Celebrate Black History Month 2019

Adzawele Ghanaian Dance Workshop2

Take part in a dance workshop at Idea Store Whitechapel on 15 October

  • Programme of arts, music, film and participatory workshops.

Tower Hamlets Council is celebrating Black History Month in October by supporting a whole host of free events together with arts and voluntary groups in the borough. 

Throughout October, exhibitions including workshops on cooking, music and crafts along with live dance music and poetry performances will give residents of all ages and backgrounds a chance to engage with the richness of African and Caribbean culture.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of all those with African or Caribbean descent to contemporary British society. We are proud of our diversity in Tower Hamlets.”

On Saturday 19 October, Weaving Stories will take place at Idea Store Canary Wharf to teach textile skills in a free workshop. Participants can produce new cloth samples, exploring the theme of migration and cultural identity inspired by Caribbean weaving.

The Caribbean islands have a rich craft tradition of communal making and shared skills. The practical workshop will encourage participants to intermix their strips of fabric and share with each other, so the newly formed fabric will signify the formation of new friendships and communities. Participants should book in advance and bring discarded clothing to be cut into strips to the workshop.

From Friday 18 to Wednesday 26 October, the Somali Week Festival celebrates its eleventh anniversary with events at: Oxford House in Bethnal Green; Queen Mary, University of London; and Rich Mix. This year’s festival looks at how artists, activists and musicians respond and react to times of political change.

Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit said: “I am delighted that the council has once again played a key role in helping to initiate and promote a wide-ranging series of events across the borough. I encourage everyone to go along to an event and participate in the programme.”

Between 24 October and 3 November, Identity, a Poly Styrene Retrospective will take place at the Art Pavilion, Mile End Park to celebrate the life of Marianne ‘Poly Styrene’ Elliot-Said, the pioneering late lead singer of the British punk band X-Ray Spex.

Curated by her daughter, Celeste Bell, and Mattie Loyce, the free exhibition will draw from the personal and artistic archive of the singer. It includes original artworks, writings and photography and highlights her experiences as a key figure in punk, and a mixed- race black British artist who lived with mental health difficulties.

On Thursday 24 October, the community organisation Poplar Union together with the Grand Union Orchestra is offering free instrumental workshops for 12 - 18 year old musicians to learn about and celebrate the music of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Young people who attend the workshops will prepare for a live performance on Saturday 26 October.

The full programme of Black History Month events and how to book is found on the Tower Hamlets arts website. 

Posted on Friday 20th September 2019