About the project

Black artists, writers and scholars have for some time considered how racism impacts Black people’s bodies and minds, and the ways in which Black health is often shaped by racist environments. The Black Health and the Humanities project aimed to bring such work to the forefront of current conversations about Black British health and generate new insights from an interdisciplinary perspective across the humanities.

The project emerged in part from the crisis caused by 2020’s global Covid-19 pandemic, the transnational Black Lives Matter movement, and the intersections between racism and health inequalities that, although not new, these events highlighted.

Our definition of Black referred to people of African and Afro-Caribbean heritage. We remained cognizant of the legacy of politically Black activism which united some Afro-Caribbean, South Asian and other people of colour under the banner of Blackness to resist British racism, which informs some of the historical research that our project explored.

Our use of the term Black also recognised that while there is no biological basis for race, processes of racialisation have embodied consequences and shape interactions and outcomes for Black people in medical environments.

The Black Health and the Humanities training programme consisted of a series of workshops devised by leading thinkers, artists, writers and activists. We trained and developed a cohort of doctoral researchers and early career scholars in the theories and methods of Black humanities and medical humanities, addressing their intersections.

By creatively and critically engaging with art, film, historyphilosophy, music and literature that concerned the psychological and physiological health of Black people in Britain, our community of scholars developed the tools to further their own research practice.

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