Revelations: Black History in Portraiture
The African and African Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative (ACKHI) and the Museum of Oxford are working in partnership with Oxford’s History Faculty, to diversify the stories of portraiture and Oxford’s history beyond living memory. This project utilises new and existing databases, as well as primary and secondary research, to identify links to Black history in the art collections of Oxford University’s Examination Schools and Oxford’s Town Hall. This is the first stage of a project that we envisage will develop in depth and detail in the future, with findings to be shared with the public.
Supported by a grant from the University’s John Fell Fund, a team of History Faculty interns will assist both organisations in this mission, by researching Black history in portraits from the University and Town Hall collections. Xaira Adebayo, Feyidara Olawuyi and Kristine Guillaume are the interns working on this project, together with Junie James (Director, ACKHI), Kate Toomey (Community Learning Manager, Museum of Oxford) and Oliver Parr (Schools Engagement Officer, Museum of Oxford).
ACKHI was established in 2003 as a not-for-profit Black Afrikan-led community organization, to promote, protect and preserve the history, heritage and culture, of peoples of Black African heritage living and/or working in Oxfordshire, as well as Black Afrika’s contributions to world development.
Junie James is a founder member, and currently, Director of ACKHI. Junie was born in Jamaica, but moved to Oxford in January 1964 and has lived in the city for most of her life since then. She has been involved in the voluntary and community sector since her teens, particularly in the field of 'Race Relations/Race Equality' education, health, housing and employment. In the summer of 1986, Junie and her colleagues organised Oxford’s first Caribbean carnival – the precursor to today’s Cowley Road Carnival – with the event then being part of a year-long national programme recognising Caribbean culture, organised in connection with the Commonwealth Institute. Her more recent work with ACKHI has included developing and managing its 'Connections: People & Places' project (researching Oxfordshire's links with the system of slavery and the slave trade); as well as the 'Their Voices' oral history project, which recorded the narratives of local people of African heritage living in Oxfordshire. To work with the ACKHI team, get in touch with Junie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.