Page:Black History Month


What is Black History Month?

Black History Month in the UK celebrates the achievements of black people and communities in the UK, and globally.

Originally started in the United States by an influential black historian to publicise the accomplishments of African Americans, this annual event looks to raise awareness, educate and encourage further research into black history.


What’s happening for Black History Month 2018?

This year events will be taking place nationally and locally with Sheffield Students’ Union keen to mark this important month. Look out for film screenings, speaker events and much more across Sheffield.

Recent movements in Britain have started to explore the issue that the history that we are taught in schools, or learn through the media is disproportionately focused on white people. Black communities, particularly in Britain, are often excluded from the narratives, and the accomplishments of black people throughout history are ignored or forgotten.

Black History Month is a step towards addressing this. It is a month where we are encouraged to question the history that we have been taught and its domination by white, European men. As recent works by Reni Eddo-Lodge and David Olusoga have highlighted, the history of black people in Britain, and indeed the British Empire, is significant, enlightening, and incredibly relevant.



Black History Month 2018

Pop Tarts

Spotlight on Black History Month

6th October: 23:30 - 03:30, Foundry, Sheffield Students' Union

Tickets online or via the SU Box Office

To help kick off black history month Pop Tarts will be delving into the wealth of incredible black artists that have dominated pop music throughout the decades. Expect to hear Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, James Brown, Donna Summer, Kanye, Prince, Whitney Houston and many more blasting through the Foundry speakers!


Bar One Quiz

7th October: 21:00-23:00, Bar One, Sheffield Students’ Union

Free Entry

The Bar One Quiz will be asking questions about Black History Month - including creative, picture & music rounds with a top prize of £50 to be won!


Film Unit and Women’s Committee presents:

The Watermelon Woman

10th October: 19:30 - 21:15, Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Sheffield Students’ Union (level 2)

£3.00 - tickets from Students’ Union Box Office

After watching a number of 1930s films featuring black actresses who were often uncredited, wannabe filmmaker Cheryl decides to make a documentary about the lives of these women, focusing on one in particular, known simply as “The Watermelon Woman”. Going deeper to discover more about her, Cheryl’s relationship with her filmmaking partner Tamara starts to fracture, putting the project at risk. The first feature film to be directed by a black lesbian, namely Cheryl Dunye, who also plays her namesake, The Watermelon Woman is a historic milestone in cinema which explores an interesting-yet-uncovered topic. It features great acting from its leads, as well as humorous dialogue which gives the movie an energy and light-heartedness not often found in films of its sort.

Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish):

On Race, Identity and Belonging

In collaboration with Our Mel, Festival of Debate, The University of Sheffield BAME Staff Network and Sheffield Students' Union, part of MelaninFest – Sheffield’s Black History Month Festival

18th October: 18:30 - 19:30, Lecture Theatre 1, The Diamond, The University of Sheffield

Tickets free, available here

Join Afua Hirsch for a discussion on her Sunday Times Bestseller, Brit(ish).

Brit(ish) is about a search for identity. It is about the everyday racism that plagues British society. It is about our awkward, troubled relationship with our history. It is about why liberal attempts to be ‘colour-blind’ have caused more problems than they have solved. It is about why we continue to avoid talking about race.

In this personal and provocative investigation, Afua Hirsch explores a very British crisis of identity. We are a nation in denial about our past and our present. We believe we are the nation of abolition, but forget we are the nation of slavery. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values, but that immigration is one of our problems. Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and an urgent call for change.

This event will be chaired by Desiree Reynolds, journalist, author and a trustee of Racial Justice Network.


