Black History Month Leicester

Black History Month (BHM) is held each year in October, with a programme that promotes the history and contribution that African and Caribbean communities have made to Leicester, helping to understand the present through our past. Having been awarded the tenure by Leicester City Council, Serendipity has overseen BHM in Leicester since 2012. Each year our programming centres around a unifying theme. In preparation future themes for the next three years are as follows:

In 2016, BHM will recognise the life and work of South African Social Rights activist Desmond Tutu on the occasion of his 85th Birthday.

In 2017, BHM will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK. This year will also mark 50 years since Robert Lawrence became the first Black Astronaut.

In 2018, BHM will acknowledge the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, one of the ships to bring 500 migrants from Jamaica to the UK. 2018 will also mark the centenary year of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

BHM Filmfest 2016

As part of BHM 2016, Serendipity, in partnership with Phoenix Cinema, are organising a month long film festival. Inspired by theme of Social and Civil Rights, the programme will include documentaries, biopics and cinema classics from around the world explore the key challenges to social and civil rights, and those who have sought to change things for the better.

BHM Programme

Small-Billie-Holiday-at-the-Downbeat-Jazz-Club,-New-York-City-(1947)-Photographer-William-P.-Gottlieb.-Image-held-by-the-Library-of-Congress,-in-the-public-domain. BHMFF

Strange Fruit: A Tribute to Billie Holiday

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2_Three_Banner BHMFF

Three the Hard Way – Part Two

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4_Doc_Banner BHMFF

Doc Brown: The Weird Way Round

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5_BHM_Banner BHMFF

BHM Radio2Funky

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6_Valerie_Banner BHMFF

Valerie Bloom MBE: Author, Poet and Performance Poet

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7_Osian_Banner BHMFF

Osian Roberts / Steve Fishwick Quartet

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round-midnight BHMFF

Round Midnight (1986)

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invictus BHMFF

Invictus (2009)

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Red-White-Black-and-Blue-Image BHMFF

Red White Black and Blue (2012)

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9_Thriller_Banner BHMFF

Thriller Live

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jazz-on-a-summers-day BHMFF

Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)

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12_Mother_Banner BHMFF

She Called Me Mother

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13_Caribbean_Banner BHMFF

Shivi Ramoutar: Contemporary Caribbean Cooking

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14_Somali_Banner BHMFF

Somali Lullabies: Literature event with Maryan Anshur

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bird BHMFF

Bird (1988)

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15_West_Indian_-Regiment_Banner BHMFF

The West Indian Regiment in the Great War

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16_@Funky_Banner BHMFF

Wahala : West Indies vs Africa Comedy Show

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stormy-weather BHMFF

Stormy Weather (1943)

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17_Holy_Banner BHMFF

The Holy & Horny Farewell Tour

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19_Windrush_Banner BHMFF

Leicester Windrush Documentary Premiere ft. Chris Goldfinger

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dmu-square BHMFF

De Montfort University Black History Month Events

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leicester-square BHMFF

University of Leicester Black History Month Events

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BHM Live 2015

Curve Theatre

(as part of Industry Events for Inside Out Festival)

BHM Live is returning for its third year this April, relishing the fact we get to give new, talented and diverse Black artists a platform for their work. The project offers mentoring and support to emerging artists and gives them a chance to showcase their work in front of promoters, producers, programmers, artistic directors and venue managers.

The previous two years have no doubt been a success, seeing many of the artists involved continuing to create and develop their work with funded projects and other wonderful opportunities. This year we would like to go bigger, knowing the ability and potential of all of the artists being showcased this year.

We will be showcasing unique and varied performances from dance, film, short stage plays and interdisciplinary theatre covering a diverse range of subject matters and contemporary issues.

This years artists

Alison Ray

Alison Ray image

Alison Ray is a Black British Dancer and Choreographer. Her ideas are often embodied in the emotional expression of the dancer and depicted through a myriad of Contemporary, Modern and African dance styles. She is currently developing her ideas around the relationship we create within space whilst also expanding her choreography by experimenting with film, architecture and dance. Motivated by her work with French Choreographer George Momboye, Alison has developed her own unique style of Afro Contemporary dance which she teaches at danceworks in London. Her piece “What lies beneath our feet” was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014.

