Black Oxford Untold Stories, in partnership with Westgate Oxford, presented a programme of events celebrating Black scholars, history and heritage to commemorate Black History Month 2023. Below is a photographic montage of our highlights.
The Trailblazers Unit
The programme of events took place in the Trailblazers unit, located on the ground floor at Westgate Oxford. The unit was an empty shell, but we transformed it into a warm, welcoming and educational space with the support of furniture and furnishings from John Lewis and Partners and their visual merchandising team for assisting with creating the fantastic sitting, screening and kitchen table zones.
Lighting played an integral part in the unit design, from the fairy lights twinkling in the front windows, signifying we are here and being seen, to the specially commissioned bespoke Trailblazers lightbox to illuminate twelve Black scholars. Two exhibitions adorned on both walls celebrated the Black Oxford Scholars and the history of Black cinema.
The Trailblazers brand incorporated photographs of twelve Black Oxford scholars into the design of its lettering. The brand prominently featured images of Dr Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kofoworola Moore, the first African woman to graduate from the university. Alain LeRoy Locke, the first Black Rhodes Scholar; and Merze Tate, the first African-American woman to graduate from Oxford. The Trailblazers' design also appeared on digital billboards on both floors at Westgate Oxford for the duration of the month.
Drink to me with Thine Own Eyes, Shortnin' Breath
Samuel Coleridge- Taylor
The Fantasy Pieces
Prelude and Humoresque
String Quartet No 1, Molto Adagio
The Trailblazers Prologue Introduction
The Down's Syndrome Choir Oxford dazzled the Westgate crowds
The outstanding Down's Syndrome Choir Oxford dazzled the Westgate crowds when they performed a repertoire of uplifting signed songs with a solo performance by Ms Serenna Spencer, singing Labre Siffre's Something Inside So Strong. An encore for another performance saw Serenna sing acapella Wade in the Water.
Events and Exhibitions
Events included drop-in sessions delivered by The Bodleian Libraries to delve into a series of caricatures that depicted Christian Frederick Cole, the University of Oxford's first black scholar, from 1873 to 1885. We also studied Edward Clark's world map to understand how colonialism was represented.
Two exhibitions adorned on both walls, the Black Oxford Untold Stories exhibition showcased the profiles of Black scholars from the University of Oxford. Breaking the Illusions Black Cinema exhibition documenting the history of African-American and Black British cinema from the 1900s, and daily screenings of the Christian Cole short film about Britain's first Black Barrister.