Black History Season 2010 – 2011 image

Black History Season 2010 – 2011

Below shows extracts from a facilitators report prepared by Florence Nyahwa (SMNF).

Introduction

The Leicester Black History Season (LBHS) 2010 was a rather eventful time within the group which ended in a great way with the brilliant launch of LBHS on 2 November 2010 jointly with Leicester Museums. Thanks to the hard work of Carol Leeming and the Mainstream Partnership team, Tara Munroe and her colleagues at the New Walk Museum, Dawson and colleagues at the Leicester City Council Festivals Unit, Julian at the Leicestershire County Council Community Cohesion Unit, Wolde our master of ceremony (shown in photo above), group and individual members of the LBHS 2010 especially Black Future which assisted with the distribution of the LBHS 2010 brochures, all our African Heritage organisations in Leicester and beyond who supported us and all individuals and community organisations in and out of Leicestershire who participated in varying ways. I am sure that all who attended, will agree that it was a wonderful, well organised and presented evening which was enjoyed by all. The food and drink too were great.

Facilitator for LBHS

The Monday following the launch, Carol and myself went live on BBC Radio Leicester to talk about the launch and inform the public about the 2010 events. After this Carol and I discussed the forthcoming LBHS AGM cognisant that we currently do not have a coordinator or substantive Chair for LBHS. I agreed to work as Facilitator representing our organisation the, SMN Foundation, which has been a member of Leicester Black History Consortium since its inception. This support would ensure some continuity in times when the managerial positions are vacant as is now the case and at other times provide support to the LBHS team.

2009 – 2010 transition

The past out going coordinator of LBHS, Victoria Obodoagwu presented a comprehensive report (dated 7.12.2009) out which was circulated and made available to members at the AGM in 2010. There are several matters arising from this report which needed investigation and discussion including the constitution of LBHS and its operations. For this reason at its meeting on the 27 January 2010 a sub-committee of three was set up to look at the way forward for LBHS and whether the constitution required any amendments. Victoria has sent out copies of the constitution to members during 2009. The sub-committee included Geeza Graham, Robert Lee and Florence Nyahwa, with Geeza the Chair.

During the same meeting Geeza and Robert were elected as lead Chairs for LBHS. Carol in her report from Mainstream Partnership, the host of LBHS will give a summary of LBHS activities 2010/11 while I will provide here a summary of proceedings from the sub-committee.

 

Report of the Sub-committee of three set up on 27th January 2010 to look into the ‘way forward’ for LBHS

The Subcommittee met twice.

Summary of 1st meeting held at The Children and Parents Centre (CAPTA) The sub-committee met for 3 hours and discussed in detail the history of the Black History Season organisations in the United Kingdom and the Americas (in particular USA, the Caribbean and Canada) why it felt necessary, how it was organised, what was happening to the African heritage people in the Diaspora and what links they had with the Mother Continent. Robert Lee provided the meeting with an in depth treatise of what happened in the UK and the key people who were involved. The meeting had lengthy discussion of the use of the word ‘Black’ as used in Black history season and it was agreed that there has been over the years a different understanding to this. I wish to thank Val Fisher of CAPTA on behalf of LBHS for hosting our meeting.

Summary of 2nd meeting hosted by Robert Lee.

The meeting was lengthy and Geeza made a video of it. The two key matters discussed were the constitution and the way forward. Initially the meeting discussed the problems that LBHS have faced over the years including, organisation structure, funding, continuity and networking. The following were recommended for consideration by the LBHS:

Formation of a two tier organisation:

This meeting felt that having LBHS operating at two levels would be an advantage as follows:

A registered LBHS company to include groups and individuals from the African Heritage community which would stir events in a direction to support the objectives of LBHS locally and internationally.

The LBHC which would include the company, City and Councils, venues, and all organisations, groups and individuals interested.

The meeting suggested that it would be a good idea to invite other Black History Season organisations from some cities in the UK in order to get an insight of how they do things and similarly for some LBHS members to visit other cities for the same purpose.

Geeza has worked hard and has provided us with a draft document for consideration with regard to registering a limited guaranteed company and has worked to establish the LBHS website. The major question is what commitment is there to make this work. Robert who had put in a lot of time in LBHS now works in London and will not be able to do as much as he did while working in Leicester.

I would like to thank Robert and his family for hosting us and their hospitality.

I enjoyed working on this subcommittee which was really committed. I personally learnt a lot from my two colleagues. I have not been able to capture all our discussion and would like to invite both Geeza and Robert to add any items of importance which I may have missed in this summary. On the next page are my personal suggestions which I would like to raise for discussion at the AGM.

Proposed suggestions for discussion by Florence:

1.      It will be some time before the two tier structure proposed can happen and the AGM needs to look at how we can practically continue to operate as we are doing currently but with some adjustment. I have discussed this with Carol and feel we need to work more in partnership with ACCF. I provided a short report about LBHS for the ACCF AGM.

2.      I am proposing that LBHC appoint 3 or 4 persons as ambassadors in various areas from visual and performing arts. These could be professionals who have been involved with LBHC or who can bring expertise and exposure. These would be voluntary positions which I think can benefit smooth running and growth of LBHS.

3.      The position for coordinator of LBHS needs to be at least three years instead of the one year contract.

4.      It would be a good thing to ask Robert to provide a summary of the history of LBHS which could go in the 2011 brochure. This will be helpful information for our youth.

5.      Fundraising: This is an area which needs a lot of work. During our meetings over the last two years, we have discussed the possibility of approaching local businesses and organisations with the view of inviting them to get involved with LBHS. There are opportunities for holding fundraising events with partners both local and internationally. This all means the coordinator needs to be able to work more hours than the funding currently provided.

 

Reference:

Mainstream Partnership, facilitators report regarding Black History Season prepared by Florence Nyahwa (SMNF), 2010 – 2011.

Donated by Mainstream Partnership Ltd: (Serendipity have worked in collaboration with Mainstream Partnership Ltd, with Representative Douglas Beoku-Betts who have given permission to re-publish documents).