University of Sheffield celebrates Black History Month

University of Sheffield celebrates Black History Month

 October 16, 2018

Black History Month has seen the launch of the University of Sheffield's Wall of BAME. Working with the Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network and Students' Union, the University of Sheffield has been sharing stories about members of staff, students and alumni from BAME backgrounds, and celebrating their achievements.

Afua O Twum-Danso Imoh, University of Sheffield lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood and Chair of the Black, Asian and Other Minority (BAME) Staff Network 

“When I finished my PhD in May 2008 one of the first jobs I saw was based in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield and was directly linked to my area of research and expertise. I applied and was successful and therefore, moved my family from London to Sheffield, a place I had only been to once when I was about 13," says Afua.

Afua has been working in the Department of Sociological Studies for a decade and says it has been a great experience as this was her first full-time lectureship. She has learnt a lot and received a great deal of support from her department in both teaching and research.

"One of the things I have enjoyed most during my time at Sheffield is that I have the opportunity to teach in the area of research which is focused on childhoods in the Global South and through my modules, I’m able to contribute to the development of a global consciousness among our students which I think is a critical attribute of a University of Sheffield graduate," adds Afua.

"In terms of future plans academically, my aim is to continue to contribute to the development of my field of global childhood studies. In terms of the BAME Staff Network, I would like to see an improvement in the lived experiences of different groups of BAME staff and students at the University of Sheffield as well as the initiation of a conversation about race and inclusivity.”

Annalisa Johnson, University of Sheffield Postgraduate student at the Department of Journalism Studies and co-founder of social enterprise Our Mel

Annalisa came to the University to study an MA in International Public and Political Communications, after being awarded a postgraduate scholarship. Annalisa says it was an absolute dream come true, having been working full time in marketing and personal relations, running my social enterprise Our Mel and being a community activist.

"I was nervous about coming back to full-time education after ten years, but the department has made the transition really smooth and made me feel at ease," says Annalisa. "The BAME Staff Network, Students’ Union team and University staff have been amazing and have helped support me in running events for Black History Month – including helping to bring journalist and Guardian writer Afua Hirsch to the University for an ‘in conversation’ event. I have also joined Forge Press and Radio, including the opportunity to host my own show and invited to talk at the TEDx University of Sheffield."

Annalisa's career aspirations included working towards specialising in political campaign communications as well as building up Our Mel and Melaninfest, the arts and cultural festival for Black History Month that she founded in 2016. Ultimately, she would also love to study a PhD at the University of Sheffield particularly in the area of conflict and crisis communications.

Ade Solanke, acclaimed screenwriter and playwright

Ade was born and brought up in West London by Nigerian parents, along with her three sisters. She came to the University of Sheffield to study English Literature in 1981 and loved the bustling, multi-cultural and energetic city. She wrote for the student newspaper Darts and believes that her Sheffield experiences laid the foundation for her career in telling stories.

After graduation she wrote as an arts journalist, and later formed a PR company which focussed on promoting other artist’s work. It was during this time, and for this work, that Ade was named London’s Top Youth Entrepreneur by the London Enterprise Agency.

Following this Ade developed an interest in screenwriting, and in 1992 received a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue screenwriting for her Master’s in California. She stayed in the US for a time, working in Hollywood for Disney, New Line and the Sundance Institute as a story analyst.

After five years in the USA Ade returned to London. After teaching scriptwriting at Goldsmiths, University of London for a time she turned her attention to writing for theatre. Her debut play, Pandora’s Box, provided a moving portrayal of the experience of the African diaspora. The show sold out in London before touring nationally, and was nominated as Best New Play at the Off West End Theatre Awards.

Through her work she has promoted the untold stories of African heritage, founding the company Spora Stories. The group creates original scripts for both stage and screen, and has been widely recognised for its work. During her sterling career, Ade has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and held the position of the British Film Institute writer-in-residence.

In 2016 she was presented with the Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Sheffield. The Award recognises alumni who have achieved distinction in their profession and made outstanding contributions to business and community life, and is named in honour of a former Vice-Chancellor.

Paula Ugochukwu, undergraduate student at the Department of Journalism Studies

Paula chose to study Journalism at the University of Sheffield because she felt it is the best journalism course in the country. "The department has great facilities and lecturers who have extensive experience. By studying here I knew I would be giving myself a good foundation to build my media career on," says Paula.

Paula loves studying and working at the University of Sheffield because she has met lots of amazing people from all over the world. Having diverse, friendly people is important to her, especially being from London, so she's glad that that has been her experience of both the city and the University of Sheffield.

"I am working towards a dynamic digital media career, creating videos and content for different organisations. Through the knowledge I've learnt on my course and through external placements and jobs I've had over the last three years, I have the skills desirable in the digital media industry," says Paula. "I want to own my own enterprise where I create, produce and develop videos, content and creative branding for different organisations."

Join talented women like Afua, Annalisa, Ade and Paula at the University of Sheffield

With a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and gender equality, there are plenty of opportunities for strong candidates in a host of academic and support roles. Search and apply for exciting and challenging roles with the University of Sheffield today. 

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