Celebrating Black History Month while reconsidering the Curriculum

October marks Black History Month (BHM) in the UK. Here at Edinburgh Napier Library, we don’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate the event. After all, the diversity of the ENU student and staff community it’s an up-to-date reflection of how people with African and Caribbean backgrounds keep making our society richer.

This has been the main aim of BHM since it first started being considered in the UK in the late eighties. The celebration, which has evolved over the years, is now observed in all sorts of organizations: from museums to schools, or even care homes, the community honours the cause with exhibitions, arts and crafts, formal events, or local gatherings.

The theme selected for 2023 seems to be one of cross-field impact: “Black History Month 2023 – Celebrating our Sisters”, pays homage to black women whose contributions have been ignored, ideas appropriated, and voices silenced in the past.

The slogan itself transpires a sense of a tribe, or sisterhood, being celebrated.

Black Graduate woman blowing glitter

Photo by Marleena Garris on Unsplash

Decolonisation in the academic field

From a wider perspective, here in the Library, we are working to question the references and sources of information used to build our understanding of the World, Academia, and the Curriculum, much of which is based on colonial beginnings.

The word “Decolonisation”, is in open debate over the last few years, and refers mainly to the process of reviewing those references in an attempt to tackle unconscious biases and prejudices.

While the process of undoing colonizing practices in the educational context is long and wide, there are a few steps being taken at Edinburgh Napier University in that direction. The Library Team has prepared accordingly some material about “Building Inclusive Reading Lists”, to make this learning material as diverse as possible.

Also, there is on the way a Reading List, prepared by the Subject Librarian of the Business School, Keith Walker, which highlights the contribution of Black authors, the Windrush generation, essays on Race and Racism, and other related questions. We will post about it soon.

These small steps, against historical and current challenges like Racism or Discrimination, are just a humble beginning, but we thought that they are worth mentioning.  Furthermore, we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate and cherish our Black students and work colleagues recognising their success, contributioand recognition in the present and in the future!

By Emi Pastor

Here are links to some of our resources

Building inclusive Reading Lists


Read earlier articles on Black History Month from the blog, such as this article.