About Black Cultural Archives

Established in 1981 and situated in its iconic building in Brixton’s Windrush Square since 2014, Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is the only national repository of Black history and culture in the UK. We are a public institution open to everyone.

Our unparalleled and growing archive collection offers insight into the history of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain. Our work recognises the importance of untold stories and providing a platform to encourage enquiry and dialogue. We place people and their historical accounts at the heart of everything we do.

 
 
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Our Mission

 
 

Black Cultural Archives is a national institution dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of diverse people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.

Using our unique collection, we promote the teaching, learning and understanding of the African people’s contribution, which enables the public to learn and connect with hidden histories, creating an experience to uplift and inspire. This is achieved through our exhibitions, public programmes and events. Our growing collection of original archives constitute a permanent record of the richness of the Black experience in Britain and is accessible to all.

 

 
 

Heritage Centre

Our new heritage centre is located on Windrush Square, in the heart of Brixton. Steeped in history, Windrush Square is historically named after the SS Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury in 1948 carrying her passengers on their pioneering journey from Jamaica to Britain.

We have transformed Raleigh Hall, a Grade II listed Georgian building in central Brixton, into a space dedicated to preserving and celebrating Black heritage in Britain. The £7-million capital project restored aspects of the building’s original historic features, in addition to a newly designed annexe to create a purpose-built archive and heritage centre accessible to the public.

We have received tremendous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the London Borough of Lambeth, the Mayor of London and the Biffa Award to complete this capital project, and from all our funders and supporters who help us continue our work.

 
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Our facilities include:

  • Exhibition space

  • Café and shop

  • Spaces for events, seminars, meetings and community use

  • Research facilities including reading room and reference library

  • Dedicated spaces for informal and formal learning

  • Secure and environmentally controlled archive strong room compliant with the British standard 5454:2000 allowing us to continue to safeguard our collection for future generations

 
 

 
 

Volunteering

Volunteering with us is a fantastic opportunity to get involved and support a national cultural organisation in the heart of Brixton. We need your help to ensure our visitors receive a warm welcome and have an enjoyable lasting experience.

Volunteer roles available:

Please complete the Volunteer Application to register your interest

 
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Venue Hire

Are you planning a conference, a company away day, a book or product launch, a community workshop or a very special celebration?

Why not use the venue space in Black Cultural Archive’s beautiful Grade II listed building on Brixton’s iconic Windrush Square?

Depending on the time and the day, you can choose our Learning Centre, Board Room, Café and Courtyard or take over the entire building.

With capacity from 10 to over 150, BCA is an ideal space for a meeting or a reception. We offer Technical and AV support with projects, screens and PA systems as well as WIFI connectivity.

Catering is provided by our licensed Café and we can offer a bespoke catering service from our roster of highly recommended chefs. We can do everything from a simple sandwich lunch for a staff meeting to a children’s birthday party or a 6 course wedding reception for 100 guests.

To book your event, Please complete our enquiry form. You will receive a reply from us within 24 hours.

 
 
 
 
 
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Working in Partnership

We work in collaboration with other cultural organisations and businesses, large or small, national or international, to bring historical accuracy to important projects. Through partnership, we have been able to champion a more accurate vision of history across every cultural touch-point at our disposal.

We have collaborated with a large number of organisations to produce a variety exhibitions, events and learning resources.  We also continue to expand our collection through the donation of oral histories and archive materials. 

Some of our previous partnerships include:

the V&A, Google Cultural Institute, Photofusion – UK Black Panther movement, Zimbabwe Association 12 Year Project, Paddington Arts – Elimu Carnival band, Lambeth School Cluster Project – The Other Georgians and the Black Dance Archives with National Resource Centre for Dance, University of Leeds, and State of Emergency.  

If you are interested in discussing a partnership or project with us, please complete a project submission form and email our Visitor Services team reception@bcaheritage.org.uk.

To register your interest in our partnership projects please email us, these are reviewed on a quarterly basis.

 

 
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Shop Pop-Ups

Are you an artisan or a retail entrepreneur who celebrates African and Caribbean culture, heritage or history? Why not take advantage of Black Cultural Archive’s iconic heritage centre in Brixton’s Windrush Square to showcase your work.  BCA’s shop, strategically located at the entrance of this beautiful building, would be a perfect backdrop for you and your brand. 

We are inviting applications for a 1 day for £50/day (ex VAT) or 1 week (5 days from Tuesday to Saturday) pop up residency for £200/week (ex VAT) in our 22sqm shop. The shop primarily features books but there is also a limited amount of jewellery and BCA merchandise on sale.

