Arena Academy Celebrate Black History Month

To celebrate Black History month, Arena Academy have hosted a series of ambitious events between the 1st and 5th October, tying in with the theme of “Our School; Our DNA.”

A huge and eclectic array of visitors diversified and enriched the thinking of our students – many of whom lent their own talents to the various assemblies and performances. All the guest speakers have been a tremendous source of inspiration, with talks that have been insightful, motivational and thought provoking.

The power of the arts to celebrate individuality was represented by a whole range of guest speakers. Internationally renowned local artist Barbara Walker gave an inspirational talk to year 11 students in assembly about her current work, projects and exhibitions and the pathway to becoming an artist.

Birmingham based composer Bobbie Gardner presented to students during the year 9 assembly, sharing her experiences of the “For-wards” project, which highlights local composers who collaborate together with organisations to record the sounds within communities in and around Birmingham.

Cultural producer and PhD candidate Ian Sergeant challenged students to reflect on identity and gender whilst the Godfather of ‘Black British Photography’ Vanley Burke shared his experiences of documenting the local area, told tales of meeting notable figures such as Muhammed Ali and Nelson Mandela, and recalled a lifetime capturing on film the contribution of the Windrush generation to the Second City. Marcia Dunkenly performed poetry as part of a workshop to English students.

Hanna Narme delivered a Computer Science talk to KS4 students, discussing key Black pioneers in Computer Science, while local musician and clarinettist, Anton Butler-Clarke, gave a fantastic solo performance.

Additional events took place including a film screening of “Black Panther”, a “Caribbean Cook off” competition with KS4 students taking part and also a facilitated discussion and debate on the use of the N word in contemporary society.

All the guest speakers have been a tremendous source of inspiration with talks that have been insightful, motivational and thought provoking. Arena Academy are immensely proud of all the students who have participated in workshops, talks and activities over the week, with exceptional live music, acting, dancing and singing performances from students; “Our School, Our DNA”. Well done all!