Written by: Mica on November 23, 2020Tags: Meet the Members
How can we progress without education?
How do we celebrate black culture and empathise with black people’s experiences without hearing their story?
Let us ask you a question – what were you taught about British Black History in school?
The chances are, not much. Currently, the national curriculum and exam board specifications are limited in providing Black British history. Furthermore, Black history is not mandatory in schools which follow their own curriculum.
According to GOV.UK, 13% of the UK aren’t white. That may not seem like much, but that actually equates to over 8million people – 8 million people who aren’t represented in our schools.
Being a fellow social enterprise who are passionate about D&I, we instantly resonated with them. Not only do their values align with our own, but their love for providing education is something we share!
After some back and forth and a great meet with their Head of Delivery and Development, Natalie, a partnership was born. Together, we have agreed to work on three exciting projects which we will be telling you about in this article, but before we go into them, let’s hear from the change-makers themselves.
The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise that aims to:
We do this by working with students, teachers and other organisations. Empowering young people is at the core of everything we do.
Our team is currently working remotely, but prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were based in London. However, we work with partners across the country and we hope to impact across all 4 Nations! Since our pilot in 2019, we have grown to a team of 20 people who are committed to our vision and mission, including our CEO and founder Lavinya Stennett. We also have 3 extremely experienced professionals who sit on our advisory board.
3. How long have you been established? How were you established?
The idea for The Black Curriculum was borne in 2018 by our founder and CEO Lavinya Stennett. The vision to create The Black Curriculum came from first-hand experiences in British formal education, where she witnessed the effects of systemic disenfranchisement through the exclusion of Black pupils and Black British history. Young people learning general ‘Black history’ in the lone month of October was simply not good enough. During her study abroad in Aotearoa, New Zealand, she was interested in the way Indigenous and colonial history was a part of every day and made accessible to everyone at all ages. Lavinya believes in the power of education, and the arts to ultimately transform the lives of people.
4. What are you passionate about?
At the Black curriculum, we are passionate about education reform, providing young people with a sense of identity and promoting an anti-racist society. The list could go on, but ultimately we believe in the power of history and stories from the past. We are committed to the arts and humanities and using creative methods to promote critical thinking and nuanced modes of learning.
5. What area of your work do you think has the most impact on society?
This is an extremely difficult question to answer! If I had to pick just two- I would say our teacher training and our professional corporate workshops. Teachers are arguably the most important members of society. Many young people will see their teacher for most of their day throughout their formative years. What they learn inside and outside the classroom has a huge impact on the development of selfhood and identity. I think our teacher training allows teachers to develop the skills and confidence to teach important, and diverse histories. This in turn means that a greater number of students are being exposed to an inclusive curriculum which overall, has countless benefits for their development and society in general. I would say our corporate workshops are extremely impactful also. These are history lessons and training that we provide to professional organisations. They allow us to tackle industry-specific issues, whilst delivering engaging and dynamic sessions that empower participants on matters to do with race in the workplace.
6. What piece of work are you most proud of?
Again- this is an exceptionally hard question to answer! I don’t think I’d be able to pinpoint a single project or piece of work. But overall, I would say the consistency and impact that we’ve been able to achieve through our work is something that I think that we can be extremely proud of. This year has been a difficult one all-around, but as a supporter of The Black Curriculum since its inception, and later becoming a part of the team, I am super proud of the way in which the organisation has kept the vision, passion and enthusiasm for the work that we do. The level of commitment that I see every single day- from our CEO to team members, to freelancers- is inspiring to say the least.
7. Do you have anything exciting going on at the minute?
We do have a range of exciting projects coming- many that I have to keep under wraps for now! But we have an exciting new partnership with the Mayor of London’s office and an expansive range of professional workshops that have recently been rebranded and redeveloped.
8. What one thing do you want to see change over the next year to support your mission?
I want to see a cohesive commitment to racial equality. I hope to see organisations in all sectors make/continue their dedication to anti-racism and continually re-assess and evaluate what this looks Like.
9. What do you want to gain from this partnership?
We would like to develop a mutually beneficial relationship where we are able to receive and give support to your organisation and your mission.
10. What are your thoughts on InnovateHer, the work we are doing and the projects we are to collaborate on?
I personally think that intersectionality and the role it plays in all aspects of society is very key. I think it’s amazing that InnovateHer is doing incredible work to empower young women and girls and help them access industries that have typically been dominated by men.
11. What was the thought process behind your Black History Month hashtag, TBH365?
We wanted something that was memorable, yet in-line with our values and mission. ‘TBH365’ was a call for this country to ‘Teach Black History’ 365 days a year and not just during Black History Month. It was also a call for the education system ‘To Be Honest’ 365 days a year and teach histories that are truthful and reflect the past.
InnovateHer exists to serve and improve the community, so it’s absolutely vital for us to give back. This is why we have charity partners – brands that we admire and support. At the moment, we have 3 Charity partners. Chayn, a domestic violence charity, Princes Trust, a youth charity, and now – The Black Curriculum.
2. The Black Curriculum are to become one of our programme clients.
Our online Tech For Good programme lets students explore tech solutions for real-life problems and scenarios given by a client. Our first ever client was a Children’s hospital called Alder Hey. They gave us a list of real-life issues that they face, such as bedwetting or reluctance to take medication, and then the students on our programme were tasked with designing a tech solution to one of those issues.
Our most recent programme has focused on finding a tech solution for the challenges that COVID19 has introduced for us, such as loneliness and isolation.
For one of our future programmes, the Black curriculum will provide us with some real-life scenarios/challenges that they face with the supply and access to British Black History, and our students will be tasked with providing a tech solution for said challenges.
3. The Black Curriculum and InnovateHer will be collaborating on an event in the future.
As many of our friends know, we host exclusive monthly workshops for our members, which we have named our ‘Community Learning Series’. We also host a series called ‘Innovateher Presents’, which has a larger focus on career and upskilling. In 2021, we will collaborate with The Black Curriculum for one of these events, giving them a space to tell their story and connect with our network.
Keep in the loop with The Black Curriculum by joining their bustling Twitter community here.
Have any thoughts on this partnership? We would love to hear them. Why not drop us a message a firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to pay it forward this holiday? Check out our new Christmas gift pack below – in which all profits go to a good cause!
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