Celebrate Black History with Black Dolls: The Power of Representation

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re hosting ‘Have Your Say Saturday’ on 6 October from 12 noon to 4.30pm at Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood and Sudbury Village Parish Rooms. The FREE event is part of our National Lottery funded, family-friendly exhibition Black Dolls: The Power of Representation in partnership with the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Sudbury Hall – exploring Black dolls and childhood through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from the controversial Golliwogs of the past to today’s Black Barbies.

You’ll be able to hear talks with a panel discussion and Q&A about the importance of Black dolls, toys, games, Black characters in children’s books and identity in childhood – inspired by the exhibition. Plus the chance to enjoy a walk with us around the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Sudbury Hall, or a self-guided trail if you’d prefer to go at your own pace. Tea, coffee, water and biscuits will be provided at the Sudbury Village Parish Rooms.

We’ve got some very special guests coming along – here’s the plan for the day:

– 12pm-1pm – a chance to look around the whole museum and follow the self-guided trail.

– 1pm-1.15pm – welcome by our Founder and Director Catherine Ross and the National Trust’s Ruth Bellamy – in the Project Gallery (home to the Black Dolls exhibition).

– 1.15pm-1.20pm – walk over to the Parish Rooms, Sudbury Village.

– 1.25pm-1.35pm – Dr Sheine Peart, Course Leader for the Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO) Award at Nottingham Trent University.

– 1.35pm-1.50pm – Sian Jones, Child Psychologist and Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

– 1.50pm-2.05pm – Verna Wilkins of Tamarind Books – a small independent publisher specialising in picture books, fiction and non-fiction featuring all children from all communities, and children with disabilities. Founded in 1987, with the mission of redressing the balance of diversity in children’s publishing, Tamarind Books was brought by Random House Children’s Books.

– 2.05pm-2.20pm – Jeff Bowersox, Lecturer at University College, London School of European Languages, Culture and Society.

– 2.20pm-2.35pm – Saffron Jackson-Kerr, creator of the Jamaican ‘patwa’ speaking Zuree dolls.

–  2.35pm-2.55pm – panel discussion on the importance of Black dolls, toys, games, Black characters in children’s books and identity in childhood, inspired by our exhibition.

– 2.55-3.15 – Q&A with the audience and amongst the panel.

Catherine will close the event and you’ll be invited to walk back over to the museum for a walk around the exhibition.

Anyone is welcome to come along and have their say on the importance of Black dolls, toys and games in childhood – for children of all races and backgrounds, together with Black characters in children’s books, films and TV programmes.

To find out more and book your FREE place please email hello@museumand.org or call us on 07469 189550.

Black Dolls: The Power of Representation launched on 16 June and is on daily from 11am-5pm until 4 November. The exhibition is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported ‘Exploring Childhoods’ project.

Catherine explains:

“We launched our Black Dolls: The Power of Representation exhibition to help all communities discover what life was like for Black children growing up in Britain through the ages. Black dolls are part of our shared history and cultural heritage and throughout the exhibition we’ve been finding out how both Black and non-Black children and adults experience them – thanks to the feedback we’ve had from visitors.

“Have Your Say Saturday’ will be a great opportunity for everyone to share their views, not just on the Black dolls of the past, but about what’s happening now. On one hand, films like Black Panther have proven the demand for exciting Black characters and toys, but on the other authentic looking Black dolls are still in short supply in the UK.

“We’re looking forward to hearing our guests and visitors’ thoughts, opinions and ideas!”

Have your say! Join the debate on social media using the hashtag #blackdolls

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