Black and Asian Studies Association, a 32 Year Review

Saturday 29 July 1.30pm

This half day conference will feature two of the founding members of the pioneering B.A.S.A. (Black and Asian Studies Association) Professor Hakim Adi and Marika Sherwood. They will speak about the achievements of B.A.S.A. over almost three decades and what they see as the future of history. We will also hear from Tony Warner who will give a 21st century view of B.A.S.A. and its relevance to present day historical activism and the Pearson GCSE exam statement based on the Notting Hill Black History Walk. Topics covered will include:

  • Issues B.A.S.A. raised and success stories in school curriculum, publishing, museums, stamps, monuments, plaques
  • Learning points for future activists
  • Progress and regression in provision of Black history
  • Archiving and digitisation; the new problems that are old
  • B.A.S.A. alumni ‘well known’ initiatives/historians that started with B.A.S.A
  • The state of Black history research and provision today compared to 1991

The Black and Asian Studies Association was formed in 1991. The aim of the Association is to foster research and to disseminate information on the history of Black peoples in Britain. They take up issues with government departments and quangoes, such as English Heritage regarding Blue Plaques and much else. B.A.S.A. also challenged the Qualifications and Curriculum Association on school curricula, and MLA regarding archives, libraries and museums. They have worked on specific projects with other organisations. e.g. the Runnymede Trust and in the past with CASBAH, and the National Archives’ website on the history of Black peoples in Britain since the mid 16th century.

Full agenda with timetable to be published, basic agenda below:

  • Tony Warner on BASA’s incredible achievements: books, journals, alumni, campaigns, school, archives, networks etc.
  • Professor Hakim Adi on BASA, past successes and how they did it
  • Marika Sherwood on BASA, future history and success, what needs to be done and how
  • Testimonials from BASA alumni
  • Q and A with Marika Sherwood, Hakim Adi
  • Networking and book sales

Bios for Marika Sherwood, Hakim Adi can be found below:

Professor Hakim Adi, BA Hons., PhD (London): Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diasporawa s trained as a historian of Africa, but his research interests have broadened to include the history of African diaspora as well as African history particularly in the twentieth century. His earlier research and publications focused on the history of the African diaspora in Britain, a relatively new subject for academic study, and in particular on the political history of West Africans in Britain, and the influence of Communism and Pan–Africanism on anti-colonial activism. This work sought to demonstrate not only the important links that were established between those in the African continent and its diaspora but also that Africans and those of African descent have played a significant but often neglected role in the history of Britain.

Although focused on Britain his research on such organisations as the West African Students’ Union was necessarily also international in scope and led to further research and publications on the history of the Africans in Britain in previous centuries, as well as to research on various aspects of the Pan-African movement and the influence of Communism on Africa and the African diaspora in the first half of the twentieth century. That research led to his most recent project focusing on the Communist International and its activities in Africa and amongst the African diaspora (principally in the United States, the Caribbean, Britain and France) from 1919-1939.

As one of the few historians specialising in the history of the African diaspora in Britain, his work has led to many media appearances, work with museums and archives and the publication of three history books for children.​

Marika Sherwood is the author of the following publications:

In 1948 with what remained of her Jewish family, Budapest-born Marika emigrated to Australia. Married (hence ‘Sherwood’) then divorced, with a baby son she moved to a job in New Guinea. Returned to Australia, attended university part-time. Moved to London in 1965, taught in schools, then travelled for a year, teaching English in Sicily for 6 months. Back in the UK she trained as a counsellor and worked with students at a London polytechnic.

She then began researching aspects of the history of Black peoples in the UK. Offered work at City College in Harlem, she worked in New York for five years, then returned to the UK to continue researching. She taught part-time courses at Open University and Birkbeck College, University of London; appointed Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, (part of the School of Advances Studies, University of London) by Professor Shula Marks.

In 1991 Marika Sherwood was one of the founders of the Black and Asian Studies Association, and edited the BASA Newsletter until 2007; she also organised annual conferences and monthly seminars at the Institute.

Sherwood is the author of a number of books and articles. Her most recent books are World War II: Colonies and Colonials (Savannah Press, 2013); (with) Hakim Adi, Dan Lyndon, Martin Spafford, OCR GCSE History Explaining the Modern World: Migration, Empire and the Historic Environment (Hodder Education, 2016)

Her most recent articles are: ’The All Colonial Peoples Conferences in Britain, 1945’,  Lucas – Leeds African Studies Bulletin, #79, 2017-8, pp.113-124  ‘The Quest in the United Kingdom for African Unity 1945-48’, Contemporary Journal of African Studies, 5/1, 2018; ’An information “black hole”: World War I in Africa’, László Z. Karvalics (ed), Information History of the First World War(UNESCO /L’Harmattan Publishing, 2016.

Her next book, on Nkrumah, the West African National Secretariat 1945-48 and the beginning of the Cold War in the Gold Coast in 1948 will be published by Pluto Press in 2019.

Sherwood is much involved with a women’s organisation and two schools in N-E Ghana, which she visits regularly.

Tony Warner  is the founder of Black History Walks. He is the author of Black History Walks in London Volume 1 and co author on the Pearson GCSE Migration textbook

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