LSTM hosts panel discussion on colonial legacies for Black History Month

News article 11 Oct 2023
Dr Ama Biney speaking at the ‘Understanding Colonial Legacies and Exploring Restorative Action’ event

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine hosted a panel discussion on colonial legacies and restorative action as part of Black History Month.

A panel of historians, academics and researchers led the event ‘Understanding Colonial Legacies and Exploring Restorative Action’, delivering a series of talks on Liverpool and LSTM’s colonial legacies and addressing historic and contemporary racial inequities within higher education, global medicine and wider society.  

The panel comprised Professor Stephen Small, Professor Jason Arday, who led the independent review into race equity at LSTM, Dr Ama Biney, Dr Lioba Hirsch and Laurence Westgaph. 

Samia Benbrih, LSTM’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager (ED&I) and host of the event, said: “Black History Month is a critical moment of reflection and celebration marking the invaluable contributions of Black people to UK society. As LSTM’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager I was proud to host this panel event which offered a platform for renowned experts to discuss issues of such significance to LSTM’s staff, students and the communities we serve both in the UK and globally.

“Whilst the panel event was focused on examining colonial legacies and restorative action, including LSTM’s origins, in keeping with the theme of BHM UK 2023 – Celebrating Our Sisters – I was especially pleased to host Dr Lioba Hirsch and Dr Ama Biney whose research in the fields of global health and West Africa are vitally important.

“It’s been a pleasure to work in partnership with the University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences on this who, later in the month, will host an event at the Tung Auditorium on the ‘Bio-Ethics of Being Black in Science and Medicine’. This event will spotlight the experience of Henrietta Lacks and exploring how long-standing racial disparities can be reformed”.

Professor Hilary Ranson, Dean of Research Culture and Integrity at LSTM, who welcomed attendees to the event and introduced the panel, said: “As an institution at the beginning of our journey examining our history and heritage, intending to address this in a meaningful way, we were delighted to host this panel event and hear from experts in colonial legacies and restorative justice.  These honest and challenging discussions are a critical part of our commitment to becoming a racially conscious organisation.

“I am extremely grateful to our ED&I Manager, Samia Benbrih, and Race Equity Project Manager, Lucy Tomlinson, for all the work they have put into this event and their continued work in supporting LSTM to be actively anti-racist in all that we do.”

The event, hosted at LSTM’s Pembroke House on Thursday, was sold out with 120 guests in attendance in-person and streamed to a wider audience online.

Panellists shared their insights in response to questions from the host before fielding questions from the audience. The event received positive feedback from attendees, praising the scholarly, illuminating contributions and its potential to have a positive impact for LSTM and in its engagement with local communities.

Forthcoming events for Black History Month include a performance and debate ‘Bioethics of Being Black in Science and Medicine’, hosted by the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool and LSTM on October 12.