11 October 2022

Black History Month: 10 arts events across the country you can’t miss

From poetry and music to traditional fashion and historical exhibitions, HUNGER breaks down the best arts events celebrating Black History Month.

In the UK, October marks Black History Month, the annual celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of Black people in Britain. It’s a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.

For the whole month up until October 31st, events celebrating African and Caribbean cultures and histories will take place in the UK. With with everything from music and fashion to museum tours and poetry, we’re sure you’ll find something to get your creative juices flowing. Get the lowdown below… 

Curlytreats Festival: Black Hair Stories (15th October, London)

This one-day festival celebrating Black hair was founded in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. This year’s edition takes place in Hammersmith and features a plethora of creative workshops including hair braiding, collaging, zine making and lino printing. There will also be a market featuring 50 pop-up shops from Black-owned small businesses.

Changing attitudes towards Africans (7th October – 6th November, Southampton)

This exhibition from London-based multidisciplinary artist Ebun Sodipo explores how attitudes towards Africans and their descendants have evolved throughout history. Her solo show, For My Only Love, Yours in Body and Soul, is a fictional visual and audio love story in which she imagines alternative ways of speaking about the body, including the black trans-feminine self, after slavery and colonialism.

Museum of London After Hours: ‘London’s Black artists, 1980 – present day (19th October, London)

The Museum of London marks Black History Month with this after-hours talk. Senior curator Francis Marshall will explore Black artists working in London from the 1980s to the present day whilst presenting artefacts from the museum’s vast collection.

Ballet Black (28th October, Durham)

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Ballet Black is presenting two new works at Durham’s Gala Theatre and Cinema. The ballet company was founded in 2001 by Cass Pancho who wanted to give a platform to dancers of Black and Asian descent. Say It Loud is choreographed by Pancho and charts Ballet Black’s journey to becoming an industry name. Meanwhile, Black Sun explores the power of the moon and sun and is choreographed by Gregory Maqoma.

The Politics of Fabric and Fashion in Africa 1960 – Today (20th October, London)

1960 was a vital year for the continent of Africa. Over 17 countries rid themselves of colonial rule and a new sense of pride in being African and Black was expressed through various art forms, in particular through fashion. Using objects in the V&As Africa Fashion exhibition this lecture explores how fibre and fabric carried meaning in the moment of independence and carries meaning now in the cutting-edge work of Africa’s contemporary fashion creatives, Aphia Sakyi, Thebe Magugu and Artsi Ifrach.

Art as Expression: Emerging Black Artists Exhibition Launch (12th October, London)

From photography and sculpture to short film, painting and illustration, the diverse range of creative works throughout this new exhibition celebrates the vast array of passions and interests of creatives emerging onto the London art circuit in 2022. 

Black History Month: Poet’s Corner (15th, 19th and 22nd October, London)

Poet’s Corner will allow visitors the opportunity to watch and listen to a number of talented Black British artists. The artists will share riveting poems and stories about the Black experience. Poets include Nigerian-British author Sarah Aluko, Young People’s Laureate Theresa Lola and educator Roger Robinson amongst many more.

Black History Tour of British Museum (16th October, London)

During this tour of the iconic museum, guides look to inspire, engage and educate the community on the artefacts held in the British Museum on African History with the aim to inspire interest in this area of study for future generations. The British Museum is home to an extensive collection of historic societies of Africa, including Egyptian artefacts.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (23rd October, London)

After being formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960, Ladysmith Black Mambazo went on to become one of South Africa’s most prolific recording artists. They rose to worldwide prominence after singing alongside Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland and have won multiple awards, including four Grammys. Now, the group have become a mobile academy, teaching people about South Africa and its rich culture through traditional South African singing techniques.

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit Curlytreats

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