Category: black history month, Arts Council England, Digital Inclusion, BAME community, 8th October, Creative Lowdown, Black talent and culture, Digital Culture Awards, Digital Culture Network, Black artistry, Poetry Africa, Obsidian Foundation, Diversity in jazz programming, Black Cultural Exchange Project, Young Gifted & Black Festival, Black experience in the UK
It’s Black History Month, and so we’re landing in your inboxes this week with an extra special edition of the Creative Lowdown.
This month is an important reminder of the huge impact that Black talent and culture has on creativity across the country and further afield. Lots of organisations and people are hosting events and activities to mark Black History Month this October, and we’re pleased to be bringing you a selection of these. We’ve got podcasts, spoken word performances and much more - there really is something for everyone!
If you’re organising a creative event or activity, we want to hear about it! Just enter the details in this easy form for your chance to be featured in a future Creative Lowdown
Good to know
Introducing the Digital Culture Awards
We’re teaming up with our Digital Culture Network to present the Digital Culture Awards! Entries are now open, so we’re on the hunt for the very best in digital transformation, digital engagement, and use of technology in arts and culture in England to enter into one of eight categories, including Digital Inclusion, Data Driven and Emerging Digital Leaders.
Have a project you want to enter? Head to the Digital Culture Network website to learn more about how to submit, the categories and to meet our Judges.
London Film Festival: Expanded
Step into a new dimension of storytelling with LFF Expanded, an unmissable programme of Immersive Art and Extended Reality (XR) at the BFI London Film Festival 2021 - presented virtually worldwide and across multiple venues around London’s South Bank 6-17 October.
We’re really thrilled to see some of the work we’ve supported through our Creative XR programme with Digital Catapult featured in the festival!
Creative things to see and do
Incredible spoken word and live music
Vocals and Verses. Streatham Space Project. Anjelo Disons. Photo © Jordan Ndawula.
10 October | Streatham, London
Join Streatham Space Project for the Vocals & Verses: Black History Month Special – a night dedicated to black artistry and talent in the diaspora. They’ve got an incredible line-up in store of poets and singers, all accompanied by a live band. The Vocals & Verses stage has been graced by some exciting acts who have gone on to experience mainstream success, including JP Cooper, George The Poet and Ray BLK. Quality artistry is guaranteed, and you may even see a rising star!
Live panel discussions at Poetry Africa 2021
11-16 October | Online
The Poetry Archive has teamed up with Poetry Africa to bring you a session with poet Adrian B Earle. The live panel discussion will consider the importance of protecting legacy and being aware of poetic lineages, with input from T. S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Roger Robinson; poet Rachel Long, founder of the Octavia Poetry Collective; and poet Nick Makoha, founder of the Obsidian Foundation. Join Adrian for a zoom into the recent developments in poetry by Black writers, their challenges and successes, as they look forward to the future.
Diversity in Jazz programming
12 October | Online
Join Jazz North and Northern Jazz Promoters for a session to discuss diversity in jazz programming. Roger Wilson from Black Lives in Music will be leading an open discussion, followed by a Q&A. The session is free and will be taking place online. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss ideas and share experiences to make real change in the industry.
EVEWRIGHT Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories. Evewright Studio all rights reserved 2021
16 October | Tilbury, Essex
Enjoy a guided tour with artist EVEWRIGHT, the creator of Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories - an outdoor site-specific art and sound installation at Tilbury Port Essex commemorating the lives of people from the Windrush Generation. Learn about the installation and hear stories about the lives of people whose photographs and documents are exhibited.
Settle Stories & Usifu Jalloh
20 October | Online
Settle Stories, home of the world’s largest free online storytelling festival, Yorkshire Festival of Story, is offering primary schools and families the chance to harness the power and importance of Black History Month with a specially- commissioned digital storytelling performance. The project will feature international multi-award winning storyteller Usifu Jalloh, who will take KS1 and KS2 children on a journey into Black culture using the transformative power of African storytelling. The recording will be available afterwards until the end of the month.
