Black History Month 2021: Events & Exhibitions To Book Now

From art shows to panel discussions, here's how to get involved

October marks Black History Month, the annual celebration of the history, contributions and achievements of Black people in the UK. Every year numerous events celebrating African and Caribbean cultures take place across the country, and the 2021 programme is one of the best yet.

Black History Month 2021: Events & Exhibitions To Book Now

Royal Opera House’s Digital Programme

The Royal Opera House is presenting a number of online performances for Black History Month. This includes a free stream of Hannah Kendall’s chamber opera, The Knife of Dawn, which tells the story of Guyanese political activist Martin Carter; a live panel discussion on representation on stage; and a new film by Bertil Nilsson, which sees Royal Ballet dancer Marcelino Sambé reflecting on his journey on a visit to his home country of Portugal. Various dates, roh.org.uk

Channel B at the ICA

Channel B at the ICA

A new exhibition from Black-owned art and education initiative Nine Nights explores Black futurism in an audio-visual format. Launching this month at the ICA, the show – titled Channel B – includes five interactive installations that act as stages for live performance and broadcast, created by artists Gaika, GLOR1A and Shannen SP. Works will address everything from political satire to experimental sound, drawing on lineage from the 1960s while also looking forwards. 11 October 2021 – 30 January 2022, ica.art

Honour, Remember, Inspire at Zari Gallery

Following a response to an open call, the team at Zari Gallery has put together an exhibition of works from British and international Black artists. Names being featured include Lola Okunola, Gavin Johnson, Richard Mensah and Seth Alifo. 4 – 29 October 2021, zarigallery.co.uk

The African Art Series at Bvlgari Hotel

The African Art SeriesThe endlessly glamorous Bvlgari Hotel hosts this exciting pop-up event, which celebrates the thriving world of contemporary African art. Explore works from acclaimed Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu alongside Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, plus get to know the up-and-coming stars. 7 – 9 October 2021, theafricanartseries.com

Culture Kitchen

Learn about different cultures through their signature dishes at the LevelUP Foundation’s first Culture Kitchen, taking place in Sheffield Hallam University’s kitchens. At the free event you’ll be taught how to create dishes from Jamaica, Nigeria, Guyana and other nations, with classes designed for those aged 13 to 25. 29 October 2021, eventbrite.co.uk

Bookshop Day

This year’s Bookshop Day will celebrate Black History Month with in-person author events, bookshop openings and more. Opening its doors just after Bookshop Day on 9 October, for instance, is Afori Books, Brighton’s first Black-owned book store which will be the UK’s biggest supplier of books by Black authors. It’s been operating online for a year, but recently owner Carolynn Bain launched a crowdfunding effort which allowed her to open a bricks and mortar venue. 9 October, booksaremybag.com

An Ode to Afrosurrealism at the Horniman

Artists Hamed Maiye and Adama Jalloh explore contemporary relationships with spiritualism and surrealism through a Black British lens in this exhibition at the Horniman Museum. Presented as a photo series, the show will pay homage to Afrosurrealism, with a particular focus on the spiritual bond between twins and the meaning of the number two. Until 7 November 2021, horniman.ac.uk

Seminars at SOAS University of London

A number of panel discussions, webinars and workshops are taking place throughout October at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London. The programme includes a round table discussion on Black internationalism with Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, Brian Kagoro and Maxine Thomas-Asante, plus an exhibition of the political posters produced during the early years of Mozambique’s independence. soas.ac.uk

Caroline Chinakwe on Colourism at Stratford Library

Nigerian-born artist Caroline Chinakwe is known for her vibrant visuals that capture the beauty found in Black culture and style, while also addressing key issues surrounding race. This October she’ll be exploring why colourism is such an important subject at an in-conversation event with curator Sukai Eccleston at Stratford Library – drawing from thoughts explored in her latest collection of the same name, which can be seen in the reprised exhibition, Some of Us Are Brave. 9 October 2021, eventbrite.co.uk

Main image: The African Art Series


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