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October is Black History Month in the UK. This annual celebration promotes and celebrates Black contributions in British society, while also giving us the opportunity to examine and reflect on our history and commit to a better, fairer present and future. Originating in the United States in the 1920s and celebrated there in February, Black History Month came to the UK in the 1980s and has grown in scale ever since.

Title of Black History Month on a colourful geometric background.

While it is important to mark Black History Month itself, the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division’s commitment and actions aimed to support and celebrate Black mathematicians, scientists, students and professionals within our University communities and wider society goes beyond this limited timeframe.

Within the Division, we are striving for equity and inclusivity in everything we do. Our MPLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (link to follow) commits to improving the experiences of our staff and students through ‘race’-specific as well as intersectional actions that are continually developed and refined. Our Beyond Boundaries project encourages Oxfordshire state school children to engage with the incredible research of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic researchers. We recently launched our first Diversifying the STEM Curriculum project over the summer of 2021 (delayed due to Covid-19), which looks to diversify and decolonise the curriculum in specific STEM subjects.


This programme of events and resources have been compiled for Black History Month, but many of the talks and resources will remain available and should be utilised all year round. The majority of the programme will be delivered online and while this changes the experience of coming together, it also enables many more colleagues, students, friends, and community members to join us.

Use the tabs below to navigate different events and resources. If you would like to add anything, please let us know by emailing

MPLS and the University are hosting the following events throughout Black History Month and beyond. Please use the links to sign up or register your interest.

BIPOC STEM Network Interview Series

A series of recorded interviews that highlight the brilliant work and achievements of Black postgraduates that work within the University's STEM departments. These videos will be available to watch in your own time throughout the month. Watch this space for further updates.

Open event: Race Equality Task Force consultation launch


Tuesday 19 October, 2pm - 3:30pm

A University-wide event marking the launch of the Race Equality Task Force's consultation. The event will include a welcome by the Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson, followed by a presentation of the Task Force’s progress to date and its recommendations from the Co-Chairs, Professors Anne Trefethen, Martin Williams and Patricia Daley. 

MPLS discussion on Race Equality Task Force Recommendations

Tuesday 23 November, 9:30am - 11am

An online meeting for anyone who is interested in discussing the recent recommendations regarding race equity specifically from an MPLS perspective, hosted by members of the Race Equality Task Force. This discussion will take place as part of the ED&I Town Hall meeting. Please sign up via the Form.  

Inclusivity Workshop

Thursday 21 October, 10am-11:30am 

In this online workshop we will consider how to best create and sustain an inclusive culture and identify some practical steps we can all take in order to make this happen. We will be discussing issues such as implicit bias, being responsible bystanders and active allies, making individual and institutional change. We will consider how we can create an environment where we can all feel supported and how we can best support others. 

University of Oxford Black History Month Lecture 2021, by BME Staff Network

Thursday 28 October, 5:30pm - 7pm

Professor Kevin Fenton, a regional director of Public Health England, will be giving this year’s lecture, discussing COVID and disproportionality and what it means for health disparities moving forwards. This will be a virtual event again this year so please book here to avoid disappointment. 

Anti-racist Allyship

Wednesday 24 November, 10am - 12:45pm 


In this in-person workshop we will explore approaches to being an effective anti-racist ally, including discussions on a range of topics such as power and privilege, and white fragility. We will identify some concrete actions to enable us to be more supportive and impactful allies. We hope this workshop will provide a space for discussion and reflection, and an opportunity for us all to continue to learn from one another. This workshop will be in person. Due to capacity, members of the BIPOC STEM Network and Allies group will be prioritised. Please sign up via the Anti-Racist Allyship Form if you are interested.

See below links to University networks, groups and useful resources. If there are other resources that you would like us to signpost us to, let us know by emailing

Resources and information

FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS: Guidance on Harassment - link to the Harassment Advisor Network and more information.

Guidance on being a responsible bystander. 

FOR STUDENTS: Peers of Colour - an initiative run by Student Welfare and Support. Click the link to find out more.

FOR STUDENTS: Counselling and Mental Health - run by Student Welfare and Support. Click the link to find out more. 

The University's Race Equality Task Force - find out more and how you could get involved.

Oxford and Colonialism - this website brings together a wide range of initiatives across the collegiate University engaging with its colonial past and its ongoing manifestations.

The reading list of Black Lives Matter and anti-racist resources created in liaison with the Bodleian Libraries, College Libraries and JCR Welfare reps. This is an evolving list of resources with titles being added regularly. You can choose to filter the list by titles available online or by titles available in print. 

Resources in the Bodleian Libraries - colleagues in the Bodleian have been collating a collection of resources titled “Changing the narrative: championing inclusive collection development”. Here you can find a whole host of resources relating to different ED&I areas which are available to staff and students.

Oxford achievers award success - three of our inspirational students have taken the top places in this year’s national Rare Rising Stars awards, after being selected from a shortlist of high achievers. 

See below links to other networks and useful resources outside of the University. If there are other resources or networks that you would like us to signpost us to, let us know by emailing


Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG) - a group made up of equality and diversity professionals, academics, students and other individuals interested in advancing race equality in higher education. Click the link to learn more, join the mailing list and find out about events. 


Learning and usefulresources

Black History Month website - keep up to date with national celebrations and initiatives throughout October. 

Teacher resources for Black History Month - while aimed at teachers, this page has lots of interesting articles and stories for anyone interested in learning more. 

TES Black History Month resources - TES have also compiled some useful and educational resources for anyone wanting to learn more.