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Oxford Launches its Programme of Events to Mark Windrush Day 2021

21/04/2021

Today (Thursday 22 April) is Stephen Lawrence Memorial Day, a day that both commemorates the short yet impactful life of Stephen Lawrence, who was tragically murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993, and gives us room to reflect on the part we all play in removing racial inequality from society.

With this focus in mind, the Oxford Windrush Group has announced its programme for this year’s national Windrush Day, which is on Tuesday 22 June. As in previous years, events will take place in the weeks leading up to and following the day itself.

More detail and confirmation of times will be released over the coming few weeks, but for now, get the following dates in your diaries. You can keep in the loop with what is happening by visiting the Oxford Windrush Facebook page.

Tuesday 25 May | Remembrance

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, the Oxford Windrush Group will host an In Conversation With event at the Oxford Brookes Creative Industries Festival. The talk will feature Euton Daley (Unlock the Chains Collective), Amantha Edmead (Kuumba Nia Arts) and Haroun Shah (Nostalgia Steelband and Carnival Club) who will discuss the history of diverse arts and cultural forms in the UK as well as current initiatives and future possibilities for Caribbean creative expressions. Oxford-based writers and film makers, Femi Nylander and Rob Lemkin are producing African Apocalypse, a feature-length documentary to be shown on the BBC. This harrowing yet urgent documentary will shine a lens on the trauma and legacy of colonialism in one of Africa’s poorest nations, Niger, and will also bring the story back to Oxford.

Friday 18 - Saturday 19 June | Still Breathing

Unlock the Chains Collective at Arts at the Old Fire Station Still Breathing voices collectively felt fears, frustrations, fatigue, and anger at yet another black life being taken by a system that is meant to be there to protect. Through a fusion of dance, music, song and spoken word, these performances will explore a sense of hopelessness, deja vu, resilience and a renewed spirit of hope in the struggles for equality, justice and freedom. This project is supported by Oxford Playhouse, The North Wall Arts Centre, Dancin’ Oxford and TORCH.

Saturday 19 June | See, Think, Wonder, Create

Templars Square Shopping Centre Experience taster workshops, performance demonstrations, and even a carnival with steel pan, African drums, and dancing! At See, Think, Wonder, Create, you will be able to discover objects and specimens from the museums and gardens of the University of Oxford and share your own creativity through family-friendly arts and crafts activities supported by Museum of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University.

Tuesday 22 June | National Windrush Day Windrush Lecture

Pitt Rivers Museum A prominent speaker is set to deliver a talk on Windrush day followed by a Q&A session. There will also be the opportunity to find out more about the Windrush compensation schemes.

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 June | Belonging

Gloucester Green Market – part of the Offbeat Festival Belonging is an innovative combined arts project that explores people, place, and identity. It will collect people’s stories and thoughts around the theme of belonging – what does it mean to belong? How do we know when we belong? These ideas will then be used to produce art that will be collated into a tapestry and writing that will inspire a new piece of performance, both works to be developed for 2022.

Griot Chinyere and Amantha Edmead perform in #Ending the Silence by Unlock the Chains Collective at the Old Fire Station, 2018. Photo by David Fisher

Sunday 4 July | Taste and Feel of the Caribbean

Part of Cowley Road Carnival Whilst not on the streets again this year due to the pandemic, a group of young people will attempt to recreate the taste, feel, colour and look of the 26 Caribbean Islands. No mean feat and possibly a world record!? Expect flags, food, headdresses, and lots of vibrant colours.

Don’t forget – Still open to visit: Caribbean Living Room | Exhibition

58 Between Towns Road, Oxford At Templars Square in Cowley, you will find a pop-up exhibition with a difference! In 2018, ACKHI and BK.LUWO created a reconstruction of a typical West Indian front living room from the 1960s at the Museum of Oxford to mark the 70th anniversary of the docking of the SS Empire Windrush. Head over to 58 Between Towns Road to learn and hear more about the experiences of the Windrush Generation.

The Caribbean Living Room at 58 Between Towns Road

Nice Cup of Tea? | Art installation

Gallery 40, Ashmolean Museum This installation, by artists Enam Gbewonyo and Lois Muddiman in collaboration with BK.LUWO and Fran Monks, was part of the Oxford Windrush 2019 programme to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the docking of the SS Empire Windrush.

A cup of tea represents comfort for many of us, but every sip connects us to the legacy of the British Empire, global trade and transatlantic slavery. The fashion for drinking sweetened tea from China inspired the luxury tea sets in the Ashmolean European Ceramics Gallery. Behind this wealth was the brutal exploitation of enslaved people producing sugar in the West Indies. Crafted over cups of tea, this installation amplifies the stories, lives and resilience of Oxford’s communities, particularly those of Oxford’s Windrush generation and African Caribbean community, many of whom have family links to the transatlantic slave trade.

To keep up to date with Windrush Day events in Oxford, follow the Oxford Windrush Facebook group: www.facebook.com/oxfordwindrush/. For more information about Stephen Lawrence Day and to donate to the foundation please visit stephenlawrenceday.org/.

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