From poetry and improv, to live music and community action, celebrate Black history and culture at these Black History Month events in Bristol.

Whose gaze? Representation in photography, class, gender, race with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (6 October)

From class and representation, gender and voyeurism, to decolonising histories – this online symposium will delve deeper into the themes explored in the Bristol Photo Festival. Listen to panel discussions and in-conversation sessions questioning photography’s role in these debates.

Black Lives Matter: Readings and Conversation with John Wesley's New Room Bristol (7 October)

Tying in with World Poetry Day, this free online event will introduce you to poets featured in Black Lives Matter – Poems for a New World, an anthology published in November 2020. Poet, writer and historian Dr Edson Burton is the keynote speaker and will be joined for a Q&A by anthology editor Ambrose Musiyiwa and Rev Dr Catherine Okoronkwo, the Bishop of Bristol’s Advisor on Racial Justice.

Dr Edson Burton

Image - Dr Edson Burton

Chineke! Chamber Ensemble at St George's Bristol (8 October)

Members of Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra return to St George’s Bristol for a characteristically wide-ranging concert on 8 October. The evening will feature Schubert's Trout Quintet, popular folk songs by the pioneering African-American composer Florence Price and more. 

Members of the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble holding their instruments

Image - Chineke! Chamber Ensemble

Black and Green Ambassadors for Bristol – Delivering change in an unforgettable year at M Shed (9 October)

Find out about the work and ambitions of Bristol’s Green and Black Ambassadors, including updates from their research into urban green spaces, clean air and cultural diversity. You’ll also hear about how they created a community radio show during a pandemic, and what you’ll see next from this ground-breaking programme.

Do The Right Scene at The Bristol Improv Theatre (16 October)

Head to The Bristol Improv Theatre in Clifton for a night of fast-paced improv from London-based Do The Right Scene, a troupe of talented Black improvisers, sketch performers, stand-ups and character comedians.

Do The Right Scene improv troupe

Image - Do The Right Scene

Gold dust in Black with M Shed (19 October)  

Go on a global adventure from the comfort of your sofa with BLACK* artists on the move. Performances themed around acknowledging the present moment and its historical significance will be streamed from M Shed’s beautiful rear hall as well as from artists in Zambia, Martinique and Mauritius.

Breaking the Silence on the Slave Trade at St Mary's Church Henbury (19 October)

Discover the stories of eighteenth-century Black British abolitionists in this unique immersive theatre show. The show is touring in historic churches with close ties to the slave trade and abolition, in this case St Mary’s Church Henbury where the enslaved African known as Scipio Africanus is buried.

Actor in Breaking the Silence on the Slave Trade

Image - Breaking the Silence on the Slave Trade

Black Poppies in south-west England? Black and Asian experiences during World War One with M Shed (21 October)

What do you know about the participation of African, Chinese, Caribbean and other indigenous peoples in Britain’s war effort? This two-part online talk explores their overlooked contribution. Historian Kent Fedorowich will delve into stories uncovered here in the South West, while Tony T of Sweet Patootee Arts shares perspectives from Black Bristol Caribbean voices.

Early Black Bristolians – evidence in the archives with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (21 October)

This free online talk will introduce the Early Black Presence Index, a new resource bringing together all early references to people of African heritage found in documents at Bristol Archives. City Archivist Allie Dillon will talk through how it was compiled, the glimpses it gives us into the lives of Black Bristolians from the 16th to 19th centuries and also what it doesn’t tell us.

Bristol Festival of Ideas: Bernardine Evaristo at Waterstones (26 October)

Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo joins Nikesh Shukla to talk about her new book Manifesto. Evaristo charts her rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to community and creativity, offering vital insights into the nature of race, class, feminism, sexuality and ageing in modern Britain along the way.  

Bernardine Evaristo

Image - Bernardine Evaristo

Find more events happening in Bristol this autumn and beyond.

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