Black History Month has been recognised in the UK since October 1987. It is a prominent celebration of the contributions of black communities to the cultural, political and economic life in the UK, as well as a way of remembering the struggles and experiences of black people throughout history. In the year that Liverpool elects Mayor Joanne Anderson, the first ever black female UK mayor, the city’s arts, cultural and academic organisations and businesses have curated an impressive line-up of events.

Liverpool’s Black History Month programme boasts our city’s black communities with national and international voices in the form of historians, activists and artists. We have rounded up some of the amazing events happening throughout the month that are not to be missed.

Routes & Roots Festival Liverpool

Music, Theatre and Arts

On Record Merseyside
Curated by Yaw Owusu, The Playmaker Group, and funded by Culture Liverpool, On Record Merseyside champions black music in Liverpool, and brings an exciting programme of activities this Black History Month. The programme features music making, club nights, roundtable discussions, seminars, live performances and workshops. Taking over a variety of venues, this programme showcases just some of the city’s amazing black-owned businesses and creatives.

Where: Various venues and locations
When: Saturday 23 October – Sunday 7 November, Various Times
More info

BlackFest Hip-Hop Dance For All
Based on the theme of ‘protest’, BlackFest’s Hip-Hop Dance For All is a verbatim piece of theatre for social change exploring the right to using your voice and being heard.

Where: Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG
When: Thursday 19th October, 7.30pm
Booking info: Standard tickets are £12 with various concessions available
More info

Out of the Narrow Place: A Ritual For Black Descendants of Slaves
This is a meal, a ritual and a performance work in progress about what it means to be descended from African slaves. Born out of a desire to live fully, despite a painful history, and a difficult present, Artist Aleasha Chaunte is on a quest to create the perfect ritual to heal this most particular kind of pain.

Where: Online
When: Friday 12th- Sunday 14th November, All day
Booking info: Age 14+. This performance is available online for free, or pay what you can.
More info

Routes and Roots – Festival of the African Diaspora
The Routes and Roots Festival, hosted by Katumba and Black & Brown Social Traders Network, is two weeks of free, family-friendly cultural, arts and wellbeing activities throughout Liverpool. The events across the two weeks culminate in the spectacle that is the Katumba Halloween Parade!

Where: Various locations
When: Saturday 16th – Sunday 31st October
Booking info: These events are free to attend, and no booking is necessary.
More info

Black History Month Rosa Johan Uddoh - Practice Makes Perfect Exhibition

Rosa Johan Uddoh – Practice Makes Perfect Exhibition

Museums and Exhibitions

1981 Liverpool 8 Uprisings 40th Anniversary Exhibition
Writing on the Wall and Liverpool Record Office bring you an exhibition remembering the L8 Uprisings in 1981. The exhibition features a selection of documents and sources from the L8 Law Centre Archive, including photographs, contemporary documents and reports of the uprisings, otherwise dubbed as the ‘Toxteth Riots’.

Where: Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW
When: Friday 22nd October – Wednesday 22nd December
Booking info: This is a free exhibition and no booking is necessary.
More info

Black History Month at National Museums Liverpool
Liverpool Museums’ Black History Month events programme includes thought-provoking displays, topical talks and discussions, a series of film screenings and author-led storytelling for children. Focuses include slavery and its abolition, Liverpool 8 and the uprisings, and some of the inspirational black people connected to Liverpool.

Where: Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG
Merseyside Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ
International Slavery Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Village, Lower Road, Port Sunlight, Bebington, Wirral, CH62 5EQ

When: October, various times
Booking info: Free to attend.
More info

Rosa Johan Uddoh – Practice Makes Perfect Exhibition
This exhibition explores the subject of childhood education in Britain. It focuses on how schooling fosters an understanding of British identity, and responds to the debates of Black history education within the National Curriculum. Rosa Johan Uddoh is an inter-disciplinary artist who is inspired by Black feminist practice and writing.

Where: The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX
When: Friday 15th October – Sunday 23rd January
Booking info: This exhibition is free to attend, but prebooking is essential.
More info

Black History Month What’s Your Story? Gambia

What’s Your Story? Gambia

Discussions and Presentations

What’s Your Story? Gambia
Writing on the Wall (WoW) return with their What’s Your Story? project, this time with Nazeem, singer-songwriter from the Gambia. As part of a UK tour, Nazeem comes to Liverpool to share a special screening of the project being delivered at a school in the Gambia, as well as a musical performance inspired by the work of the young participants.

