Black British History |

WHHBH3 Agenda & Speaker Biographies


10.30-10.45       Registration: tea & coffee

10.45-11.30       Keynote address Eric Huntley

 Eric, with his wife Jessica, was a pioneering Black political and social activist and radical book publisher. Born in what was then British Guiana, he arrived in England in the 1950’s and became active in political and social campaigns relating to the British African-Caribbean communities in and around London.

For over 50 years the Huntleys’ participated in many of the significant grassroots campaigns within the community. They were

Founder members of the Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association (CECWA)

Helped form The Black Parents Movement (BPM) in 1975

Organised the 1981 Black People’s Day of Action march

Established The Supplementary School Movement in the community

Created Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications to promote radical Black writing.

Eric and Jessica Huntley’s importance to the community is reflected in their collected papers being taken into the London Metropolitan Archives – the Huntley Collection. They have an entry in London 1000 Years – Treasures from the Collections of the City of London.

The Huntley Archive and the Huntleys’ contribution to Black British culture is currently being celebrated in an acclaimed exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London – No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990.

11.30-1.00         Session One Challenging the Conventional Narratives

Looking at Our Past Through Fiction: Engaging Young Readers With Black British History

Catherine Johnson (Author and Educationalist)

Catherine has written close to twenty novels for young readers. Her novel Sawbones won the Young Quills best historical novel in 2013. She has also written for film and TV including Bullet Boy, and Simon Schama’s Rough Crossings. Her latest novel is The Curious Tale of The Lady Caraboo published by Corgi Books.

A More Interesting Narrative: Moving beyond Equiano and Slavery in the study of Eighteenth-Century Black British Writing

Ryan Hanley (New College, Oxford)

Ryan is the Salvesen Junior Fellow in History at New College, Oxford. Earlier this year he completed a PhD on eighteenth-century black British writing at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull. He has held fellowships at the Huntington Library, California; Queen Mary University, London and the Omohundro Institute at William and Mary College, Virginia. In July he was awarded the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize for his article on Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, the first black author to be published in Britain. He is currently working on a monograph about black writers in eighteenth-century Britain.

Black British history is happening – but to what end?

David Killingray (ICwS),

David is Emeritus Professor of Modern History, Goldsmiths London, a Senior Research Fellow in the ICwS (SAS), and an Honorary Professor of History at Stellenbosch University. During his career he has been a school teacher in Britain and Tanzania, trained history teachers, and taught in universities in Britain, Africa, and also the Caribbean.   He has written books and articles on aspects of African, Caribbean, Imperial, and English local history, as well as on the black diaspora, topics on which he continues to research and write in active retirement.

1.00-2.00           Lunch

2.00-3.30           Session Two Teaching Black British History

The new GCSE course on migration to Britain: Black British history on the official exam curriculum

Martin Spafford (Retired history teacher) 

Martin Spafford taught History in Leyton and Paddington for over 30 years and is now in ‘retirement’. A member of the Black and Asian Studies Association, he is a co-writer and co-designer – with Hakim Adi, Dan Lyndon and Marika Sherwood – of the new OCR GCSE courses and textbooks on migration to Britain. He is also helping with the supporting BBC Bitesize materials in an advisory capacity. He is a trustee of Journey To Justice and is currently working with Facing History and Ourselves on a project with school students in Brent.

Inclusive Curriculum: Learning to see the diversity of Britain

Dema Wonga (Narrative Eye)

Dema is currently the director of Gallery Hyde Park Hostels in London and has been in real estate since 2007. A graduate from Goldsmiths College, with a keen social conscience he decided to leave his job in the City of London to pursue a career that would give him the flexibility to engage with communities. He has worked closely with Narrative Eye for a number of years and recently took up the position of Education Development Manager. He has delivered curriculum focused workshop and contributed to the development of the African Youth Education Programme.

He was a voluntary worker for over 8 years with St Mary’s youth club in Islington, where he participated in a number of community lead projects in engaging young people. His focus has been to engage young people in creating a more inclusive cultural narrative as well as delivering programmes to address the limiting belief systems that exacerbate youth unemployment. Currently he teaches at a Saturday School for African and Caribbean children run in ParkView Academy, Haringey.

Doing justice to the teaching of Black British history in the classroom

Robin Whitburn (Institute of Education) and Abdull Mohamud (Institute of Education)

Dr Robin Whitburn, Lecturer in History Education at the University College London – Institute of Education. Robin is a Quality Mark Assessor for the Historical Association.       A History graduate of the London School of Economics, his doctoral thesis was on successful pedagogy with African-Caribbean male students in secondary school. Robin has thirty years’ experience in teaching History, Economics and Mathematics in secondary education. He has taught on teacher training and other graduate courses for history educators for the last five years.

Abdul Mohamud, Senior Teaching Fellow at University College London – Institute of Education, tutoring School Direct (Salaried) trainee teachers. Abdul is a member of the Historical Association’s Secondary Committee. A History graduate of Goldsmith’s College, London University. He has taught a wide range of courses for students from 11-18 in History, Religious Studies and Sociology. He has eight years experience of working with young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds in inner London. Abdul is of Somali heritage and has strong links with a number of ethnically diverse communities.

3.30-4.00           Tea/coffee

4.00-6.00           Session Three New Perspectives on the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

The murderer, the servant, and Lady Mary Grey: Victorian Africans and the historical record

Jeffrey Green (Independent Historian)

Jeffrey is a Londoner who since 1979 has researched the black presence in Britain. He has produced books, articles, radio and television programmes, lectures etc in Britain and America. His study of African Americans in Victorian Britain is currently under consideration in the U.S.A.

Re-framing the Nation

Jan Marsh (National Portrait Gallery)

Jan is a Biographer & art historian; curator of Black Victorians: Black People in British Art 1800-1900; Samuel ColeridgeTaylor 2012 display at National Portrait Gallery; currently working on Ira Aldridge & Paul Robeson. See

God and Coffee: The Forgotten Story of the Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman, Botanist

Advolly Richmond (Independent Researcher)

Advolly Richmond is a Garden, Landscape and Social Historian based in Shrewsbury. She is a trustee of the Shropshire Parks and Garden’s Trust and the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust. Through her Royal Horticultural Society training and qualifications she went on to achieve an MA in Garden History from the University of Bristol. She contributes articles to relevant publications

and gives various talks on 18th century landscapes, including the elite sport of archery in the 18th/19th century landscape park and from 2016 Rev. TB Freeman. Her ongoing research projects include 19th century black people connected with historic designed landscapes, (West) African Botanic stations and plant collecting.

6.00-6.30           Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Chair: Michael Ohajuru

6.30-7.30           Reception

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