Black History Trail project

The Black History Trail project is designed to respond to the underrepresentation of students of African and Caribbean heritage in key disciplines at the University of Manchester.

The project aims to bring together University of Manchester Black students and Black school and college pupils to critically reflect and share their lived experiences as a Black student. In the form of a workshop the students will share their own personal journeys into higher education, it will introduce the pupils to a variety of different topics from the area they are studying and highlight the contributions of people of African and Caribbean heritage to the particular disciplines and subject areas in which they labour and learn.

The workshops will then be used to create a trail (virtual and physical) that pupils can access online and on campus to inform their decisions about progressing into higher education.

There are currently 46 Black students representing a variety of subject and discipline areas across the University. Throughout Black History Month this project will be delivered to Greater Manchester school pupils from all backgrounds with a main target audience being Black pupils. The ambassadors will be delivering the workshops virtually detailing their personal journeys and experiences as a student, and inspiring young people to journey into careers the same way they did. The workshops will introduce the learners to a variety of subjects ranging from English Literature to Aerospace and Engineering. The students will also teach the pupils about past and modern day Black pioneers in these subjects.

Catherine Millan, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Officer, said: “This project is about Black staff, students and pupils all coming together and sharing our personal journeys and experiences to help address the under representation of Black students in HE.

“I have worked with some fantastic students who have all come together to be the people they had never seen when they were growing up. Representation is such an important part of this project and we want to ensure that in particular Black school and college pupils see themselves in careers they want to pursue. It’s about telling the hidden stories of pioneering Black people throughout history and modern day, and using that as a tool to inspire the next generation of Black young people to go into Higher Education. Creating the Black History Trail project has been a real career highlight and I want to thank all the staff across the University who have supported what we are doing”

Agnes Harding, 3rd Year Physics student, talks of her involvement: “This has been a great project to get involved in. Being the only Black Female student in Physics I understand the importance of representation and how it can impact your decision making especially in Education. I want to show young Black girls in particular that this is a career for us and we belong”.

Cheles Bruno, 2nd year Law student, explains: “Being an African-Caribbean in todays society means we are overwhelmed with a negative impression of the law and justice system. We very rarely get to see black people in law, especially those who have made a difference within our society. When I was presented with an opportunity to participate in the Black History Trail Project I jumped at the chance. This project offers an opportunity to highlight our successes in different fields. I am passionate about this project and showing young black people that we can succeed in this career and make a difference in the world and our society.