Black Studies

Black Studies is an interdisciplinary subject rooted in the experiences of African diasporic communities and in a commitment to improving the conditions faced by communities on a local, national and global scale. The field is an emerging discipline in the UK that Birmingham City University is at the forefront of developing.

Black studies cluster image

We are also leading the way in transforming the Eurocentric curriculum, launching the first Black Studies undergraduate degree programme in Europe in 2017. We have since expanded and now offer the following  courses:

One of our principal areas of research is into the course itself and how the changes in curriculum, pedagogy and engagement with stakeholders off-campus have improved the student experience.

The Black Studies cluster actively seeks to develop a network of researchers, students and activists externally and within Birmingham City University. The cluster has formed a close link with the Black Studies Association and is at the forefront of the national agenda of developing Black Studies.

Areas of activity

  • Black organisations and the voluntary sector
  • Black radical politics
  • Racism and resistance in education
  • Black student experience
  • The representation of black women in the media
  • Oral histories of local communities
  • The overrepresentation of black communities in mental health services
  • Health inequalities in black communities

Research staff


Blackness in Britain Book Series

Blackness in Britain is the first series of books bringing together cutting edge research on Black experiences in Britain. The series, published by Zed Books covers the interdisciplinary nature of Black Studies including work from sociology, politics, cultural studies, education, health and history.

The series will also feature key edited collections that frame Black Studies in Britain, bringing together both local and national work. For too long the experiences and struggles of the African and African Caribbean populations have been largely overlooked by academia and the series aims to fill in some of the gaps in knowledge, which have been created by this neglect.

Titles published so far can be found at

To submit a proposal please email Kehinde Andrews.

Editorial Review Board

Professor Hakim Adi, Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester, UK

Professor Robert Beckford, Professor of Theology and Culture in the African Diaspora, Canterbury Christchurch University, UK

Dr Ben Carrington, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin, USA

Professor Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, USA

Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA Law School, USA

Professor Gus John, Institute of Education, UCL, UK

Dr Patricia Noxolo, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Birmingham, UK

Dr Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American and African Studies, UC Berkeley, USA

Dr Shirley Anne Tate, Associate Professor in Race and Culture, University of Leeds, UK

Professor Cecile Wright, Honorary Professor of Sociology, Nottingham University, UK

Beyond the Black Atlantic

There is a crisis in British higher education, in terms of the lack of representation of Black (African and African Caribbean) scholars and knowledge.

Only 1.1% of British born academics are Black and the academy has largely marginalised the experiences and contributions of Black communities.

This gap in academic knowledge is important because it means that society has not fully accounted for the impacts of its diversity. The marginalisation of Black experiences has consequences not just for the equality agenda but, more importantly, for knowledge production.

If a significant section on the population is locked out of academia then the knowledge produced is itself exclusionary. It is no surprise, then, that the policy agenda and discourse is so discriminatory when the knowledge upon which it is based is so exclusionary.

The Blackness in Britain: Beyond the Black Atlantic research network funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council sought to redress this marginalisation by bringing together an interdisciplinary range of academics, activists and artists who will engage in conferences, workshops and symposiums exploring Black life in Britain, and making links across the African Diaspora.

A specific aim of the network was to to explore aspects of the history of Black populations in the UK and also the contribution of the Black Arts movement to both activism and knowledge. We also intend to explore beyond the concept of the Black Atlantic, which has focused discussion on English speaking African Diasporas.

The aim of the network is to produce fully establish a Black Studies professional association and peer-reviewed journal, which can continue to develop work in the area of Black Studies after the completion of the project.

The research network is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the highlight notice for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.

A number of events took place in 2017 and 2018 to build the global network. For more info email