Black History Week 2018 – “Our School, Our DNA”

“I have learnt to never give up even if they say it is impossible”

“You shouldn’t judge people just by the way they look”


To celebrate Black History month at Arena Academy, we have hosted a series of ambitious events in School over the 1st-5th October, tied in with the theme of “Our School; Our DNA”. Internationally renowned and local artist, Barbara Walker, gave an inspirational talk to year 11 students in assembly about her current work, projects and exhibitions and the pathway to becoming an artist, as part of Black history week 2018. Birmingham based composer, Bobbie Gardner presented to students during the year 9 assembly, the “For-wards” project, highlighting local composers who collaborated together with organisations to record the sounds within the communities, in and around Birmingham.

PhD candidate and cultural producer, Ian Sergeant, discussed identity,  gender and current projects to year 7 pupils and Photographer Vanley Burke, the Godfather of “Black British Photography”, shared experiences of documenting the local area and meeting notable figures, including Muhammed Ali and Nelson Mandela; as well as documentation of the Windrush generation and beyond in Birmingham since the 1970’s with year 8. Marcia Dunkenly performed poetry as part of a workshop to English students.

Hanna Narme delivered a Computer Science talk to KS4 students, discussing key Black pioneers within Computer Science and giving a demonstration of installing a RAM into Motherboard of a computer. Birmingham based musician and clarinettist, Anton Butler-Clarke, gave a fantastic solo performance during year 10 assembly. Additional events took place including a film screening of “Black Panther”, a “Caribbean Cook off” competition with KS4 students taking part and also a facilitated discussion and debate on the use of the N word in contemporary society.

All the guest speakers have been a tremendous source of inspiration with talks that have been insightful, motivational and thought provoking. We are immensely proud of all the students who have participated in workshops, talks and activities over the week, with exceptional live music, acting, dancing and singing performances from students; “Our School, Our DNA”. Well done all!

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