Pop up vendors will have a 7sqm location in front of the shop’s attractive arched windows. There is a café and toilet facilities for customers.

You must bring your own stand/table and point of sale materials as well as conduct your own sales and marketing effort.  BCA may provide social media promotional support and include mention of your pop up in their digital marketing if your residency coincides with our marketing schedule. 

To book your event, please complete our enquiry form. You will receive a reply from us within 24 hours.

 
 
 

 

People

 
 

BCA Team

Arike Oke  
Managing Director

Karis Morris-Brown
Volunteer Manager

Hannah Ishmael
Archivist

Ayshah Johnston
Learning

Michael Williams
Commercial and Audience
Experience Manager

Kelly Morgan
Windrush 2019 Co-ordinator
                         

For press enquiries please contact marketing@bcaheritage.org.uk
or 020 3757 8500

Board of Trustees

Dawn Hill
Chair     

Okao Angole
Treasurer

Prof Hakim Adi

Olakunle Babarinde     

Jennie Baptiste

Adam Crymble

Katie Dash

Caroline Hussey-Bain

Stafford Geohagen  

Sharmaine Lovegrove

Harun Morrison

Maureen Roberts  

Rukayah Sarumi                                

Cllr. Jacqui Dyer
Lambeth Council representative

Cllr. Sonia Winifred
Lambeth Council representative

Development Board

Patricia Hamzahee
Chair

Olakunle Babarinde                

Dr Charlie Easmon            

Charlotte Evans
Co-ordinator

Leroy Lawrence

Dr Patricia Kingori

Anthony Simpson             

Trevor Williams                  

Neil Kenlock  

Paul Cleal     

Patrons

Dame Jocelyn Barrow     

Lord Paul Boateng            

Miranda Brawn

Chuka Umunna MP         

Sir Willard White OM OBE             

Idris Elba               

Colin Jackson CBE             

Benjamin Zephaniah       

Kwame Kwei-Armah        

Marie Garrison

 

VACANCIES

Archives Supervisor (Maternity Cover)

Full Time Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton

Job Summary

Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British history. Via the preservation, collecting and making accessible the documentary heritage of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK we achieve deep societal impact.

Our Archivist is central to our mission: ensuring that we can collect, inspire, make accessible and look after our unique and vital heritage,

 

About the Role
 
We are in the middle of a number of exciting archive projects and acquisitions, as well as transitioning as an organisation into an efficient business model. The Archivist is an important role for us as we move into a bright future.

The maternity cover Archives Supervisor will provide continuity for the collection care, the volunteers, the archive donors and our partners. We plan to move our collections held off-site into new storage in early 2020. 


You’ll be a main point of expertise for the team and our visitors. You’ll understand the needs of the collection, and the needs of our researchers. You’ll understand how to interpret Black history for visiting groups, and how to break down visitor stats to report our impact.
 
What you will need to succeed in this role…
  

  • Confident in managing a public facing archive service

  • You'll have a good eye for detail, capable of processing large amounts of enquiries

  • Outstanding communication skills will be vital

  • Your initiative, resourcefulness and 'can do' attitude means you'll be an asset and great advocate for BCA

  • Your customer focused approach means you'll be committed to delivering results that will benefit the wider community

  • Understand the preservation needs of different materials

  • You will have an intersectional approach to navigating and removing barriers for accessing archives

  • A collaborative approach to team work

  • Knowledge of cataloguing systems

  • An active engagement in contemporary archives practice

  • An understanding of Black British history

  • Organisation and time management are mutually important for this role.

  
Next Steps...

If you are talented, passionate about our work and want to use your skills, knowledge and experience to share the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent please apply online, with a covering letter and 2 page CV, and the diversity data monitoring form.

There is no specific degree requirement. Your previous experience, growth mindset and enthusiasm for what we do are more valuable.

We are committed to cultivating a fair and healthy environment, where everyone can be themselves and thrive. We are happy to discuss flexible working options for all roles. We work to ensure that our recruitment processes are as inclusive as possible to everyone. This includes making adjustments for people who have a disability or long-term condition. If you would like us to make adjustments during the application process, please let us know.

Fixed term – 12 months

Salary - £28,000

Visa Sponsorship  No

Number of Positions 1

Interview Timing By mid-November 2019

Applications to be received by 11:59pm on 4th November 2019

 

 
 

Our Supporters

The establishment of our landmark building at 1 Windrush Square was made possible by initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Lambeth, and with support from numerous charitable trusts, sponsors and individuals.

The BCA volunteers and Friends make an invaluable contribution to our work.

We would like to thank the following:

 
 
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