As part of the United Nations International Decade of People of African Descent, (IDPAD), and the 70th anniversary of Windrush, our collective work combines to form research into the sustainability of BME communities in terms of their resilience in the IDPAD ‘development’ areas of health, education and employment/enterprise and ‘justice’. Our research also aims to uncover the ‘process measures’ behind community grassroots organising in order to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that community groups and community service providers face in keeping their communities afloat in the face of local authority cuts to their services.

The recent tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire has brought the critical role of the voluntary sector into national focus and our work examines how stronger collaborative partnerships can be developed between the statutory and voluntary sectors, especially in demographic areas of high deprivation where there is also a higher concentration of BME residents.

Our research also aims to gather lessons learned and best practice from our international partners who are engaged in similar activities with their grassroots communities.


An Ethnographic Appreciative Inquiry to establish the development of Health and Wellbeing Hubs within Caribbean and African Faith Organisations

Academic Lead: Faye Bruce

For decades, there have been stark statistics pertaining to the high prevalence of cardiovascular related diseases (CVD) within the African and Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom (UK). This CVD health inequality alongside many more health conditions in this community such as diabetes, prostate cancer and mental health can almost be classed as an epidemic that requires urgent action. Whilst undertaking my literature review, what became immediately apparent was the focus upon the biological/genetic reasons for CVD or the results of racism and discrimination (principally from the US) that are not hidden such as inequitable access to education, housing, health care, employment, and the unfair treatment in the criminal justice system. The evidence base identifies how a combination of all these factors can add to the incidence of CVD and other acute and chronic health problems.

For more details, see here.


Making Education a Priority (MEaP): Pedagogic research in action

Academic Leads: Dr Ornette D Clennon and Amber Abisai

Making Education a Priority (MEaP) is the legacy of a lively conference with the community that we hosted in 2013. Themes around Culture, Identity, Community and Governance emerged from all of the excellent contributions to the conference. You will read in detail how these themes, firmly rooted in Education, began to define a pathway towards Social Justice in a practical way, for our communities. In our workshops (see Conference Resources) we explored the models of Free Schools, Co-operative Schools, Studio Schools, Supplementary Schools and Arts-led Special Schools. We also had workshops about thinking of Alternative Education as Protest, which gave us an insight into what “Critical Pedagogy” could actually look like on the ground, in our communities. You will also be able to get a sense of our progress directly after the conference by reading our Newsletters on the page.

Working with predominantly African and African Caribbean supplementary schools we have developed a PG Cert in Teaching and Learning for supplementary school teachers. We are also researching the essential qualities comprising black-led pedagogy and its contribution to tackling social inequalities in BAME communities.

For more details, see here.

Linked to Research: Project Mali, Manchester

How the scholarship of C.L.R. James mobilised a local community to use Education as a driver for Urban Renewal

Academic Lead: Dr Ornette D Clennon

Dr Ornette Clennon (Manchester Metropolitan University) worked to capture and explore the ‘process mechanisms’ of the community activism of the Save the Nello James Centre campaign in South Manchester. The campaign aimed to galvanise local community support to buy the now derelict Nello James Centre that was bequeathed to the residents of Manchester by Vanessa Redgrave in honour of the black scholar and activist, C.L.R. James (who worked in Manchester for a brief period in the 1930s). The campaign group worked  to restore it back into a heritage and education centre at the heart of local community’s enterprise activities. Clennon used interviews of the local campaigners and members of the wider community as a background context to explore the intellectual critical race legacy of C.L.R. James (i.e. his belief in historically situated analyses of oppression, his enthusiasm for local grassroots activism and his interdisciplinary cultural critiques combining analyses of “high” and “low” cultures with autoethnographic enquiry) and its contemporary impact on the urban renewal of the Whalley Range, Moss Side and Hulme areas of South Manchester.

For more details, here. 

Linked to Research: Project Mali, Manchester

Keeping it Real? Applied Critical theory research and Community arts activism

Academic Lead: Dr Ornette D Clennon with Blue Matthews-Mason

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in partnership with BBC Outreach hosted Keeping it Real? an event in Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. This involved working with young people from the community organisations CLR James Community Trust and Making Education a Priority (MEaP), members from the BBC Philharmonic and wider staff from the BBC. Young people were mentored by BBC staff and members from the CLR James Community Action Trust to compose a musical track (grime/hip hop/drum’n’bass fusion) with members of the BBC Philharmonic that explored their perceptions of BAME youth cultural representation. The young people were also mentored in filming and photography to make a documentary of the project to be shown alongside the performance at the final event.

For more details, see here.

Knowledge Co-production: Archiving Critical Race Interviews and Exploring Race and Ethnicity at Peace FM 90.1 between 2011 – 2015

Academic Lead: Dr Ornette D Clennon with Anthony Downer

Dr Ornette D Clennon and Anthony Downer (Community Broadcaster and Researcher) have collaborated on an idea to produce an archive of the talk show SearchEngine 365. The talk show broadcasted weekly on Peace FM 90.1 (now Legacy FM), which is a local internet radio station based in Hulme, Manchester. The archive, curated by Anthony Downer showcases the wider community discussions around critical race scholarship and acts as an important community knowledge-hub and ‘space’ for critical discussion. The archive also contains interviews on Race and Ethnicity from scholars from the Critical Race and Ethnicity Research Cluster and currently provides further opportunities to explore and disseminate the Cluster’s research to the wider local community.

Linked to Research: Keeping it Real? Applied Critical theory research and Community arts activism


Researching sustainable Black Queer communities and resilient community development via community self-organising

Academic Leads: Dr Antoine Rogers and Dr Ornette D Clennon

The experiences of those racialized as black have for too long been marginal to the struggle for equality for LGBT people in the UK.  BlackOut UK launched in October 2016 as a means of creating spaces by and for Black queer men in the UK for cultural expression community-building and resilience through a more inclusive engagement with and understanding of social and political environments including: health and wellbeing (including sexual and mental health); education and cultural heritage; and enterprise.

BlackOut works with and supports writers, videographers, activists and event organisers and entrepreneurs to build both individual resilience and community resilience. Using an inclusive model of leadership BlackOut aims to ground community engagement and development in a theoretical understandings of critical race theory; intersectionality; and models of leadership for effective and impactful social change.

For more details, here.

Linked to Research: Making Education a Priority (MEaP)

Linked to Research: Project Mali, Manchester

Linked to Research: Keeping it Real? Applied Critical theory research and Community arts activism

Linked to Research: An Ethnographic Appreciative Inquiry to establish the development of Health and Wellbeing Hubs within Caribbean and African Faith Organisations

Project Mali, Manchester

Academic Leads: Yvonne Field and Dr Ornette D Clennon

Project Mali, Manchester is part of a national research project called Project Mali: A Place To Call Home led by the Ubele Initiative with support from Goldsmith’s College, London and Locality. Project Mali examines what needs to be done to increase the sustainability of African and Caribbean Diaspora owned community assets and service provision. Project Mali, Manchester is a participatory action research project that will map Manchester’s BAME community assets. The action research is led by MMU and the Ubele Initiative with support from Goldsmith’s College, London. We are also working closely with local African and Caribbean enterprises and the voluntary sector organisations, Locality, TS4SE and MACC.

For more details, see here.

Linked to Research: Making Education a Priority (MEaP)

Pathways to Impact: Helping to shape Domestic and International Policy via implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

Click, here.