Akala kicks off Black History month with events taking place throughout Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 15:46 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:46 05 October 2020

Akala, the MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, will talk about his best-selling book 'Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire'. Picture: Paul Husband.

Akala, the MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, will talk about his best-selling book 'Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire'. Picture: Paul Husband.

Paul Husband Photography

A best selling author will kick off Black History month with an online keynote speech at the University of Hertfordshire.

Khaliya Lewis, Chrysalis. Picture: UoHKhaliya Lewis, Chrysalis. Picture: UoH

Sunday Times bestseller Akala has rescheduled his talk, which the Music of Black Origin award-winning hip-hop artist had to cancel an event at the start of the pandemic, and will now open the Hatfield-based uni’s Black History Month.

He will also be talking about his book ‘Natives’, which shows how race, class and the legacies of empire shape life in Britain today.

Pro-vice chancellor for education and student experience Dr Mairi Watson said she was “excited” that even more people could take part online – with over 400 registrations – than could be possible with in-person events.

Dr Watson also added that the university is working on its attainment gap and the work the institution has done with its majority BAME students to embrace inclusiveness on campus.

An exhibition by Black artists in the University of Hertfordshire Art Collection is also running simultaneously to the October events.

It explores the work of alumni Khaliya Lewis, Mary LuaLua, Zoe Lynch and Vusumuzi Michael Mlamb, who have come up with four pieces from sculpture to wood relief that are available to view online.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is also organising its own events in celebration of Black History Month, and is screening three films which reveal the true stories of the amazing achievements of individuals from the Black community against the backdrop of racial prejudice.

These include Hidden Figures, Selma and Green Book – with screenings at Campus West taking place across various days this month.

To coincide with this work, Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service is also asking for help uncovering the hidden stories of the Black community living and working in Welwyn Hatfield so that these experiences can be better represented in the Museum’s collections and work.

For more on this project please go here millgreenmuseum.co.uk/virtual-exhibits/hidden-stories or tag the museum service on social media.

Information on the Uni of Herts events are available here with some available to the public and many aimed at school pupils and students

For more on Black History month in the UK see here blackhistorymonth.org.uk.

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