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Saturday 9 October 2021

Orleans House Gallery and Richmond Arts Service celebrate Black History Month 2021

Black History Month is a month of events in October which celebrate the culture, history and achievement of Britain’s African and Caribbean communities. This October Richmond Arts Service have worked with students from St Mary’s University’s UK:ME Society, which works to build bridges and create a safe space for people of minority ethnic backgrounds to embrace and express their culture. In September St Mary’s University students and students in local schools were invited to contribute a piece of art that celebrates Black history and culture and its impact on their lives. The resulting exhibition at Riverside Gallery in Richmond is their own expression of how Black history has influenced our society today through the impact it has had on artists.

The annual celebration of Black achievement and culture is significant in its own right but it is also an important catalyst for longer term change in cultural organisations. It helps develop a public programme which embeds Black history and culture in the stories we tell and the artists we present all year round.

Last October we committed to develop a more diverse programme of performances and exhibitions in the coming years that reflect the most exciting art being made today and to ensure that Black artists and artists of colour are central to this dynamic and creative programme. The artists we are working with at Orleans House Gallery and through Richmond Literature Festival in 2021 come from a wide diversity of practice and background.

This is a process of continuous reflection and engagement with artists and communities, and we will maintain our commitment to developing the public programme in this way. In 2022 we also aim to explore how our permanent art collections and learning programmes can be part of this long-term commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity.