

Black troops were welcome in Britain, but Jim Crow wasn’t: the race riot of one night in June 1943

Black American GIs stationed in Britain during the war, these in Bristol, were given a warm welcome by their hosts but treated harshly by their white US Army comrades. brizzlebornandbred, CC BY-NC-SA

Here is a link to an interesting article by Prof Alan Rice – PBHG’s partner in Academia.

Alan has published widely in African American Studies, Transatlantic Cultural Studies and also in Ethnic Studies. His latest monograph project Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool University Press) was published in 2010 and was written with the help of an AHRC research grant. The paperback edition was launched in April 2012 at the International Slavery Museum and the event with live jazz can be viewed here.

Sunday 21 October – Digging Deep – Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage, National Narratives from around the UK

Sunday 21st October 2018
Jalgos Sports and Social Club,
Rose St, Preston PR1 3XY
Exhibition opens 4.30pm
Guest Speaker: Norma Gregory 5.15pm

Norma Gregory, Historian

Norma Gregory (1969-) was born in Nottingham and is a historian of African Caribbean
experiences, in relation to the British context. She has a passion for oral history, photography
and publishing and uses creative media as a way of sharing with others, new insights and
undiscovered heritage.
• St Mary’s University, Twickenham London (BA Hons. English Literature/Language
with Theology & Religious Studies)
• UCL Institute of Education, University of London (MA. Effective Learning / Pedagogy)
• University of Nottingham (PGCE/GTP Certificate in Education, Secondary English)
• Liverpool John Moores University (Post. Grad Certificate in Learning Mentoring)
• College of North East London (CONEL) Radio & Print Journalism (City & Guilds) 1996,
(Awarded in 1997) Distinction.
For over twenty-seven years, Norma has researched and produced quality, heritage-related
educational materials, helping to develop, expand and enrich available heritage as well as
helping to address misrepresentations of history.
From print to broadcast media, publications, exhibitions, displays and memorials, Norma has
also conducted talks and presentations to enhance public knowledge, regarding the inclusion
and celebration of diverse histories within mainstream settings.
Through her social enterprise and as director of Nottingham News Centre CIC, founded in
2013 (see, Norma regularly sponsors and supports events
and activities that promote heritage, education, inclusion and equality for all.
“I believe that it is through education, that I have had the chance to become the woman I am
supposed to be, dedicating my life to improving and advancing education through heritage
and inclusive knowledge transfer, thus helping to promote inclusion and a deeper
understanding for all. Thank you.”


Lancashire Science Festival 28th-30th June 2018

Lancashire Science Festival is back with a bang and this year’s public programme is set to be bigger and better than ever before. Join us for our Family Day on Saturday 30 June to enjoy a spectacular showcase of the wonders of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and more. Our action-packed programme is taking place on the University of Central Lancashire’s Preston Campus between 9.00am and 5.00pm. We are pleased to announce that our public programme remains free of charge and open to all. Check out some of our amazing shows, workshops and drop-in sessions.

PBHG will be there – please come and join us!

Preston Standing Together Against Racism – Community Event

Date Saturday 24 March 2018
Time 11:00am – 1:00pm
Location Preston Flag Market, Cheapside, Preston, PR1 2PP
Cost Free

Organisations from Preston are hosting the 5th annual free event to show their commitment to community cohesion and tackling racism.

Part of the Lancashire Commonwealth Celebrations 2018, this event will mark the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Commonwealth.

The Community Day will be a chance to celebrate Preston’s unique characteristics of the city’s long tradition of tolerance and respect for all its citizens and visitors.

Come along and enjoy the free performances and music from various local artists, as well as stalls housing numerous organisations providing information.

The Standing Together Against Racism event is organised by Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council, Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, the University of Central Lancashire, UCLAN Creative Communities Group, the Black and Minority Ethnic Forum and have the support of a wide range of community groups.

IBAR Conference – Women’s Spring: Feminism, Nationalism and Civil Disobedience

Upcoming conference organised by IBAR in partnership with: Collegium for African American Research (CAAR),  50.50, the Cornelia Goethe Center (Goethe University, Frankfurt); International Development and Inclusive Innovation, Strategic Research Area (The Open University), De Gruyter Open.

The conference has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 706741 and from CAAR. 

21-23 June 2018, University of Central Lancashire, Preston,

Details Here

Keynote speakers (confirmed):

  • Prof. Cathy J. Cohen, The University of Chicago;
  • Dr Umut Erel, International Development and Inclusive Innovation, Sociology Department and International Development and Inclusive Innovation (The Open University);
  • Prof. Lubaina Himid, 2017 Turner Prize Winner, University of Central Lancashire;
  • Prof. Dr. Helma Lutz, the Cornelia Goethe Center at Goethe University, Frankfurt;
  • Prof. Ewa Mazierska, University of Central Lancashire;
  • Prof. Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside; Loughborough University London
  • Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters;
  • Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London.
  • Lara Whyte, Open Democracy.

LUBAINA HIMID: HARD TIMES Art Exhibition at Harris Preston by Preston’s Turner Prize winning Artist, Lubaina Himid 2 March – 3 June 2018

Preston Black History Group members are excited to be involved in the advisory group for Lubaina’s exhibition. We are doing our best to make it as accessible as possible and hope you will make the trip to visit this enjoyable and thought provoking exhibition. There are a series of events planned alongside the exhibition, see the Harris website for details

The Harris Says:

We are delighted to be showing an exhibition of the work of The 2017 Turner Prize winner and Preston-based artist Professor Lubaina Himid MBE.  

The Harris has had a long relationship with Lubaina, showing her work on a number of occasions including most recently Moments that Matter (2012).

Lubaina has chosen the title Hard Times with reference to Charles Dickens’ novel, inspired by his visit to Preston during the workers’ Lock-out of 1853.

Happy Birthday Phil

Spectrum Association gave Phil the best birthday party – PBHG were there to help him celebrate. Nadine made chicken and rice, Clinton provided fried plantain and Bernie and Andy made saltfish fritters as well as a lovely spread of sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls. What a treat!!

Mel made a fabulous birthday cake with a real Carnival feel to it.

The ‘boss man’ was in his element.

PBHG slideshow review of 2017

Here’s our review of 2017 – a great year!