What does it mean to be black and British in a post-Brexit UK?
This is the guiding question that Black Southwest Network (BSWN) - a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) funded project - will tackle at the #ThereISBlackInTheUnionJack series of events taking place this October as part of the Festival of the Future City.
This is the fourth BSWN HLF project that focusses on the contribution and heritage of BME organisations and communities in Southwest England.
Each project has brought focus to the tremendous impact that various BME communities have had in different locations across the region, particularly in Gloucester and Bristol.
Our latest project is one of the most timely as we are in the midst of a national and international environment that is seeing a rise in nationalism and xenophobia in countries who formerly highlighted and saw value in multiculturalism and diversity.
For #ThisIsBlackInTheUnionJack, we focus on people within the Bristol BME community and use their voices and experiences to create a documentary that explores what it means to be black and British in the present moment.
Recent local and national events have thrust into the spotlight the complicated nature of race and racism, nation, citizenship, inequality and belonging in the UK, and at the centre of many of these debates are BME communities.
From the election of BME mayors in London and Bristol to the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Brexit vote, the UK is at a crossroads in identifying as a nation what British heritage means and who fits into that imagination.
Since our launch event at Watershed in April we have trained various community volunteers to conduct interviews with members of the Bristol BME community and undertake archival research on issues of race and community in the area.
This has all led to the development of a documentary that focuses on what it means to be BME and British in 2017. On 20 October we will kick-off a number of events in partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas that will showcase the work that we have done on this project.
From 12:40pm- 2pm at the Watershed we start with a discussion on race, gender and the future of cities. Panelists include Madhu Krishnan, Sumita Mukherjee, Aisha Rana-Deshmukhand Nicole Truesdell.
That night we return to the Watershed for a viewing of our documentary at 7pm with commentary from Asher Craig, Maya Goodfellow, Afua Hirsch and Dr Omar Khan, chaired by historian David Olusoga.
Finally, on 21 October we will show the documentary again in at the Docklands centre on City Road at 7pm followed by a panel discussion featuring, Cllr Estella Tincknell, Desmond Brown, Kunle Olulode, Michael Jenkins, Delano Gourmet-Moore.