Alison’s piece unifies West African dance and Ballet to explore issues of identity and the physical perception of Black women in relation to how they look. The performance aims to highlight the similarities between these different traditions and forms, whilst also challenging the perceived aesthetics of dance.

Cherish Oteka

Cherish Oteka is a London based filmmaker whose interest began in fashion photography. Having worked at the British Urban Film Festival, Cherish was part of a team of young people that developed a sister film festival to The Images of Black Women Film Festival in 2014. Although a visual artist at her core, her passion also lies in music, poetry and storytelling, all of which lays influence within her films.
Later on last year she curated the film page for Osarge News, an online platform catered to the African Diaspora. Through her films she aims to explore themes of identity and civil unrest, and create a platform for marginalized communities to take ownership of how their experiences are portrayed in the media.

Cherish’s short creative documentary Father’s of Colour, joins three young Black fathers on their journeys into fatherhood. With relationships between Black men and their children rarely presented positively with the stereotype of the absentee father, the film aims to challenge perceptions about fatherhood within the Black community.
In the film we are taken through the fears, challenges and change each of the fathers face as well as how fatherhood affects their relationships to their own fathers.

Emma Uwejoma

Emma Uwejoma image

Emma is an emerging photographer based in Brighton. Emma’s practice explores concepts of culture and heritage through photography, touching upon themes of feminism, marriage and the role of women through a juxtaposition of African and Western perspectives.

Emma’s project Ngwako meaning ‘hybrid,’ focuses on the self-analysis of her own multicultural heritage. Being born into a Westernised community, Emma was unfamiliar with the African heritage of her father who once originated from the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. Using a trip to Lagos, Nigeria as the impetus, she has embarked on a personal ‘journey of self-discovery’ to submerge herself in her heritage and discover the culture.

Julius Ayodeji

Julius Ayodeji image

Julius is a Nottingham based playwright whose philosophies adopt a Community of Practice where work is developed through artists inspiring other artists, rather than pure adherence to the text. In 2006 his stageplay Natural Breaks and Rhythms was published by Methuen Drama and toured regionally. In 2009, Julius was selected as one of the 24 UK based writers to develop ideas for BBC Writer’s room and he has recently written a series of short stories for the Nottingham Museum NESTA Project.

His stageplay Cot highlights the experiences of child immigrants when a young boy is detained at Heathrow Airport. Who is he? Where is he from, and how did he get here?

Michelle ‘The Mother’ Hubbard

Michelle ‘The Mother’ Hubbard image

Michelle is a renowned performance poet and African drummer based in Nottingham. Founding member of the monthly Nottingham open mic night Blackdrop spoken word events, Michelle has a series of self-published poetry books including Tapestry of a Black Woman and The Irish Jamaican. She is also a spoken word enthusiast, interested in how the art form allows her to push boundaries and can act as a vehicle to tackle subjects that are not always ‘safe.’

Michelle’s interdisciplinary theatre piece, Cutting Edge, is a one woman live performance piece exploring the taboo subject of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and cultural expectations of women. Using her own perspective from her lifestyle as a Rasta, Michelle explores the conflict between her desire to keep African traditions alive with her modern perspective against suppressive and damaging practices such as FGM. Her work processes this cultural conflict through a fusion of oral narrative, chant, rhyme, rhythm, percussion, body percussion, mime, dance, African drumming and visual imagery.

BHM Live 2016: Call for Commissions

BHM Live is an initiative which aims to offer opportunities to emerging Black artists in the UK, across all art forms. Launched in 2012 as part of Black History Season, BHM Live has so far supported many artists in sharing and developing their ideas and showcasing their work.

BHM Live is offering a select number of artists:

  • The opportunity to showcase new work at BHM Live showcasing event held at the Curve, Leicester.
  • A bursary to support the development of new work.
  • Development opportunities and the chance for artist to pitch their ideas to and network with promoters, producers, programmers, artistic directors and venue managers.

To be considered for the BHM Live programme each artist will need to:

  • Provide a CV that highlights experience and capacity to create a quality piece of work, which is innovative, diverse and suitable for the general public.
  • Complete an application form detailing their ideas for the project; how they aim to develop their ideas and providing supporting evidence such as links to websites or videos that demonstrate previous work.

For an application form, please contact

Deadline for applicants Thursday 26 November 2015, 5pm