Discovering Black History; Education Short and Part-Time Courses

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Richardson

THIS year, Birkbeck University of London contributes to Black history Month with the launch of a new course, "survival: Black British history and Culture, 1945 to the present".

Based at the hackney Archives, the course opens up research opportunities for the study of hidden, unknown or forgotten and neglected areas of British history. According to course tutor Dr Eleni Liarou, the key to achieving this goal is the collaboration of archivists, Birkbeck staff and students.

"i recently visited the hackney Archives and spoke to staff about accessing the collections for Birkbeck students as part of their research and learning experience, which they have generously agreed to do," she says. "The hackney Archives may not appear the most obvious place to research black British history - the National Archives, the black cultural archives in Kennington and the Lambeth archives would probably be the first options to spring to mind.

"And yet that is exactly the point many historians would instantly recognise: not only is history hidden in the most unexpected places, it is also these places that often change our understanding of history."

Hackney is one of the London boroughs with the greatest concentration of ethnic minorities, and is rich with black history. Access to the hackney Archives offers participants fascinating sources and insights into the role of local archives in thinking and writing about black British history at both a local and national level. …