2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday September 29, 2021

Updated on Wednesday October 13, 2021

Get involved in Black History Month 2021

Black history has often been absent from, overlooked or hard to find in cultural heritage collections. This October, as part of Black History Month, Europeana will be sharing stories, projects and collections to highlight Black history in Europe and beyond. Want to get involved? Explore ideas for marking the month in your own institution and find out how you can be part of our plans.

Two women smile for a photograph
Title: High Street Kensington from the series On a Good Day
Creator: Al Vandenberg
Date: 1976/2010
Institution: Victoria and Albert Museum
Country: United Kingdom
CC BY

In Europe, Black History Month is marked annually in October - particularly in Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom -  to celebrate Black lives and communities, highlighting the achievements of People of Colour throughout history and in the present. Black History Month is also a month of discussion, debate and protest, bringing challenges that face Black communities to light and campaigning for equal rights, opportunities, and representation.

This October we are excited that our new exhibition ‘Black Lives in Europe’ will explore the lives of people such as Toussaint Louverture, Anton de Kom and Nicola Adams, who fought for their freedom and rights, entertained the world and accomplished great achievements. We acknowledge that the Europeana website contains limited collections around Black history – especially Black European history – so we want to highlight Black lives and achievements where we can. Complementing the exhibition, we will share a variety of stories about Black history with galleries and blogs on the Europeana website. 

Through editorials on Europeana Pro we will also highlight cultural heritage institutions like the Horniman Museum, which are working to bring Black cultural heritage to wider audiences (see also the UK-based project Staying Power from the Victoria and Albert Museum and Black Cultural Archives, from which the Al Vandenburg On a Good Day series photograph leading this post is taken). In doing so, we hope to inspire professionals and institutions to digitise and share Black cultural heritage, as well as recognise and address the historical barriers that these activities face.

Our plans for Black History Month are part of our wider organisational effort to be more inclusive and diverse. We want to give more space to the narratives of underrepresented groups, in order to become more representative of the society in which we live. Find out more about the work being done towards this at the Europeana Foundation.

Get involved

We want to support cultural heritage institutions to get involved in Black History Month, and we can help to share your work and content in a number of ways. If you would like to get involved, you can:  

  • Write an editorial piece which highlights Black history for the Europeana website or recommend historical Black European figures we could feature. You are welcome to share images and objects from your own collections.

  • Tell us about your plans for Black History Month so that we can explore ways to support and align them with our activities. 

  • Share your own work through Europeana Pro. Is your organisation mainly focused on Black history or running projects and exhibitions to highlight it? Let us interview you and raise awareness about the importance and challenges of making Black history accessible. 

You can do all of the above by filling out our form or getting in touch with editorial@europeana.eu. In addition, you could: 

  • Promote relevant content, blogs, images and objects from your own collections on social media. Use #BlackHistory and tag us @Europeanaeu when you do.

  • Highlight a well-known or lesser-known historical Black figure on social media. Again, use #BlackHistory and tag us @Europeanaeu when you do.

  • Follow, retweet and share our editorials and news posts throughout the month - we will be sharing them on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

For any other questions or ideas, please get in touch with editorial@europeana.eu

This post was written collaboratively by colleagues at the Europeana Foundation.

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