Black lives matter to Writing on the Wall

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Booker Prize winner, Marlon James / Credit Nicholas Laughlin via Flickr (CC)

Writing on the Wall is celebrating the Black Lives Matter movement throughout Black History Month.

Black and Minority Ethnic artists will take centre stage throughout October with speakers such as former Lord Mayor of Sheffield and MEP Magid Magid, anti-racist activist Sophie Williams and Booker Prize winning author Marlon James featuring.

Organised by Writing on the Wall, their annual festival WoWFest in May has taken place in Toxteth and across the city for the last 20 years and is Liverpool’s longest running literature festival. This year, their annual Black History Month programme is highlighting the experience of the black community in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I think the prominence of the Black Lives Matter Movement has meant that people are more eager to examine, discuss and better understand the experiences of BAME people, whether they have a lived experience of it or not” says Ciaran Hodgers, a project manager at Writing on the Wall.

“Celebrating black artists is celebrating the best of what creativity can be. You cannot truly celebrate the best of anything without including black or ethnic minority artists. To leave them out of the conversation means we all suffer.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how many in the creative industries are having to work and Writing on the Wall is no different: “All of our events are livestreamed on our Facebook page, meaning that we can reach more people across the world and engage with people who are still self-isolating or unable to travel,”  said Hodgers.

“We are now offering all our events on a donation only basis, as many people are suffering economically during this time and we feel it’s important to continue to be accessible for those who may need the arts the most right now.”

Added Hodgers: “The feedback we’ve received has been deeply fulfilling and positive, with lots of people expressing how much of a lifeline our work has been for them, helping them better manage their mental health and the impact of lockdown in general.”

*For further details and a full schedule of events, visit the WoWfest website.

About Ruairi Walsh, JMU Journalism