Online Talks as part of Black History Month

Girl Using Laptop | Wycombe Abbey

Throughout the month of October, pupils and staff were invited to tune in to online talks and lectures reflecting on issues of diversity and inclusion. Pupils share their thoughts below:

Professor Bronwen Everill lecture on Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition

This term during Black History Month, Professor Bronwen Everill delivered an insightful lecture on the topic of ethical capitalism in the age of abolition. Professor Everill’s talk illuminated how the politics of anti-slavery was firmly rooted in the history of capitalism, arguing that abolitionists used free trade to undermine slavery and the slave trade. Professor Everill explored the dilemmas and difficulties of conducting ethical commerce at the time, in particular underlining issues such as the rise of poorly paid free labour and the sale of counterfeit ‘free’ branded goods. We were especially intrigued by Professor Everill’s focus on the role of consumers as the moral compass of capitalism. Indeed, many of us were captured by the pertinence of her talk, where issues regarding fair trade, labour conditions and environmental consequences are just a few of the factors that morally effect consumers today. We were very grateful to gain an insight into Professor Everill’s perspective and we thought it was especially valuable in broadening the necessary discussion around areas of Black History often neglected in school curriculums.

Siya and Pia (UVI)

‘Loud Black Girls’ Yomi Adegoke in conversation with Sharna Jackson

This talk was an interview between Sharna Jackson and Yomi Adegoke, one of the editors of the newly released Loud Black Girls. The talk focuses on Yomi’s process of editing and reasoning behind publishing the book. The book is the second after Slay in Your Lane by the same editor (but you do not have to have read Slay in Your Lane to read Loud Black Girls). The book is a series of 20 essays written by emerging black writers, with the topics ranging from what it means to be 30 years old, food and prejudice. The editors wanted a broad range of topics to be covered, as they felt that there is often pressure for black, female journalists to write about certain issues. Shockingly, 94% of journalism is white, and 50% male, so for the few black women that are indeed heard in the media, there is little ‘diversity within diversity’. The aim of the book was to give black, female writers the opportunity to be heard, as although they are quick to be labelled ‘loud’ or ‘aggressive’, most are spoken over and not heard or represented in the media. For the same reason, the title of the book was chosen with the idea to reclaim the word ‘loud’, as it is constantly used pejoratively to label black children in particular, despite most not fitting into this stereotype.

I found this talk especially captivating as both the interviewer and editor were very engaging and covered really important issues, particularly those within the media. Whilst there is a noticeable lack of representation in the media, I was not aware of the extent of this, which is something that the talk really highlights. Additionally, it was fairly short so it will not take up much of your busy day!

The talk can be found on this link www.offtheshelf.org.uk/event/loud-black-girls-yomi-adegoke-and-elizabeth-uviebinene-in-conversation-with-sharna-jackson

Pia (UV)

These online lectures, plus many others, are available to view as part of the Off the Shelf festival at www.offtheshelf.org.uk.

Coming Up

Wycombe Abbey’s first Courageous Conversation, hosted by the Pupil Diversity and Inclusion Committee, is open to all pupils and will take place via Zoom on 11 November. This first session asks attendees to reflect upon the question: Tell me about a time when you felt excluded? How did this affect you emotionally and how did it affect your performance?

Following the UK Government announcement on Monday 22 February 2021, Wycombe Abbey will reopen to pupils from Monday 8 March.

Prospective parents should contact our Admissions Team on registrar@wycombeabbey.com who will be able to advise on visits to the School and other contact information can be found here.

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