Black culture project bringing African cooking classes, DJ sets and murals

Aspire Black Suffolk project manager and publicist Elma Glassgow

Aspire Black Suffolk project manager and publicist Elma Glasgow was thrilled to hear the news about the extra funding - Credit: Claudia Gannon

African cooking classes and drumming workshops are to be held in Ipswich this summer to help the community learn about black culture.

The Aspire Black Suffolk project aims to 'send positive ripples across the broader community' and is hoping to create a long-lasting impact and legacy in Suffolk — predominantly among young black people.

It is the first programme of its kind in the region and will see murals painted in town, photography exhibitions and DJ sets all aimed at showcasing black culture.

Set to launch this summer, the project was awarded £25,000 in funding from DanceEast, Sizewell C, two Suffolk County councillors and Arts Council England.

Aspire Black Suffolk activities will include:

  • African cooking classes
  • African storytelling
  • Black history talks
  • Black Suffolk photo exhibition
  • Dance performances
  • DJ sets
  • Family drumming workshops
  • Film screenings
  • Live music, Q&As and poetry
  • Mural by Art Eat Events
  • Participation of West Suffolk College and Suffolk One students in educational activities
  • Personal development workshops
  • Presence at The Saints summer market
  • Yoruba language lessons

Further funding is now being sought for Windrush Day activities, and workshops for young women in styling, confidence, and hair heritage.

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Elma Glasgow, project manager and publicist, said: “We’re proud and thrilled to have secured this funding, which in these challenging times, speaks volumes about how important Aspire Black Suffolk is regarded by our backers.

"We’re grateful for their generosity, and for the support of Colchester and Ipswich Museums who have supported funding applications.

“The funding will enable local, black-led organisations and individuals to celebrate the multiple facets of African-Caribbean culture in Suffolk and showcase our significant role across all areas of society.

"We’re in the process of finalising our events, and we can’t wait to announce the details — watch this space for updates."

The programme is set to run in association with the forthcoming Power of Stories, the exciting exhibition featuring three original Black Panther costumes, which is planned to take place at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.

It is also launching in time for Windrush Day which takes place on Tuesday, June 22.

 Ipswich resident and award-winning national press and documentary photographer, John Ferguson

Ipswich resident and award-winning national press and documentary photographer, John Ferguson - Credit: John Ferguson Photography

The Black Suffolk photographic exhibition will display a unique collection of new portraits by Ipswich resident and award-winning national press and documentary photographer, John Ferguson.

Set to go on show in central Ipswich this summer, the images will portray the diversity within Suffolk’s black community, instilling a greater sense of pride and belonging, whilst helping to break down racial barriers.

Supporters of Aspire Back Suffolk currently include Archant, Ipswich Borough Council, BBC Radio Suffolk and many more.

Anyone interested in getting involved or providing funding should email organisers

Suffolk black community leader Imani Sorhaindo by John Ferguson

Suffolk black community leader Imani Sorhaindo is one of the many local people and organisations supporting the Aspire Black Suffolk project - Credit: John Ferguson

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