Melanin Fest

Multiple locations
- , 2017

Tickets cost £ various (many events are free)

A citywide celebration of black excellence marking Black History Month.

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Melanin Fest From01/10

Each October is Black History Month in the UK – a celebration of our diverse society and an opportunity to tell stories that are still often left out of our history lessons. Coinciding with Black History Month this year, Sheffield is hosting the first Melanin Fest, turning people's attention to the present, celebrating black talent and shining a spotlight on the experiences of people of colour in Britain today.

The grassroots festival is organised by Our Mel, a collective formed by Annalisa Toccara and Gabriela Thompson, who met through last year's Sheffield Black Lives Matter peace walk – get to know them better in our Q&A. It'll bring together workshops, film screenings, gigs, open mic nights, exhibitions and discussions, on everything from Maya Angelou to black mental health and feminism.

Curated by Bee Tajudeen, Black Blossoms is an exhibition exploring socio-political issues, self-love and feminism from the perspective of black women artists living in Britain. The exhibition is currently touring the country – and, happily, will be stopping off in Sheffield at the Showroom for Melanin Fest, from 16 to 26 October. There'll also be a couple of events tied to the exhibition: a life drawing session for women and non-binary people hosted by Our Naked Truths at 35 Chapel Walk, and a panel discussion about the themes explored in the exhibition.

Screenings at the Showroom, meanwhile, are a mix of family-friendly films like Queen of Katwe, coming-out drama Pariah, documentaries, and more – see the Showroom's full programme of Melanin Fest films. Elsewhere, film events include Hidden Figures at Broomhall Community Cinema, the documentary Generation Revolution, and a screening and discussion about British Black Panther Darcus Howe.

On the music and performance side of things, Hagglers Corner is hosting Diversity Fest, bringing together all kinds of poets and musicians for a day-long statement of unity and mutual respect between Sheffield's many communities. Get your skates on at the Superfunk Rollerdisco, make your voice heard at an open mic, and be healed by Words of Recovery at Theatre Deli. And round off the month with a day of drumming and dance workshops and performances at MAMAWE Afro Pean Dance Festival.

Melanin Fest's series of talks, meanwhile, includes Anglo-Nigerian historian and radio/TV producer David Olusoga, a look at race and academia, and a special edition of the ever brilliant PechaKucha social discussion night. On top of all that, the festival is hosting the launch of The Black Girl’s Alliance in Sheffield, a packed evening of speakers and networking for women of colour in collaboration with Nadia Jama (Labour BAME officer), an introduction to campaigning, a community walk to discuss black men's mental health, and a day dedicated to The Black Mind.

See the full programme.

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