Oxford to mark Windrush Day 75 with a week-long festival of events
This year, the festival commemorates the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in Tilbury, Essex, on June 22nd, 1948. The ship brought 492 passengers from Caribbean islands like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago to address post-war labour shortages. The Oxford Windrush Group has organised this series of events, which encompasses the annual Windrush lecture, an exhibition, an activities day, and more.
The festival began on Monday, June 19th, with the launch of the Windrush Exhibition at Fusion Arts Window Galleries in Friar's Entry, Oxford. The exhibition includes work from three projects; The Caribbean Living Room, Finding Our Way, and the Ankara project. These highlight African cultural heritage and Windrush narratives. Additionally, on Monday, there was a storytelling event - Caribbean Stories with Jan Blake, taking place from 2.30 pm to 4 pm at the Oxford Community Action Kitchen on Crowell Road, Cowley. This event is free and open to individuals over 50, offering an opportunity to engage in Jan Blake's captivating storytelling and share personal reminiscences, stories, proverbs, and riddles.
On Thursday, June 22nd 2023, in honour of the 75th anniversary, the Windrush 75 flag will be raised over the Oxford Town Hall, symbolising the significance of this historical milestone.
The 4th annual Windrush memorial lecture was held at the Pitt Rivers Museum from 6pm on Thurs 22nd June, featuring Professor Robert Beckford, renowned for his work on 'The Empire Pays Back' (Channel 4, 2005). In ‘Social Justice: Religion, Morality and Reparations’, Prof. Robert Beckford will shed light on the crucial topic of reparations for the survivors of the British Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
This year's Windrush Day Memorial Lecture, titled 'Social justice: Religion, Morality and Reparation,' will be given by Prof. Robert Beckford. He is an activist scholar known for his work in social justice research and campaigning. Beckford has written eight books exploring the connections between religion, culture, and politics in the Black British experience after the diaspora. His latest book, "Decolonising Gospel Music Through Praxis: Handsworth Revolutions" (Bloomsbury 2023), examines the transformative potential of Rastafari's decolonial musicality on gospel music production in Britain.
The weekend gets busy with a whole series of events, starting off with the Windrush Activities Day. Between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 24th June, a day of family-friendly events will be taking place at the Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley. Drop into ‘Games People Play’ - Get ready for a day filled with activities, inspired by the games and traditions of the vibrant Caribbean culture! Discover fascinating objects & specimens from the Pitt Rivers Museum and get creative with arts & crafts activities supported by Museum of Oxford and Fusion Arts. No booking necessary, drop in throughout the day.
Wrapping up the week on Sunday, June 25th 2023, there will be a Memorial Service starting at 11am at John Bunyan Baptist Church, situated on Crowell Road, Cowley. The service will include an extended program and an award ceremony, followed by refreshments.
Throughout the month of June 2023, the Museum of Oxford is celebrating Windrush 75. Take the opportunity to explore the digital Windrush Generations exhibition, which can be accessed on the museum's online exhibition site or in the Museum of Oxford galleries. This exhibition showcases the Caribbean Living Room, featuring various objects, stories, and music, created in collaboration with the Afrikan and Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative (ACKHI) and the Ber-Bedo Kelo Lonyo United Women's Organization (BKLUWO). The exhibition will be available online from June 1st 2023 to June 30th 2023 on the Museum of Oxford website.
Visit the Oxford Windrush Group Facebook page for more information.