Stories shared to mark Black History Month 2022

A series of events to mark Black History Month will take place across the University throughout October.

A red, green and black striped flag, flying on the roof of the University building, Old College

Staff and students from across the University have organised events that explore and celebrate the collective and individual histories and contributions that have shaped African and Caribbean communities.

The University’s historic Old College will fly the Pan African flag, or UNIA flag, for the duration of Black History Month. The flag has come to represent Black freedom and pride around the world.

Student events

Black History Month provides a space for black students to explore and articulate their own experiences, and a focus for the whole University community to discuss and address the ongoing challenges facing black communities in Britain and around the world.

Edinburgh University Students Association’s BME Liberation Officer takes the lead on Black History Month, with many events taking place for students and academic staff.

Find more information here.

Hakim Adi

Acclaimed historian Hakim Adi will give a talk based on his new book 'African and Caribbean People in Britain: A History.’

The event will focus on African and Caribbean men and women throughout the history of Britain. Highlights include Libyan legionaries patrolling Hadrian's Wall, black Tudors serving in the land's most eminent households and intrepid African explorers helping Sir Francis Drake circumnavigate the globe.

The free, in-person event will be lead by Dr Katuch Bento, Lecturer in Race and Decolonial Studies in the School of Social and Political Science. The event takes place on Thursday 13 October from 5pm at Lecture Theatre B, 40 George Square

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Lunchtime talks

A series of lunchtime talks will take place as part of Black History Month celebrating the history, achievements and contributions of black and minority ethnic people from across Scotland and beyond.

The talks will take place every Tuesday in October from 1.10 – 2pm, and include subjects such as lifting the barriers to black academia, Nigerian doctors’ migration to the UK, and black Tudors in Historical Fiction.

The events are organised by the Scottish Graduate Schools of Social Science and Arts and Humanities in conjunction with RACE.ED, a cross-university network concerned with race, racialisation and decolonial studies from a multidisciplinary perspective.

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Mathematics Heroes

Taking place from 4 until 5 October, the Black Heroes of Mathematics conference will celebrate the inspirational contributions of black role models to the field of mathematics education.

Primarily hosted online, the event will offer a number of talks from internationally renowned black speakers including Professor Nira Chamberlain, OBE, who will lead the conference, and speakers from the UK, the USA, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More information, including speakers and talk info can be found here.

First Breath

An evening of celebration presented by the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Scottish Black and People of Colour (BPOC) Writers Network will see three artists and writers read and present their work, reflecting and on the theme ‘First Breath.’

Scottish BPOC Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development community organisation for and by Scottish and Scotland-based writers and literary professionals who identify as BPOC (Black people, People of Colour).

The event takes place from 6pm on Friday 21 October at Inspace, 1 Crichton Street.

More information and tickets can be found here.

George Floyd 

As part of the First Breath series, an event will take place discussing the impact of George Floyd. 

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with friends and family members, authors Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa deliver a powerful and moving exploration of how a man who simply wanted to breathe ended up touching the world. 

The event will take place online from 6pm on Monday 24 October.

More information can be found here.

Andrea Levy

The University is privileged to offer scholarships to support Black African and Caribbean heritage applicants from socio-economically challenged backgrounds, made possible by a gift from the family of the late Andrea Levy.

Multi-award winning novelist, Andrea Levy was born in London to Jamaican parents and held longstanding family and personal links to Edinburgh and to Scotland. Since 2020 the University of Edinburgh has been honoured to contribute to her legacy by hosting this scholarship programme.

Applications for the 2023-24 academic session are expected to open in January 2023.

More information can be found here.

Related links

Edinburgh University Students Association events 

African and Caribbean People in Britain

Lunchtime talks

Mathematics Heroes

First Breath

The Andrea Levy Scholarships


His name is George Floyd