Following the success of the inaugural event in 2022, we were excited to welcome back artist, educationalist and University of Cambridge graduate Joshua Obichere to Robinson College to host more fantastic creative workshops in celebration of Black History Month on Thursday 19th October 2023.
As usual, Joshua worked his magic, drawing students in and encouraging them to express themselves creatively, even if they didn’t think of themselves as being necessarily creative or artistic. Feedback showed the participants really valued the opportunity to be creative and support their own wellbeing.
It was a fantastic time spent at Robinson College, leading the workshops alongside Karen, the Robinson Wellbeing Lead. To have a programme that acknowledges Black History Month as well as mental health is unique and completely edifies the Robinson College community.
All the participants gave it a go with creating a piece of work in response to the archives that revolved around 75 years of the Windrush, 75 years of the NHS and Black British Culture.
The creative responses were beautifully arranged on the same board and it was empowering to witness students talking about their work in a deeply connected way!
The workshop ran throughout the afternoon in an open part of the College and staff and students were welcome to drop in whenever they were able. It was fantastic to see how people who were not necessarily sure about taking part in a creative workshop found themselves lost in their work and enjoying some creative freedom and downtime. In the evening Joshua hosted a display of work and a talk, where the students spoke of their experience of participating in the workshop, and spoke powerfully of the meanings and stories behind the art they had created.
Joshua was enthused about the way the day had gone, and how he and the Robinson wellbeing team had been able to build on the success of last year's inaugural event, saying...
There definitely should be more times like these where workshops are accessible to students to celebrate diversity, see the benefits creative expression has for a good mental health and wellbeing, as well as engaging in needed conversations around race and inclusion...It has been amazing to see the reviews from the feedback forms and this is extremely encouraging! Really inspiring to hear this and it was interesting to see that more of an inclusive space is made with the workshops, where students can feel welcome and break down barriers to communication, and those difficult moments where it may be hard for them to open up.
"I loved the bit of creativity that it brought to everyone's day - you rarely get an opportunity to get in one place with lots of great people and be creative celebrating Black History & Culture!"
"It was great sitting in an open space meeting others in a low pressure environment whilst being creative"
"It was a great break from the library!"
"Nice to do something creative and different with a super friendly and enthusiastic leader"
"I'll take away more knowledge about black history...and realising that I actually like doing arts every now and again!"
The themes of the workshop were also reflected in a display of key texts that were put on display in the Robinson College library by our Library and Archive Manager, Judith Brown.
The whole Robinson community would like to thank everyone who was involved in pulling this event together, especially Joshua and our Head of Wellbeing, Karen Tate. Special thanks also go to the Warden's EA and the operational departments for all their time in the planning, set up and running of the event - it could not have happened without them! And of course to our amazing Robinson students for participating so openly and creatively. We are already looking forward to next year's event!
*Image above shows Karen Tate, Head of Wellbeing at Robinson College and Joshua Obichere