BPL Talks: Her-story, His-story, Our story – Black History Month at @UCL with @UCLU_BMESO

Thousands of students embark on a new phase of their lives this week as they begin or return to university and I too will soon be rekindling my student days, as I participate in and enjoy the offering of the second Black History Month celebrations organised by the University College London Union’s Black and Minority Ethnic representation.

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Kicking off on the 2nd of October, the jam packed programme seeks to celebrate the lives of all Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students, staff, alumni and local residence, taking a introspective look at the past, present and the future for people of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent within and affected by the academic community.

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A range of topics and themes will be explored – from race and Eugenics to Intersectionality and the Woman of Colour – alongside comedy, museum tours and film, there truly is something for everybody. Click here to view the list of events – tickets are available for the general public – but be quick, a number of events are already fully subscribed!)

It is heartening to see UCL and the Union embrace Black History month – UCL boasts that just over a third of the student population identifies themselves as BME, thus recognising this time is important to these students and also provides the opportunity for dialogue and conversation between students of all backgrounds.

Also, being located in the heart of the city UCL actively serves a diverse community – primarily through University College Hospital (UCH) – which is adjacent to the university and is closely associated with the institution. With 665 in-patient beds, 12 operating theatres and the largest single critical care unit in the NHS, the hospital and university play a major role in the health and well being of all Londoners!

Lastly, despite the number of students of a BME background attending a leading university rising over the years, it has been shown that White university students at English universities receive significantly higher degree grades than their peers from minority ethnic backgrounds with the same entry qualifications according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The report found that 72% of white students who have grades BBB at A-level went on to gain a first or upper second-class degree, compared with only 56% of Asian students and 53% of black students. Statistics such as this, alongside the fact that out of 18,510 professors in the UK only 85 are of a Black origin and only 10 of these professors are women means that there is still much work to be done to redress the balance of representation in the academic field.

Heidi Mirza, Professor of Race, Faith and Culture at Goldsmiths University is one of these few Black female professors.

Heidi Mirza - Image Source: http://www.gold.ac.uk

Heidi Mirza – Image Source: http://www.gold.ac.uk

Earlier in the year. UCL hosted a lecture called ‘Why Isn’t My Professor Black?’, which gathered a collective of academics, thought leaders and members of the UCL community to share and discuss this pertinent issue.

You can watch the lecture below.

As I continually state with regards to the beauty industry – change will come through conversation and communication, so these discussions are a must! Having benefited incredibly from an education from UCL, I am now committed to ensuring others have the chance to do the same and to see such institutions represent the BME community all levels!

For my beauty enthusiasts and beauty entrepreneurs, I do want to highlight that on the 15th of October a Health and Beauty Market Day will be held to enhance ones health and to explore Black Beauty. I will be doing my thing on this day of course!!

The famous UCL Quad

The famous UCL Quad

The famous UCL quad will be transformed into a colourful bazaar. One can discover natural, organic and handmade products, henna and hair braiding stalls as well as finding out information about diabetes, sickle cell, blood donation and donor matching. There will be a number of workshops in the afternoon and I will be running a 30 minute session on the Basics of Beauty Branding and the Ethnic Beauty Opportunity! More details about the day will be published soon, so I will certainly keep you updated! The Market Day is hoping to attract visitors from across the academic and the surrounding business and public community.

In the mean time, the Union is seeking beauty businesses and services who would like to connect with the UCL community and showcase their wares! For just £15 you can secure a stall for the day. This is a fantastic opportunity – all sales made on the day will be yours to keep – and you will begin to build your database with the professionals of tomorrow! You will also benefit from:

Publicity in the Market Day booklet which will include a short description of your company, your logo and contact details. An electronic version of the booklet will be advertised on the university student website.

The events will also be advertised through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Eventbrite and local press.

For more information click here – but hurry – there are only 10 spaces remaining!

I hope to see you there!

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