The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre - 21 Years of Activism’

Wed, 19 Feb 2020 14:38:00 GMT

The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre is an open access library and archive specialising in race, ethnicity and migration. The institution is part of the University of Manchester Library’s Special Collections and situated in the basement of the city’s public, Central Library. On the 10 February 2020, the AIU Centre marked its 21st Anniversary with an informal celebration.

The event, ‘21 Years of Activism’, was attended by current and former staff, users and contributors, as well as trustees from the affiliated charity, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust. Honorary guests included Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility and Patrick Johnson, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion from the University of Manchester and Philip Cooke from Manchester City Council. Both organisations have been instrumental in the formation and continuing development of the Centre and their unique partnership on this project has enabled it to thrive.

After refreshments and the chance to renew old acquaintances, current Head of the AIU Centre, Safina Islam welcomed guests, and introduced the founder and first director, Lou Kushnick OBE. Lou was Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester in 1999, when the AIU Centre opened. His speech outlined the history of the institution, from its beginnings as a repository for books accumulated as a by-product of his time as editor of the journal, Sage: Race Relations Abstracts to its current manifestation as a nationally renowned hub of learning and expertise.

In particular, Lou acknowledged the AIU Centre’s debt of gratitude to its many supporters ‘willing to act’, often against the odds and with limited capacity or resources in pursuit of the institution’s anti-racism agenda. Their dedication and hard work has resulted in the development of rich collections, assembled in partnership with local communities that are accessible to everyone.

Activism remains central to the work of the AIU Centre and is the theme of its 21st anniversary programme. Look out for related events over the coming year.