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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Black History Month in Sheffield

Black History Month is an annual month-long celebration of the histories, triumphs, and achievements of Black people of African and Caribbean descent. It was first celebrated in the United States in 1926 by American historian Carter G. Woodson and began in the UK in 1987, taking place in October every year since.

Black History Month is also a time to recognise marginalised voices in society. It is about reflecting on the struggles, oppression, and resistance that Black people have faced over the years. It is an opportunity for everyone to recognise that Black history is more than just the history of slavery or Martin Luther King.

This year, there is a range of activities planned for Sheffield's Black History Month to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the achievements of Black Britons right here in our Steel City.

From 1st to the 31st of October, our programme guide features events happening across Sheffield, including educational workshops, community art exhibitions, film screenings, comedy nights, talks, and gigs. These events highlight the achievement and contributions of Black people to Sheffield's history, and celebrate cultural identity and heritage through music, food, and art. There will be something for everyone in a celebration that is a continued honouring of the rich culture and heritage of Black people.

Scroll through our guide below to see what's still in store for you across our wonderful historic city and get involved with a cultural celebration of Black joy!

Written by Annalisa Toccara.

Take it to the Streets: Hidden Voices in Sheffield Archives – Désirée Reynolds and Cheryl Bailey

Thu. 21 October 2021

Millennium Gallery

Join writer Désirée Reynolds and archivist Cheryl Bailey for a fascinating look into some of the hidden histories, Black and marginalised voices and important discoveries found in Sheffield Archives.

Adoptee Voices: What We Wish You Knew

Thu. 21 October 2021

Join Annalisa Toccara (founder of Our Mel) and Shania Ives (co-founder of Adoptee Futures) for an online panel event discussing Black adoption, trauma development, and identity. The webinar will talk about “What Adoptees Wish Their Parents Knew.”

The Ants and the Grasshopper + Seeking Aline

Sun. 24 October 2021

Israac Somali Community Association, 54 Cemetery Road, S11 8FP

In collaboration with Sheffield DocFest, Israac Somali Community Association and the Diaspora Multimedia Hub bring a special two-film screening with Q&A. Featuring primarily African women, exploring themes of climate change, feminism and imperialism.

The Story of a Three Day Pass

Mon. 25 October 2021

Showroom

An innovative feature debut from 1967, a whirlwind romance exploring the psychology of an interracial relationship. A fascinating commentary by Melvin Van Peebles on France’s contradictory attitudes about race that is playful, sarcastic & insightful.

Welcome II the Terrordome

Thu. 28 October 2021

Showroom

Ngozi Onwurah's Welcome II the Terrordome is a rough diamond of 90s British cinema, a ferocious dystopian nightmare and Afrofuturist vision. Followed by a discussion with award-winning film exhibition company We Are Parable and Being Human Festival.

Culture Kitchen – Celebrating Black History Month Through Cuisine

Fri. 29 October 2021

Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, S1 1WB

Learn how to prepare dishes from around the world in honour of Black History Month with LevelUp's first 'Culture Kitchen.' A day of celebration that’s guaranteed to be full of flavour with dishes from Jamaica, Nigeria, Guyana and more.

Exploring The Man | Puberty Presented By Namiuki Dance

Fri. 29 October 2021

Theatre Deli

Namiuki Dance presents a spirited performance exploring: what does it mean to be a man? This Arts Council funded educational & participatory project explores neglect, disposable bodies, consent, and self-love through movement and character.

The ADIRA African-Caribbean Market

Mon. 25 October 2021 — Sat. 30 October 2021

Fargate, S1 2HE

A festival to honour Windrush memories with first-hand experiences of elders from the Windrush generation. With food stalls, an art exhibition, a Black history archive, a ‘human library,’ plus live performances from African dancers and poets.

Poets Respond to Jean Binta Breeze

Sat. 30 October 2021

Millennium Gallery

A celebration of the life and work of Jean Binta Breeta with poets reading new work inspired by Jean including Sheffield Poet Laureate Warda Yassin, Sile Sibanda, Danae Wellington and other guests. Part of Black Women Write Now at Off the Shelf.

This One Sky Day – Leone Ross in conversation with Désirée Reynolds

Sat. 30 October 2021

Millennium Gallery

Novelist and short story writer Leone Ross talks about her work, including her latest novel This One Sky Day – the tale of two lovers on the imaginary Caribbean archipelago of Popisho who must find their way back to each other over a single day.

The Fortune Men – Nadifa Mohamed in conversation with Désirée Reynolds

Sat. 30 October 2021

Millennium Gallery

Longlisted for the Booker Prize, The Fortune Men tells the story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali man living in Cardiff in 1952 – a father, chancer, petty thief. Nadifa Mohamed will talk about her powerful, timely novel, with author Désirée Reynolds.

Patrice Lawrence in conversation with Désirée Reynolds

Sat. 30 October 2021

Millennium Gallery

Hear author Patrice Lawrence talk about her journey as a writer and why music can’t help creeping into her books. Her first novel Orangeboy won the Waterstones Book Prize for Older Children. She also has a story included in new anthology Happy Here.

Margaret Busby in conversation with Désirée Reynolds

Sat. 30 October 2021

Hear editor, writer and broadcaster Margaret Busby talk about her remarkable life and career. A woman of firsts, Margaret became Britain’s youngest and first Black woman book publisher in 1967. Part of Black Women Write Now at Off the Shelf Festival.

African Europeans – Professor Olivette Otele

Sat. 30 October 2021

In this pre-recorded reading, Olivette Otele traces a long African European heritage through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary. Olivette sheds light on questions very much alive today – on racism, identity, and citizenship.

Black History Month Carnival

Sat. 30 October 2021

University of Sheffield Students' Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG

Join Sheffield Students’ Union for a Black History Month Carnival with food vendors, cultural performances, live music, and market stalls from local, Black-owned businesses.

Do The Right Thing

Sat. 30 October 2021

Showroom

Set in Brooklyn at the height of summer and taking place over a single day, Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing follows the interactions of a cast of unforgettable characters as tensions rise along racial fault lines. A landmark in American cinema.

Black History Month Exhibition

Thu. 14 October 2021 — Sun. 31 October 2021

Theatre Deli

Join Theatre Deli Sheffield for a special Black History Month exhibition, celebrating and highlighting local Black visual artists and work. Available to view and purchase.

Passing the Baton: The Legacy of the Windrush Pioneers

Mon. 1 November 2021

Theatre Deli

Join Nyara School of Arts for an intergenerational film focusing on Sheffield's Windrush generation and how it has shaped the city and influenced Sheffield's language, arts, and culture.