Being Black in Bristol in 2017

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Being Black in Bristol
in  2017

Being Black in Bristol in 2017


New film by local director gets under the skin


#ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack Launch and Debate


On Friday 20th October at 7.30pm the Black Southwest Network (BSWN) launches the challenging documentary #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack. The film, funded by the Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) as part of a wider history project, looks at the relationships between heritage, race, identity and belonging for the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) community in Bristol.

Made and directed by local filmmaker, Michael Jenkins of 8th Sense Media, #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack focuses on how BME individuals and communities in Bristol express their identity and heritage in post-Brexit England. Recent nationalistic rhetoric linked to the Brexit campaign has stirred up racial tension and vitriol, and triggered the questioning of the place of people of colour in the UK. The film #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack goes beyond the headlines to study the impact of these politics on local lives and real people.

Michael Jenkins, Director, 8th Sense Media, said: “This has been a great project to work on. As a Bristolian filmmaker with African Caribbean heritage the topic resonates with me on a personal level. It was fascinating and empowering hearing what other local people from the Black community think and feel. And I am proud to have helped give them a voice on this really important topic at such a decisive moment in the UK’s history.”

Through conversations with BME Bristolians of different generations, #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack charts the changing nature of BME identity in the city. The documentary features interviews with members of the community, local activists and political leaders. Providing a frank and powerful insight into what it means to be Black and Bristish in Bristol today.

Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network, said: “We’re very excited to be launching the film #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack during Black History Month 2017. During such times of change and re-evaluation of our identity, as a country and as a community, this film is a powerful and unique examination of what it means to be Black, British and living in Bristol right now. The film deserves to be seen and shared widely.”

Produced in partnership with 8th Sense Media, the film builds on the production company’s vision of using documentaries to unearth hidden truths and let real voices be heard. To support this ambition, #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack was made with the help of trained BME volunteers from the local community.

This project is the fourth in a series of BSWN Heritage Lottery Funded projects that have focused on the place and heritage.

Following the film, Deputy Mayor Asher Craig (Bristol City Council), writer, broadcaster and barrister Afua Hirsch, researcher Maya Goodfellow, Omar Khan (director of the Runneymede Trust) and writer and broadcaster David Olusoga will explore issues of identity, inclusion and belonging in future cities in a discussion.

For further information contact:

Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network


Phone number: 07825348976


Twitter:  @BlackSWNet


About Black South West Network (BSWN):

BSWN is a BAME-led organisation that delivers race equality work in the South West of England. We do this through a combination of undertaking robust, BAME-led research into the social and economic issues that affect BAME communities; developing mechanisms that enable BAME people to influence decision-makers and have an equal dialogue with them; developing relationships and collaborations that deliver race equality, on the ground and in the corridors of power; and developing projects that help BAME communities develop socially and economically by their own agency.

About the speakers:

David Olusoga is a British Nigerian historian, writer and broadcaster. He has presented a number of historical documentaries on the BBC and contributed to The One Show and The Guardian. His historical subjects have focused on military history, race and slavery.

Cllr. Asher Craig has over 30 years experience as a community activist, leader, management consultant and now politician.  She has championed the needs of the voice-less, with a particular emphasis on the social-economic development ofBME and under-represented communities. In March 2017 Asher was asked to step into the new role of Deputy Mayor – Communities, bringing into & elevating the issue of Public Health within this new portfolio. 

Afua Hirsch is a writer, broadcaster, barrister and human rights development worker of Ghanaian, English and Jewish heritage. She is the Social Affairs and Education Editor for Sky News and was previously a correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian.

Maya Goodfellow is the Graduate Teaching Assistant in the departments of Development Studies and Politics and International studies at the SOAS University of London. She is also a writer and researcher, and a regular columnist for Media Diversified and Labour List at the Guardian. Her work mostly focuses on UK politics, gender and race. 

Dr. Omar Khan is Runnymede's Director. Prior to this he was Runnymede's Head of Policy and led the financial inclusion programme. Omar has also published many articles and reports on political theory and British political history for Runnymede over the past eight years and has spoken on topics including multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage, and positive action.


Additional South West Network (BSWN) events for Black History Month 2017

As part of Black History Month this October, Black South West Network (BSWN) and its partners will contribute to this celebration by organising and supporting several events centred on the topics of race, identity, heritage and belonging in Bristol and post-Brexit Britain.

As part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project #ThereIsBlackInTheUnionJack project we are hosting a series of events and debates in partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas, as part of the Festival of Future City 2017. In addition, BSWN will also be hosting three events as part of the Bristol Somali Festival, a sister festival to the annual London Somali festival.

For more information about BSWN, our core programme and upcoming events, please visit our website: