What a brilliant pop-up session we had today (Wednesday 14th December), with Dr Barbara Banda and John Higgins. Our focus was on Barbara’s new book, The Model Black – drawing on both Barbara’s research and her lived experience as a black leader in the UK.
I’m not going to try to summarise the session, I’d never do it justice. So I am pleased to provide a link to the recording of the main session along with links to Barbara’s webpage and some more articles and clips.
There was an amazing level of engagement in this pop-up. A fantastic group – about 20 attending – and a powerful conversation, both through chat comments and through spoken interventions. Philippa and I are grateful to everyone who came and joined in so fully, thank you.
I was also gripped by just how personal this was for everyone – aided by the deeply intimate and vulnerable stories of experience that Barbara told, including the harrowing tale of her first Saturday job in a supermarket where she was told “ you won’t be on the meat counter, because people won’t be comfortable with someone like you handling the meat”. I’m old enough to remember signs for flats to rent that literally said “no Irish, no blacks”, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked, but nonetheless I was.
It was fascinating to be part of a discussion about the balance people of colour have to strike between “just fitting in” (and thereby giving up something of themselves to do so), and taking a radical stance of insisting on inclusion on their own terms. We spent a lot of time exploring the boundaries of “tempered radicalism” and whether “tempered” was enough to get necessary changes made for people to flourish.
I came away hopeful. Not hopeful because we are nearly “there”, we are far from ”there” on so many levels. But hopeful because some good people are interested, and are doing going work. Hopeful because some organisations are listening, difficult though it is.
I’m grateful that we had this chance to host a short exploration. We’d love to host more. If you’d like us to host one for your organisation, or for your clients, please do get in touch and we will arrange for Barbara and John to give you a call to see what’s possible.
Thanks for coming, and have a brilliant break when it comes.
See you at another of our pop-ups in 2023 – details soon!
Chris, Philippa and all at GameShift
To get a flavour of Barbara’s work, have a look inside her book here.
The Model Black – Book Launch at Duke