A series of events, talks, activities and industry projects came together across the month of October to give students a chance to share what makes them #ProudToBe and mark Black History Month.
Year 10 and Year 11 students had dedicated Form Tutor sessions to mark the month including discussions around racism utilising the recent BAFTA-winning documentary series that follows a British school as it helps its students uncover and eradicate hidden racial biases – The School That Tried to End Racism. As well as this – students watched a pre-recorded presentation from Global’s Jenny ‘Shine’ Steel – a Broadcast Journalist based in Leeds – who gave us a chance to think about representation in the media and some of her black heroes including Nurse Mary Seacole, fashion designers Charlie and Joey Casley-Hayford, TV talent Moira Stuart, Floella Benjamin and Andi Peters as well as sport stars Frank Bruno, Tessa Sanderson and Lynford Christie.
Jenny also came down to the Global Academy to run a session with KS4 and KS5 students about her motivations and the importance of being her authentic self. Her extended talk with Sixth Formers gave lots of practical tips on how to navigate the industry – particularly as a woman of colour – with guidance and suggestions of how to build an authentic personal brand.
There was also a wide range of industry guests speaking to our students to celebrate their story and black heritage – as well as guide our students into the importance of being their authentic self-including Global Academy alumni DeMarkay Williams who graduated from Global Academy in 2018. DeMarkay spoken to KS4 students about his journey and his series of podcasts he has created which celebrate black pioneers in media such as Barbara Blake who was the first black reporter for ITV. As well as Desree, we were joined by Desree Gumbs-Carty – a spoken word artist, writer and educator who explored intersectionality, justice and social commentary as well as navigating the media industry as a female person of colour in a fantastic g:talk session.
We also celebrated National Inclusion Week too as Sophia Martin, Vice Principal Behaviour and Safety was joined by Global Academy graduates Narveer Toor – who is now a Marketing Apprentice at the BBC and D’Angelo Briscoe – who is now a Broadcast Assistant at Capital as well as Remel London, Capital XTRA presenter and host of The Mainstream podcast to discuss ‘The Future of Media – how Global and Global Academy are attracting and developing diverse talent and supporting them to take up a career in the media. The 30 minute panel discussion also featured Naren Patel from Media For All – and was shared with students alongside a discussion during tutor time across a week. The video was also shared with Global staff and employees via their internal intranet and in their quarterly company meeting.
There were also lots of opportunities for students to work with creative industry professionals as part of our celebrations for Black History Month.
A group of sixth formers took part in a virtual event hosted by PwC which celebrated black heritage within their company and discussed how students can take part in their Flying Start programme to kickstart a career.
Year 11 students worked closely with The UnCommon Collective – a unique media company that places value on creating lasting social change and representation by bringing together young people and brands aimed development of those from ethnically diverse backgrounds or lower social-economic groups. Students heard from the company director Gerry Anyanwu about the importance of creating advertising that is inclusive for all audiences. Over the month in our Media and Science lessons – we worked with SknHr on a unique inclusivity project that was designed to breakdown the field of science and media and look at it through the lens of the diverse community it is supposed to be representing. Students learnt in their science lessons how beauty products are made for those from Black communities and in their media lessons on how best to engage those audiences with the product.
Sixth Formers also worked with BBC Creative and Ideas Foundation on a unique brief aimed at promoting TV content to young audiences from black and ethnic minority backgrounds with their recent release of Noughts and Crosses. Based on Malorie Blackman’s bestselling novels, Noughts + Crosses follows Sephy and Callum, two characters from different ethnic backgrounds who fall in love in dystopian London and will have to try to breach the divide between the black elite and white underclass. Students worked with industry professionals to unpick the stories and themes within the show such as the impact of racism and then developed a marketing campaign to engage audiences across digital, Out of Home and experiential. Students were then invited to the BBC Creative offices in West London to pitch their ideas to senior figures in the creative team.
On working with our students -Helen Poole, Creative Programme Director of Ideas Foundation commented:
They were a brilliant group and worked so well together – it’s not often we have all groups working so well together. We were also really impressed with the questions they asked to visitors which really showed their interest and enthusiasm. I’m sure they will all go on to do great things!
Helen Poole, Creative Programme Director – Ideas Foundation
It was great to have a huge and varied programme of activity across the month at Global Academy to celebrate Black History Month. We are proud to have a diverse and inclusive community here at Global Academy and are excited to work with industry partners to prepare all learners for a career in the creative industry no matter their background, upbringing or community.