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Support Professor Hakim Adi & the MRes in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora!

Professor Hakim Adi Campaign Report:

For: Monday 7 August

The campaign is still going strong, with over 10, 600 signatures rolling into the 4th week of our petition going live. To see some of the latest petition comments, visit the History Matters blog.

Rolling into week five of the campaign, however, we have seen a decrease in signatures on the closing day of the week, with a total of 130 signers on Sunday, 6 August, down from the preceding weeks.

With the launch of our new campaign page on the History Matters website, thanks to members Amelia and David, we hope to see these numbers rise again!

Our Save the MRes page over at History Matters has the latest updates on campaign activity, and the last week has been busy.

We kicked off the week with an incredible sign of solidarity from the UCU Black Members' Standing Committee, with a statement of support noting that its members had all lent their signatures to the petition. Following claims from the University and its Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Longmore that the course had not made enough cash - no viable reason to cut such a rich course of African and diasporic history- the Black Members' Standing Committee demanded that:

"The University of Chichester's management, including VC, Professor Longmore, must provide an immediate answer to the following:

  • What impact assessment was undertaken by the University before the course was suspended and Professor Adi chosen for redundancy?

  • What was the process followed in selecting Professor Adi for redundancy?

  • What were the University's criteria for suspending the course and making Prof Adi redundant?

  • What plans are the University making to admit Black students to courses in the future?"

You can read the rest of the statement here.

Professor Adi appeared at the annual Reparations March in Brixton on Tuesday, 1 August, to discuss the campaign to save the course. You can watch a video of his short speech addressing those marching here.

Following Professor Adi's address at the march, Kay Channon penned a poem named Tyrannous Tides on Wednesday, 2 August, dedicated to Professor Hakim Adi and "any other Educators who are facing unfair treatment from their employers."

Also, on Wednesday, 2 August, History MAtter posted Professor Adi's interview with the Black Secret Education Project, which you can watch here.

The Same day, two MRes graduates and current PhD students at the University of Chichester studying under Professor Adi Danny Thompson and Tirivashe Jele wrote a letter to Professor Jane Longmore and Professor Hugo Frey. You can read their letter here.

On Thursday, 3 August, Professor Hakim Adi sat down with Guerilla History to discuss the importance of the MRes in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora and the campaign's progress. You can catch the podcast episode here.

Social History Society's Henry Irving published the organisation's statement of solidarity on Thursday, 3 August, which you can read here.

On Friday, 4 August, The Voice released an article on the campaign following a letter penned by the CEO of Black Equity Organisation, Dr Wanda Wyporska. The letter from the independent, national Black civil rights organisation created to dismantle systemic racism in Britain reads:

"We are very concerned that Professor Adi and the historically important course he teaches will be lost to academia if Chichester forces through its plan to axe the course and make Professor Adi redundant.

It seems perverse that at a time when major UK institutions are finally taking some ownership of the role they played in creating the African diaspora, the only course in the country looking at the subject, and the academic teaching it, could be lost.

We urge Chichester University to rethink its decision, reinstate the course and ensure that it doesn't turn its back on a trailblazing Black professor who has inspired generations of students."

On the same day, the external examiner for the MRes, Professor Nemata Blyden, wrote a letter to Professor Longmore, who has been carrying out MRes Vivas since September 2022. Professor Blyden, who was unaware of the news to cut the MRes and stop all enrollment, alongside Professor Adi, wrote of her experience:

"Though a relative newcomer I have been extremely impressed with the module run by Professor Hakim Adi, and look forward to continuing my association with the program. This is a very important and innovative program of study that has given space to dedicated, driven, and highly motivated students. In my many years of teaching it has been rare to find the kind of student that the MRes attracts. I have been highly impressed by the quality of student work produced in these modules. The work put in by Dr. Adi is evident in the work students produce. I am saddened by the idea that the program might be cut. How disappointing."

It was announced that Professor Adi would deliver the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, 22 August, at Liverpool Town Hall ahead of Slavery Remembrance Day on Wednesday, 23 August this year. The website reads:

"As well as marking the day itself (Wednesday 23 August) with a Walk of Remembrance, there will be a number of events happening alongside from 20-27 August. Through these activities and activations, in person and online, NML will reflect, remember, and encourage learning from the injustices of the past and examine how we can work together to prevent them from happening again."

Our campaign website has also uploaded audio footage from Professor Adi's interview with Kevin Philemon from BBC Radio Sounds Bristol outlining the inception of the course following the History Matters conference in April 2015, the decision to axe yet another course in Black History and the continued erasure of 'history from below' within the academy, as well as the poor communication the University, has had with Professor Adi and its currently enrolled students.

Keep an eye out this week for further activity, kicking off with Professor Adi's keynote speech on Defending the History of Africa and the African Diaspora for an online seminar with the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg, Monday 7 August at 6:30 pm GMT.

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