Reflecting on Racial Inequalities in the Discipline of History


By Kerry Pimblott

In October 2018 the Royal Historical Society (RHS) released a landmark report on Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History. Building on the foundational work of student-led educational justice movements such as the National Union of Students’ Black Students’ Campaign, ‘Rhodes Must Fall’, and the UCL-founded ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ campaign as well as initiatives led by Black historians and teachers like History Matters, the RHS report spotlights systemic inequalities in the way History is taught as well as in the underrepresentation and discriminatory treatment experienced by BME historians.

Chief among the report’s findings were the following:

  • Historical & Philosophical Studies (H&PS) undergraduate student cohorts are overwhelmingly White, and have lower proportions of BME students (11.3%), than the overall UK undergraduate population (23.9%);
  • BME representation in H&PS departments diminishes further at postgraduate level, with just 8.6% of H&PS UK…

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Interview with IN:COLOUR

by Kerry Pimblott

There’s a new zine in town…

IN:COLOUR is a new student-led publication by and for BME creatives and focused on issues of race, identity and culture. The project was the brainchild of two young historians and fellow Race, Roots & Resistance members: Hana Ward and Amaal Cansuur-Cali. The first issue is slated for release next month at what promises to be a memorable launch event in Manchester.

We took a few minutes to catch up with the zine’s Editorial Team…


So, where did the idea for IN:COLOUR come from and who or what were your inspirations?

The idea to start a zine focused on race was due to various reasons. It began with realising that there was a lack of BAME representation on campus. University is daunting for most people, but as an ethnic minority it adds an extra dimension to navigate through which incredibly alienating. This was the driving factor behind Hana and Amaal’s decision to create something which would bring people together and provide them with a support base and creative outlet to talk about how their racial identity impacts their lives.

Although there are plenty of University publications… none seemed to overtly focus on race and racism. Perhaps this is because race is still seen as a buzzword, symptomatic of identity politics, but the reality is that race affects relationships at every level in society and beyond. Those who excuse it as a buzzword have either internalised the racial prejudice they receive, or are simply unaffected by it.

Therefore, IN:COLOUR serves as a means to take control of the conversation around race in order to empower voices which are silenced by society or spoken for by well-meaning white liberals.

We were heavily inspired by the award-winning zine gal-dem which based in Bristol and run by women and non-binary people of colour.

The founders of IN:COLOUR are historians-in-training. What role did history play in your decision to launch this project?

Yes, the founders of IN:COLOUR are both History students. Our decision was informed by the fact that historically, one way oppressed groups in society have challenged their silencing is by making themselves heard and forcing people to listen.

History has also shown us that students have a lot of power which they may not realise. For example, the Black Panther Party was founded by two college students. Although IN:COLOUR is not a revolutionary Black Power publication, we firmly agree with Huey Newton’s assertion that ‘the revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.’

How do you envision the purpose and aims of the zine?

The purpose and aims of IN:COLOUR are varied but our overarching goal is to empower marginalised voices. Although short-term we are focused on representation on campus, we are not restricted to this. An important long-term goal of ours is to go into the wider community and nurture creativity from a young age. All members of the IN:COLOUR team are in agreement that we want to provide young people with the opportunities that we didn’t have.


Historically, zines have functioned as important sites of self-expression for groups whose politics, cultures, or identities have been marginalised by mainstream media outlets. It sounds like that history very much informs your own activities…

Yes, that history is instrumental in our decision to launch this zine. Material culture is an important way of understanding history which is why we felt it was important to have a physical legacy, hence a zine over an online publication.

What has been the response to IN:COLOUR been from other BAME creatives in Manchester University and beyond?

The response to IN:COLOUR has been overwhelming! Every single creative who is involved is extremely excited about the work that we’re doing. They are in agreement with the Editorial Team that there needs to be a platform for BME voices to speak from. We have a variety of artists and people participating: spoken word poets, aspiring reporters and journalists as well as those who already work in the industry, visual artists and even a DJ! IN:COLOUR is the product of every facet of BME creativity.

