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Black History Month: Life drawing, crafts and more at National Museums Liverpool

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Visitors viewing the Black Achievers Wall at the International Slavery Museum. © Pete Carr courtesy of National Museums Liverpool
Visitors viewing the Black Achievers Wall at the International Slavery Museum. © Pete Carr courtesy of National Museums Liverpool

NML’s annual celebrations for Black History Month return this October

National Museums Liverpool have announced a series of special events and activities to commemorate Black History Month.

From life drawing at Walker Art Gallery designed to celebrate the power and strength of Black women, to crafting for all the family, NML’s annual Black History Month programme is an integral part of the calendar. Black History Month is the annual nationwide celebration of African and Caribbean culture, arts and history, which recognises the achievements and contributions of Black people to British society.

Standouts of this year’s programme include a special after-hours event at the Walker Art Gallery on 14 October, developed in partnership with The Goddess Projects. The event will encourage visitors to consider some of the artworks in the Walker’s collection and how we can reclaim the space today through life drawing.

Using the 18th Century room as inspiration, participants in the event will take part in life drawing sessions with models who are more representative of contemporary bodies and society – aimed at reflecting the power and strength of Black women. The event will challenge outdated views of what it means to be Black, working class, or a woman.

Other events include family crafting across Museum of Liverpool and Maritime Museum, an inspirational new exhibition of artwork by Merseyside schoolchildren celebrating great Black Britons at International Slavery Museum, and explorations into medical racism at Museum of Liverpool.

Matt Exley, Participation Producer at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Our yearly celebrations for Black History Month are an important part of NML’s calendar and help us to continue building on our year-round activism – from our work on Slavery Remembrance Day, to LGBT+ History Month, to International Women’s Day, it is of the utmost importance to NML that we continue to advocate for and represent voices that often go unheard.”
 
NML’s October events programme includes thought-provoking displays, topical talks and discussions, alongside events for all the family. Year-round, visitors to the National Museums Liverpool website can explore stories, interviews, collections and features on Liverpool’s Black community on our Black History Month hub, which includes stories from our collections across NML and the city.

Discover National Museums Liverpool’s programme for Black History Month below:

Diasporic Dialogues with Blackfest: Museum of Liverpool – 2 October

Join Blackfest at Museum of Liverpool for a fascinating discussion of topics affecting the community today. Hosted by Ray Quarless, Co-Chair of NML’s RESPECT Group, participants will discuss a range of subjects around Liverpool L8 in the 20th Century.

After Hours with The Goddess Projects: Walker Art Gallery – 14 October

In this special after-hours event, The Goddess Projects will consider the type of art in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery, why it’s there, and how we can reclaim the space today. This workshop is suitable for anybody, you do not need to be an experienced artist to participate. Taking time out to draw in a relaxing environment has been linked to greater wellbeing. This event will empower, inspire, and contribute to the wellbeing of participants in a safe, friendly, and welcoming environment.

Great Black Britons: International Slavery Museum – 4 October – 31 October

Winning artworks by primary school pupils from across Merseyside will be displayed at the International Slavery Museum to help us reflect, understand and celebrate Black History Month.

Jupiter’s Song: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Building until 30 October

Jupiter’s Song is an exhibition exploring perspectives and experiences inspired by the Earle Collection of documents at the International Slavery Museum. Focussing on these documents, international artist Khaleb Brooks brings a new perspective and greater visibility of the Liverpool history archive. The installation explores perspectives, exchange and humanising experiences, through music, dance and sculpture.

Inspirational Black Scousers: Museum of Liverpool – 6 October, 13 October and 20 October, 1:30 – 2:30pm

Join the Participation Team as they guide you through the stories of some of the many inspirational Black British people connected to Liverpool.

Inspiring Liverpool People: Museum of Liverpool – 8 October and 16 October, 11am – 4pm

Join us in finding out about the many inspirational people from Liverpool in this fun, family crafting session. Sessions at 11am until 12noon and 1:30pm until 4pm.

Joseph Johnson’s Hat: Maritime Museum – 8 October, 9 October and 23 October, 11am – 4pm

Joseph Johnson was a Black sailor in London in the early 19th century who was a famous sight at the docks, wearing his enormous sailing ship hat. Drop in to find out more about Joseph and to make your own version to take home. Sessions at 11am until 12noon and at 1:30pm until 4pm.

No One’s Listening – Raising Awareness of Sickle Cell and Thalassemia: Museum of Liverpool – 15 October, 1pm

This event will explore the All-Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into the “avoidable deaths and failures of care for Sickle Cell Patients in Secondary Care”. The report, made in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Society, found serious care failings and evidence of attitudes underpinned by racism.

John James OBE and CEO of the Sickle Cell Society will join Andy Houghton, Haematology Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialist and Dr Jessica Sandham in giving talks to explore the report, inform of the latest medical advances and raise awareness of Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia.

Portrayal After Frederick Douglass: International Slavery Museum – 27 October, 9:30am and 1pm

Learn more about the life of famed African American abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass (1818-1895). In partnership with Liverpool Irish Festival, participants will talk through some of Douglass’s experiences; learn about his connections with Liverpool and Ireland and see what form his actions against racism took. In doing so, we can learn something about our image, what a selfie says about us and how we identify with our representation.

Douglass was also a master at using early photography to aid representation. At the workshop, there will also be the opportunity to sit for your very own sepia portrait, amidst items that represent you.

Explore NML’s full programme for Black History Month at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/black-history-month

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