The James Berry Poetry Prize 2021 reading
28 October | Online
This year, the inaugural NCLA James Berry Poetry Prize competition took place from 1 April to 31 July, designed to assist emerging poets of colour ready to take their work to the next level through mentoring and publication. Join the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts on Thursday 28 October to hear the three competition winners! The winning poets receive £1,000, expert mentoring and a debut collection published with one of our National Portfolio Organisations, Bloodaxe Books.
Community Curators Exhibition: Black Lives Matter Too!
Until 29 October | Leicester
Hosted at The Y and presented by Opal22, this community exhibition has given members of the local Leicester community the opportunity to share their lived experiences of racism and racial inequality. It aims to illustrates the personal impact racism has and hopes to start conversations by providing a safe space to share and listen.
Black Cultural Exchange Project
Weekly throughout October | Online
To coincide with Black History Month, Leeds-based RJC Dance has launched the Black Cultural Exchange Project. Throughout October, they will be releasing a short film each week featuring celebrated Black artists from the region. The initiative, funded by Leeds Inspired, includes spoken word and storytelling, poetry, art, music, Black history and dance. An inspiring collection of work for children, young people and families, the series of films are free for everyone to access, via the RJC Dance website.
Celebrate Jamaican music
Throughout October | Multiple UK locations
Experience the legacy of Jamaican music at the Great Jamaican Songbook Tour, with seven concerts taking place across the UK to promote and celebrate Jamaican music and its influence on British society. The tour will visit venues and areas with limited exposure to the Jamaican legacy of jazz and reggae, with Cleveland and his band bringing to life some of the greatest songs written by Jamaican legends. Coming to Komedia in Brighton on the 25 October 2021.
Black History Month at Phoenix
Throughout October | Leicester
To mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Blaxploitation genre, Leicester’s Phoenix have partnered with Serendipity to showcase four ground-breaking Blaxploitation titles each Wednesday throughout October. Featured films include Shaft (1971), Foxy Brown (1974), Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Blacula (1972). Pop down to Phoenix and enjoy all four films in the season to receive discounted tickets.
Pen-Ting South, Theatre Pekcham
Until 6 November | Peckham, London
Returning for its third year, Young Gifted & Black Festival by Theatre Peckham features theatre, poetry, and film all held over Black History Month with the aim to highlight the nuances of the Black experience in the UK. Join in the wide range of events, such as an audience-led poetry show, Search Party with Inua Ellams. You can even warm up your vocal chords for open mic night, Pen-Ting: South.
Mary Evans' Saints and Saviours installation image at John Hansard Gallery, 2021
Until 6 November | Southampton
Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery is marking Black History Month with a new installation from Mary Evans that pays homage to the rich migratory history of Southampton and its people. Titled Saints and Saviours, site-specific installations reflect on the experiences and impact of emigration, while looking to question ideas around representation, cultural change and globalisation, and can be found both at the gallery itself and Marlands Shopping Centre.
I Matter exhibition
Until 28 November | Peterborough
Artist and Curator, Olu Taiwo, has curated an exhibition called I Matter, formed of the work of fifteen artists from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and communities respondsing to the powerful declaration, "I Matter" and its recent iterations.
Olu took part in the Babylon Young Curators Programme in 2020/21; a year-long professional development opportunity for young people aged 18 – 25.
Podcast series with acclaimed writers
Ongoing | Online
The Amplify Project is a new podcast series with Black British writers, hosted by fellow writers Patricia Cumper and Pauline Walker. Telling us about themselves, their work and what inspires them, the series includes interviews with acclaimed authors, poets and playwrights such as Alex Wheatle, Diana Evans, Nick Makoha and Juliet Gilkes Romero. Now available to listen on Spotify, Google Podcasts, PlayerFM, Podchaser, Deezer.