A celebration of diversity: Black students launch new exhibition at Potterrow

On Wednesday 4 October, the university’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Campaign and the African and Caribbean Society (ACS) launched their new exhibition: ‘Black Students of Edinburgh’ in Potterrow.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness for the diversity and achievements of black students at the University of Edinburgh.

BME Officer, Diva Mukherji, told The Student that the event was to “highlight black students at the University of Edinburgh and acknowledge the fact that they do exist here and they are doing incredible things.”

The event showcased a series of black-and-white photographs shot by Wami Aluko, a second year Economics and Philosophy student. The images featured portraits and group shots of black students currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.

Aluko told The Student, “this is the first time I have done something like this because a lot of my photography is centred on my culture, Nigerian culture, so this is different from what I do all year round.” She added that her usual work is “more colourful” and often involves “colour blocking.”

When talking to The Student, Chukwudi Anyadiegwu, vice president of the ACS and a second year Biomedical Sciences student, said, “At Edinburgh University especially, the black people are really not loud enough and we are not noticed that much.”

Anyadiegwu took part in the photo shoots and said that they “tried to pick random interesting places that people would know.”

“We want people to know that we are here, this is Teviot, this is Potterrow, we are members of this university.”

Haddy Jeng, a first year student International Relations student has recently joined the BME campaign and was also featured in the photographs.

She told The Student that the process of taking the pictures “was a lot of fun [which is] what made them as powerful as they are because everyone is enjoying themselves.

“We tried to capture what it means to be a BME student here.  It’s easy to forget about black causes and black people because there are not many of us.”

Rianna Andrews, a Theology student in her second year is an active member of the ACS and was DJ for the event.

She commented that, “when you come from somewhere like London, you’re used to that diversity and even though Edinburgh is multicultural to some extent, it still isn’t the same and you are very aware of your blackness here.

“This event is not only putting us on the map but is showing people, ‘yeah we are here and we are not being quiet.’”

President of the ACS, Elizabeth Kwenortey was a key organiser of the event and told The Student the exhibition “captures people in their beauty” and “shows how versatile and how multi-faceted black students at Edinburgh are.”

She thought the exhibition “would be a great time to bring attention to these students as it is black history month.”

Alongside the photographs, the event also showcased posters featuring prominent black historical figures including Angela Davis and Olive Morris.

Commenting on these, Kwenortey told The Student, “Black History Month is kind of essential. Personally, I wish it was talked more in [the] curriculum which has been lazy in teaching us about the same three figures [King, Mandela and Parks].”

 

Image: Sara Konradi / Photo Editor

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  1. AyerRight!
    Oct 12, 2017 - 06:17 PM

    WTF – So we are voluntarily munging their cultures together under a ‘Black’ banner…. that is so depressing and reductionist! Don’t want to project onto the exhibition, but the quote about London’s multiculturalism (that is a wonderfully wide church) cannot be equated to black culture only! it’s multicultural! And the UK’s black culture – it isn’t even a single culture!, The author is apparently celebrating the munging together of Afro-Caribbean and Nigerian cultures (albeit most likely overlapping via patterns generational migration) to accept being represented by ‘Black’ as a term?! Is that just our Youtube generation viewing ‘Black’ as a version of African American(?) rather than the notting hill carnival soul2soul version of multi-cultural ‘Black British’ engaging with raga, rap, reggae, soul etc etc? (I’m confused). I’m sad that the multiculturalism I was told by my mother growing up seems further away than ever….

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