News - October 2012

Students ‘WISE up’ about Black History Month

12 October 2012

Sixth form students, academics and a renowned photojournalist are working together to inspire schoolchildren during Black History Month.

Black History Month

The students from St Mary’s College in Hull have been exploring what Black History Month means to them and their peers through a photography project, culminating in an exhibition that will open later this month.

Working with academics from the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) and students from the Department of History and representatives from the Black History Partnership they will use photography to capture the relevance of Black History Month to young people.

Taking inspiration from the work by Hull’s most famous son, abolitionist William Wilberforce, the students are hoping their insight will inspire younger audiences to engage with contemporary messages about fighting social justice and respecting difference.

As part of the project they were given expert advice from renowned photojournalist and Hull honorary graduate Lee Karen Stow. Lee said: "What excites me about a project like this is that I can bring all my self-taught knowledge in photography to the young people within my home city. Having visited Sierra Leone I can also show the students how young women in Freetown Sierra Leone, who don't necessarily have their own cameras are approaching the topic brand new. Through photography the young people here, like the women in Freetown, can inspire others about Black History Month."

The photographic exhibition, entitled ‘i-dentity’ will go on display on 24 October at the Hull History Centre.

Project organiser Dr Nick Evans, who is responsible for engagement in the Department of History and WISE, said: “We are delighted to be working with students from St. Mary’s College and hope to encourage other young people across the region to connect with Black History Month activities taking place across the city.”

“We hope that the photographs they produce will ensure the important messages of Black History Month strike a chord with everyone in the region.”

“The city is proud of its most famous son – William Wilberforce – but it is important that young people stand up to racism and make a difference to their world.”

Jonathan Boden, Assistant Headteacher at St Mary’s College, who helped organise the joint venture with the University, said: “All the students involved were from St Mary’s College A-level photography class. We are delighted with the way that they have taken on board the importance of Black History Month and captured its contemporary relevance in their photographs. The students really enjoyed working with a professional photographer as part of the day and found Lee Karen Stow’s work opened their eyes to the harsh realities and beauty of Sierra Leone. I am sure it will be a project that they will remember for a long time.”

Hull History Centre is also hosting an ongoing exhibition by Sierra Leone photographer Francess Ngaboh-Smart, who was assisted by Lee Karen Stowe, during October. ‘The Freetown That I See’ runs until 23 October.

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