Students at Warrington & Vale Royal College have gained an insight into black heritage and embraced diversity as part of the college’s celebration of Black History Month.
A variety of workshops and enrichment activities have given students at the college’s Warrington and Hartford Campuses the chance to explore the importance of tolerance and respect in today’s society.
Black History Month is an annual event aimed at promoting and celebrating black contributions to British society, as well as fostering an understanding of black history in general.
As part of the week-long celebration – the first in a series of events this academic year aimed at promoting equality and diversity – students visited the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool to learn about the turmoil and hardship of black slaves. Wall and book display created in the college’s libraries to promote discussion and enhance the student learning experience.
Cheshire Police delivered a number of talks on hate crime, focusing on the theme of black minority groups and how to combat and report all hate crime, while students were also able to take part in demonstrations of Capoeira – an Afro-Brazilian martial art combining elements of dance, acrobatics and music.
Budding young actors and dancers at the college were able to take part in African dance workshops thanks to a visit from dance company, 2 Dance, culminating in a performance of their own choreographed piece during the college’s weekly staff briefing.
Emma Bennett, a level 3 dance student at the Warrington Campus, said: “Working with Tinu and Karim from 2 Dance gave us a fantastic opportunity to learn about black history through dance. Learning about African dance helped us to better understand the culture and also how this kind of dance and movement is used to express freedom.”
The week ended with a screening of the thought-provoking film, 12 Years a Slave.
Following the screening, one student said: “I have learned that it is important to acknowledge the fact that black people were treated in a disgusting way. We as a society need to become more accepting of others and not have this separation and discrimination anymore.”
Michael Smith, Director of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development, and Equality & Diversity Co-ordinator at the college, said: “As a college, we are proud to endeavour to celebrate diversity each and every day. Celebrating Black History Month has allowed us to further enhance staff and student awareness and encourage discussion and debate. By celebrating and embracing diversity, we are ensuring students understand the importance of tolerance, respect and treating everyone equally.”
Michael added: “We are passionate as a college to embrace equality & diversity as movement, not a moment. It is at the heart of what we do.”