So, what should we expect from the first issue? What themes or issues are you going to focus on and why?

Our first issue is based on our own identity. This is largely based on what we call The Question which is being asked: ‘Where are you from? No, where are you really from?’  This is a question that nearly every person of colour has been asked before. It is also part of the broader issue regarding how BME people have to continually explain and justify their identity, and thus their existence, for a white audience.

You can learn more about IN:COLOUR at the launch event on Thursday 13 December from 8pm-midnight at Leaf in Manchester. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

You can also follow the group:

on Instagram: @zineincolour

on Twitter: @zineincolour

on Facebook:



time to pay your taxes

In December 2018, we will be launching the Race, Roots & Resistance (R3) Work-in-Progress Seminar. This group will be open to all staff, independent/community scholars, and postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students interested in the critical study of race. Our central aim is to provide a safe and critical space to present our works-in-progress in order to advance healthy intellectual community and scholarly excellence.

The seminar will meet regularly during term time with each session focusing on a single pre-circulated work-in-progress submitted for review by a seminar participant. Due to the diverse and multidisciplinary nature of the R3 Collective, the concept of ‘work-in-progress’ should be broadly construed and might include conference papers, dissertation or book chapters, article drafts, visual media, and other creative works. All seminar participants agree to read/view the work-in-progress prior to the seminar and come prepared to offer constructive feedback and responses. The intensive nature of this labor necessitates a deliberate commitment from seminar members.

We are particularly interested in building an intellectual community that challenges traditional boundaries rooted in rank, career-stage, or position within/outside universities. With that in mind, we strongly encourage submissions of work-in-progress from postgraduate and undergraduate researchers, early-career academics, and community/independent scholars.

If you would be interested in participating in the R3 Work-in-Progress Seminar please email Dr Kerry Pimblott (

Book Launch: Professor Erica Burman


Tuesday October 30th

4.30-6pm, University of Manchester, Ellen Wilkinson Building, Room AG3/4

Lecture on ‘Fanon, Education, Action: Psychoanalytic and Educational Considerations’ by Erica Burman, Professor of Education in Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester. Erica will talk about psychoanalytic and educational aspects of her new book Fanon, Education, Action: Child as Method just published by Routledge. The session will be chaired and discussion opened by Philomena Harrison (Liverpool Hope University, convenor of the recent ‘The Legacy of Frantz Fanon’ conference). Register for this talk at Details of the book are at: .

Launch event at 6.30-8.00 on Tuesday 30 October with refreshments. Venue – Blackwells Bookshop, University of Manchester.

Erica Burman will be in conversation with Kerry Pimblott (Lecturer in United States History and African Diaspora Studies, University of Manchester) about Fanon, Education, Action: Child as Method 

For tickets for the Book Launch register via Eventbrite: (please register as places are limited, and numbers needed to be known for catering)

Generation Revolution

Event: Film Screening and Discussion

When: Monday 22 October at 5:30pm

Where: Manchester Central Library – Performance Space, St. Peters Square, Manchester

Free tickets available on Eventbrite here

Join us this Black History Month for a screening of Generation Revolution, a feature-length documentary film that tells the powerful story of London’s new generation of Black and Brown activists who are set on changing the social and political landscape in the capital and beyond.


The film vividly chronicles the evolution of characters as they experience personal and political awakenings, breakthroughs and, at times, disillusionment. Generation Revolution offers a unique and original glimpse into the rewarding but difficult path that must be trodden in the struggle for personal, social and political liberation.

Generation Revolution is being used as a platform to facilitate discussions about the issues that affect young black and brown communities both in the UK. The screening will be followed by an opportunity to discuss the many issues approached in the film, such as the crises of homelessness, gentrification and racism.

More about Generation Revolution

This screening is taking place in partnership between the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and the Race, Roots & Resistance Collective in the Department of History at the University of Manchester.