Giving everyone a voice

  • 15
  • Feb

In 2015 Islington Council promised to promote ‘All World History, All Year Round’ so that all pupils would see themselves in the history that they study. Last year we heard about some of the fantastic work that was being done with Islington Schools. Now, two years on, Mona Bani, Director of Education and Culture of Every Voice, updates us on how the campaign is growing.

What achievements have you been most proud of?

Every Voice has always fought to make our education system fair and inclusive for all students, regardless of background. Since 2010 we have been fighting to embed a fully inclusive, world history narrative into the school curriculum and the cultural events programme for the Islington community.

Since the council motion was passed in 2015, we’ve been leading the All World History, All Year Roundcampaign, working closely with teachers to diversify the curriculum; deliver teacher training; provide schools with wider educational resources and deliver cultural and educational events to the community year round.

Over the past year, we’ve hosted a Youth History Conference for 60 Islington school students, which explored Ancient African Kingdoms, the History of Migration and the influence of African-Caribbean culture on Britain. We worked particularly closely with year 5-6 students at Hungerford andNewington Green primary schools to deliver workshops leading up to, and following, the conference so the students could lead some of the conference sessions.

We partnered with Chichester University to launch a national competition for 11-19 year olds to produce their own films, depicting the History of African-Caribbean communities of Britain in new ways. From a pilot, national competition, two schools from Islington took part and Newington Green primary won an award for their film ‘Our Journey Through African-Caribbean Culture’.

We also worked with Creative Islington, award-winning poet Anthony Anaxagorou and Child of Chief, a musician from Iranian, refugee heritage, to deliver a workshop programme at High Gate Hill Academy, using music and poetry to engage year 7-9 students in discussions around race, identity and personal heritage. This culminated in a showcase at Caxton House in March. One student’s heart-felt performance can be seen here.

You can see more more on our website.

This month is Black History Month, how can people get involved?

As mentioned before, we want to encourage communities, local authorities and the education system at large to move beyond the idea that ‘Black history’ – or any other non-European history – is an exotic add-on, which we dedicate a special month to and then return to our status quo for the rest of the year.

So this BHM we’d still would love people to get involved with our All World History, All Year Round campaign. They can do this by pressuring their local school to diversify its curriculum year round; choosing the new Migration modules offered by OCR; writing to their local MP calling for BHM to be integrated into year round local activities; and sharing/tweeting our campaign.

We’re also delivering a conference on 21st October with History Matters and Goldsmiths University, called New Perspectives on Black British History where young academics will present their work directly to educators, teachers and youth workers. Registration info here.

Finally, we’re planning a youth-led event in Islington this Oct, with Company Three, exploring the relationship between black girls and older black women through intergenerational story telling and theatre. Date & venue tbc but email if you’d like updates.

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