Black History Month 2023 (BHM23) has truly been phenomenal! During October, we’ve had the privilege of hosting 15 extraordinary events that celebrated the rich culture of the Black Community. We hope this month has shone a light on Black creativity, heritage and achievement and the incredible work that goes on in the city all year round.
WoW’s BHM23 programme was part of the wider Liverpool Black History Month and we took immense pride in commissioning other cultural organisations across the city to create an impressive programme for all. Thanks’ goes to Liverpool’s City Fund for making these commissions possible.
We explored the link between Slavery and St. George’s Church, Everton, featuring Malik Al Nasir, who recently made headlines when he exposed the Sandbach Tinne family’s ties to the slave trade. Malik also delved into his book, Letters to Gil, which documents his incredible journey with the legendary Gil Scott-Heron. We creatively explored late Leroy Cooper’s photography with a writing workshop led by Levi Tafari and engaged in a thought-provoking discussion on What is Antiracism and Why it Means Anticapitalism with Arun Kundnani. We welcomed Taylor-Dior Rumble to Liverpool to discuss her #Merkey books publication, The Situationship, and were honoured to host, in partnership with Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre, Professor Gus John for discussions on his new titles, Blazing Trails and Don’t Salvage the Empire Windrush. Additionally, we welcomed back friends of WoW, Stephen Small and Tayo Aluko, to discuss Marika Sherwood’s book exploring Pastor Daniels Ekarte’s life and his profound impact on Liverpool’s Black Community.
Our BHM23 programme also featured three remarkable walking tours: “Great War to Race Riots,” which explored the tragic murder of Charles Wotton and its social and political backdrop; the “Eric Lynch Memorial Tour,” dedicated to the Liverpool-born historian and activist who educated people about the city’s connections to the slave trade; and the “Dorothy Kuya Walking Tour”, offering insights into Black British history and this lifelong activist.
We are proud to share that 9 out of our 15 events were directly linked to WoW’s year-round projects. Notably, Lenoisha Barley, who started as a participant in our Write to Work programme, presented her play, Deported in a Windrush, to a sold-out audience and led a workshop for our BHM23 Write to Work bootcamp. We also held the final for the Flashback Competition in partnership with National Museums Liverpool, which delved into the rich history of Canning Dock and for our final event, we explored diverse characters and stories in children’s literature with our Superheroes!
Black history isn’t limited to October. Writing on the Wall are committed to celebrating Black heritage and creativity through our Festival programming and through our year-round programmes including; Creative Heritage Projects such the Dorothy Kuya Archive, WoWFEST: Class of ’23, Write to Work, Pulp Idol 2024 and Its No Joke.
We are profoundly grateful to be surrounded by talented writers, artists, staff, volunteers, trustees, businesses, cultural organisations, venues, project participants, and audiences. Your support and enthusiasm have made BHM23 an unforgettable and inspiring experience.
A huge thank you to our funders and sponsors, including Culture Liverpool, the Mayor’s City Fund, Liverpool City Council, Arts Council England, The British Council, Institute of Creative Enterprise at Edge Hill University European Social Fund. Without their generous support, our BHM23 programme would not have been possible.
Thank you to Poke Marketing for their exceptional design work and our skilled photographers, Zaki Grant (@caseusphoto) and Ahmed Nadi, for capturing for capturing unforgettable moments throughout the event’s.
WoW’s Black History Month programme was featured on:
BBC North West Tonight – 25/10/2023 – Great War to Race Riots Walking Tour