Where: VideoOdyssey, Toxteth TV, 37-45 Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XE
When:Thursday 14th October, 7pm
Booking info: Tickets for this event are £5 per person and must be booked in advance.
Book here

An Evening With Professor David Olusoga OBE
You might have seen him presenting numerous BBC historical documentaries, including A House Through Time and Black and British. BAFTA Award winning David Olusoga joins Edge Hill University for an evening of conversation.

Where: Edge Hill University, The Arts Centre, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
When: Friday 26th November, 7pm
Booking info: This is a free event but prebooking is essential.
More info

Diverse Voices: Minority Ethnic Alumni Panel
A roundtable discussion with three past students of Edge Hill; Claire Beerjeraz, J Chambers and Ngunan Adamu. They will be talking about the lived experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students, and sharing their post-university journeys, navigating their careers and personal challenges.

Where: Online
When: Tuesday 19th October, 4pm
Booking info: Free to attend, book here.

International Perspectives: The Role of Arts, and Art Therapies on the issue of Diversity and Mental Health
To mark Black History Month, Edge Hill University is hosting a day of activities organised by the Research Centre of Art and Wellbeing. During the day the role that the arts, art therapies and psychotherapies play in the lives of many people in helping to express diversity will be explored. You will also learn how the arts and dance therapy can be used to support good mental health and heal racial trauma.

Where: Edge Hill University, The Arts Centre, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
When: Friday 15th October, 10am
Booking info: Free to attend, book here.

Repopulating and Decolonising Historiography is not Political Correctness – it is History
Brought to you, again, by Edge Hill University, is a lecture from Dr Onyeka Nubia, historian, writer and presenter, exploring the themes of diversity, inclusiveness and intersectionality. Looking at topics of repopulating the curriculum, decolonisation, critical race theory, institutional racism and privilege, the question ‘What is an inclusive pedagogy?’ will be asked.

Where: Edge Hill University, Business School, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
When: Wednesday 1st December, 5.30pm
Booking info: Free to attend, book here.

Small Talk: Black USA Today with Prof. Stephen Small
Toxteth-born, Berkeley University professor, Stephen Small, captures some of the issues faced by Black Americans today, describing the contradictions and paradoxes of Black life in a society currently devastated by a public health crisis and economic decay.

Where: Online
When: Wednesday 20th October, 6pm
Booking info: Free to attend, book here.

Black History Month Letters To Gil Book Launch With Malik Al Nasir

Letters To Gil Book Launch With Malik Al Nasir


Letters To Gil Book Launch With Malik Al Nasir
“Letters to Gil” is Malik Al Nasir’s profound coming of age memoir – the story of surviving physical and racial abuse and discovering a new sense of self-worth under the wing of the great artist, poet and civil rights activist Gil Scott-Heron. Malik Al Nasir will be in conversation with his friend and former Sociology lecturer, Sheila Coleman. Sheila is a widely respected activist and campaigner and is the spokesperson for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

Their discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A and a book signing. The book wil be available to buy on the night at the venue.

Where: LEAF, Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4EZ
When: Wednesday 27th October, 7pm
Booking info: Tickets for this event are £11.37 each.
More info & book tickets.

The Black Market
The Black Market is a free market for all ages that will showcase work from local black creatives, sellers and business owners. You will find photography, art, films, jewellery, trainers, clothes, food, music and more as well as interactive workshop opportunities throughout the day.

Where: 24 Kitchen Street, Baltic Triangle, L1 0AN
When: Sunday 24th October, 11am – 5pm
Booking info: Free to attend, no booking necessary

Black to the Future
This exciting two part event will present a debut documentary focussing on L8 and their impactful work deriving straight from our local Black community. Black to the Future will be a discussion between some of the city’s biggest names in music, sport and activism.

Where: 24 Kitchen Street, Baltic Triangle, L1 0AN
When: Saturday 16th October, 7pm
Booking info: Free to attend, no booking necessary

Rach Hankin