Film Unit present:

The BlacKkKlansman

20th October: 15:30 - 18:00 or 19:30 - 22:00, Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Sheffield Students’ Union (level 2)

£3.00 - tickets from Students’ Union Box Office

Giving a snapshot of race issues in 1970s America, BlacKkKlansman is an autobiographical film about an African-American police officer who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. Set from the point of view of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the film shows him attempting to destroy the organisation by becoming head of the local chapter, with the help of Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who plays Stallworth when he meets face-to-face with the Klan. This film manages to be hugely entertaining, whilst simultaneously delivering hard-hitting social commentary that can be linked to today’s political climate. A must-see for any fans of Spike Lee’s previous work, or producer Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

Sheffield Students’ Union presents:

Scratchylus as part of the Black History Month Windrush University UK Tour

21st October: 16:00-18:00, The Raynor Lounge, Sheffield Students’ Union (level 4)

The theme for this year's Black History Month is the 70th anniversary of the Windrush. Award winning artist Scratchylus will be visiting Universities and colleges with his educational and inspirational songs in particular his brand new releases which he has been promoting all summer in the UK called 'Windrush Generations' featuring the Legendary KiddusI from the iconic movie Rockers and Rebel' featuring Barry Ford which also covers Windrush and Grenfell. Receiving coverage from BBC Radio London, ITV News and having featured in this year’s Notting Hill Carnival and International Reggae Ska One Love Festival. Come along for an afternoon of incredible music and a Q and A on Windrush.


‘Sheffield SU BME Committee’ - Get Involved

24th October: 17:30-19:00, View Room 6, Sheffield Students’ Union (level 4)

Want to run events and campaigns like Black History Month? Want to represent BME students and make change in the SU, University and beyond? Get involved in Sheffield SU BME Committee. Full staff support and budget provided. Develop new skills, meet new people, make change. Find the event here or email

Ask Your University

Does my University represent me?

25th October: 17:30 - 19:30, Uni Central, Students’ Union building (level 4)

Free pizza

A chance for you to have an active say on the big issues on campus. Ask senior University decision makers your questions on race equity, de-colonising the curriculum and Brexit. Free pizza.


BME Committee - Get Involved

Campaign, Represent. Influence. Educate. Be the voice of our BME students. Want to run events and campaigns like Black History Month? Want to represent BME students and make change in the SU, University and beyond? Get involved in Sheffield SU BME Committee. Full staff support and budget provided. Develop new skills, meet new people, make change.


Our Mel

Sheffield Students’ Union is proud to be partnering with Our Mel for Black History Month 2018. Rooted in Yorkshire and based in Sheffield, Our Mel is a leading social enterprise dedicated to exploring cultural identity, Black history and what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today.

Inspired by two local lasses on a journey of self-love, Our Mel was born in November 2016 over a pack of caramel biscuits and a cup of tea, Yorkshire of course.


Make a Zine, Make A Difference COMPETITION!

Make an Alternative Guide to Personal Tutoring and win a £50 voucher for each member of your team and have the opportunity to share your creation across the University.

The RARA project is a national research project, which is looking at why attainment gaps exist in higher education for students from BME (black and minority ethnic) groups and lower-socio economic backgrounds – compared with their peers. We want to explore whether enhancing personal tutoring could help to close these gaps see here.

The University want you to make an alternative guide to personal tutoring – a guide for students, by students – and have the opportunity for this to be shared across the whole university. The guide could look at questions like:
What is the role of a personal tutor?
What can your personal tutor help with?
What do you do if your personal tutor isn’t available?

Attainment gaps should not exist, and we want to find a way to close them, but we need help from you - the students. By participating in this competition you can really make a difference! ​

To enter, all you have to do is make an alternative guide in the form of a zine* or poster and complete the simple application form on the RARA website.

*a Zine is a small magazine that is typically made from folding an A4 piece of paper to produce a small 6-8 page booklet

All zines/posters entered into the competition will be shortlisted by a panel of judges, and the winner(s) will be chosen in December. Enter as an individual or as a team – do your own thing, or join with friends to put together a joint effort. (Max 4 people – each member receives £50 if the panel selects your zine.)

If you want help designing your guide or developing the content, then come along to a workshop:
Wednesday 10 October – 5-6.30pm
Tuesday 16 October – 4.15-5.45pm
Monday 22 October – 4.15-5.45pm