Alum returns to celebrate Black History Month

To mark this year’s Black History Month, the College came together for a screening of the award-winning television drama Small Island.

The show’s producer, Vicky Licorish, a Catz alum, then joined those gathered for a post-screening Q&A, organised by the College’s JCR and MCR.

The two-part drama, based on the book of the same name penned by Andrea Levy, centres around a couple from Jamaica who travel to the UK in the late 1940s. Through their story, it portrays the challenges and the less-than-warm welcome experienced by many who made the same journey to Britain in the post-war era.

Vicky (1978, English), who since leaving Catz has had a successful career as an actor and more recently a producer, is herself from a Caribbean background, and recognises the story as one from her own family’s past.

She commented: ‘I did English at Oxford, and I was really proud to be able to use that skill set to tell a story that had a lot of love and care at the heart of it. It’s essentially my parents’ story too, so it meant a lot to me to see an era of black history that’s often forgotten being put to screen.’

The College’s library has also been hosting an exhibition of books from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) authors, as part of the BAME literary scheme, set up by the JCR last year, and administered by the library. The scheme proactively purchases relevant titles, with a selection on display in the College library throughout this Michaelmas Term.

Last year, with pandemic-related restrictions in place and no event able to take place, many colleagues and students worked together to create an exhibition of the history of black students at Catz. You can still view this exhibition online.