The Social History Society is delighted to announce the results of the inaugural BME Events and Activities Small Grants scheme. The scheme was set up in 2019 to facilitate activities run by BME historians, or those focused on BME histories. It is funded by the Social History Society, the Economic History Society, History UK and the Society for the Study of Labour History. The scheme was set up in recognition of the under-representation, structural inequalities and racism that hold back BME history.
The scheme received sixteen applications, which were each considered by a panel of experts, made up by Professor Catherine Hall (University College London), Dr Meleisa Ono-George (University of Warwick) and Dr Jonathan Saha (University of Leeds). The committee praised both the strength and breadth of these proposals and faced a very difficult choice. The five successful projects highlight the sheer variety of historical practice in the UK, including a student conference, work with museum collections, and a hackathon.
In alphabetical order, the funded projects are:
- ‘1919 – Black Lives in Britain’ a series of Wikipedia hackathons at the Black Cultural Archives organised by AfroCROWD UK
- ‘From Margins to Centre?’ An undergraduate conference organised by Clare Burgess and Olivia Wyatt (University of York)
- ‘Legacy Makers’ a knowledge exchange symposium organised by Lisa Robinson
- ‘Represent’ a workshop at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge organised by Danika Parikh (University of Cambridge) and Akshyeta Suryanarayan (University of Cambridge)
- ‘Sapphire @ 60: Filming Race, Gender and Sexuality in 1950s Britain’ a series of film screenings organised by Kesewa John (University of Chichester) and Karen Wilkes (Birmingham City University)
After the announcement, Kelly Foster (of AfroCROWD UK) thanked all involved for the support, explaining that:
We work primarily as a voluntary organisation so this grant means we can support the work of those who are integral to sharing the histories of African and Caribbean people in the UK: our partner Black Cultural Archives and the independent researchers at the forefront Black history.
For Clare Burgess and Olivia White (both undergraduates at the University of York):
The grant enables us to invite speakers from across the country to our conference – without it, we would not be able to hold such an intersectional and diverse event. It’s so important to us that undergraduates see how inclusive history should be, and we’re grateful to the fund for making that possible.
Their sentiments were echoed by the committee of judges, who described the scheme as:
An important step towards making our discipline more inclusive. This is vital to combatting marginalisation and underrepresentation, and we were very pleased to be able support five fantastic projects in this first round.
The Social History Society would like to congratulate all the successful applicants and encourage those who were not successful to apply again in future. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to all those who made the scheme possible.
At the same time, we call on other scholarly societies for additional support to ensure that the scheme can be expanded in future rounds. Please contact our Honorary Secretary, Dr Georgina Brewis (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you would like to find out more. Together, we can begin to change history.