Tag: Black Lives Matter

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival stood firm in our solidarity with protestors and those fighting against racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, and state violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rodney King and all those who have been attacked and murdered before and since.

Alongside calling for justice abroad, we reiterate our commitment to do everything within our power to ensure racial justice and equality within our own communities and workplaces as well.

Our remit is to bring the best of traditional and contemporary Arab arts and culture to diverse audiences here in the UK and internationally. We are proud to collaborate with a diverse range of artists through our work, which includes black artists who are from or have heritage in the Middle East and North Africa, who face discrimination at home and abroad.

We asked how we could build upon the work we do to actively fight racism and anti-blackness in the UK, the Arab world, and anywhere our work reaches. As we approach the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we’re looking back at the work we have done over the past twelve months:


In 2021, LAAF along with five other arts and culture organisations within the Liverpool City Region are taking part in Generations for Change, a commitment to the diversification of our workplaces. Generations for Change is an exciting, paid, development and training opportunity for young people from Black, Asian and other diverse backgrounds. The project will train, equip and upskill young people from across the Liverpool City Region to deliver a series of creative action research projects, focusing on the key issues and inequalities faced by Black, Asian and other diverse ethnic groups in our local area.

This forms part of the review we are continually undertaking on our recruitment practices. Whether this entails reviewing job descriptions and roles to improve accessibility, or accepting remote working and removing geographical boundaries wherever possible.

Education and Community Participation

As an arts organisation, we have a long and rich history rooted in diversity, with an aim to raise the visibility of Arab art and culture, lending a voice to those who often go unheard. We always want to be able to offer insight and expertise from those we have long standing relationships with, in working with accessibility when it comes to culture and race. We’re currently in the process of recruiting a Cultural Education Producer, who will work to increase opportunities and accessibility for underrepresented groups, working within schools and our communities.


In 2020, LAAF took place in an exclusively digital format – this allowed us to amplify the voices of those who may otherwise go unheard, and to reach new corners – spreading the word of visibility and our commitment to equality. By continuing to work with local communities, we are able to examine any accessibility barriers to work, and strive to remove them. Our work on a grassroots level and within local partnerships allows us to see the role of LAAF as one to be informed, and one to inform.

Working closely with the COoL Collective, of which LAAF is a member, we participated in Black History Month with our project Yemen in Conflict. We have worked collectively with partner organisations to increase our own awareness of race issues, as well as to identify where change is needed and take steps to apply it. LAAF are co-signatories of the joint statement on race equality action put forward by COoL – read here

Reading List

LAAF staff and board members developed a reading list based around racial justice, consisting of articles that we have found interesting both in articulating our own experiences as well as helping us learn and further our understanding. This will continue to expand over the coming months:

Anti-Blackness In The Arab World And The Violence That Doesn’t Get A Hashtag

Putting Afro-Arabs On The Map: The British-Sudanese Artist Reimagining London As An Afrabian Enclave

Palestinian Actress Maryam Abu Khaled Slams Arab Racism In Viral Video

Black Iraqis Say George Floyd’s Death Sheds Light On Their Own Centuries-Long Plight

Bookmark This: Are Acronyms Like Bame A Nonsense?

Black Arab women tackle racist beauty ideals and stereotypes

Too Black to Be Arab, Too Arab to Be Black

Black Lives Matter in the Arab World too

How to be an ally:

Francesca Leigh: 5 Tips for Being an Ally

Evelyn from the Internets: How To Be an Ally

LAAF is honoured to be participating in Liverpool Black History Month with our partners at Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL) 

We will present Yemen in Conflict alongside the University of Leeds and the University of Liverpool, a project that explores how Yemeni literature and poetry can be safeguarded, and how it can further the understanding of the situation in Yemen. Whether they evoke the iconic streets of Sana’a in Yemen, or Liverpool, the commissioned works for the project are part of a ‘living archive’ that speaks to the experiences of Yemenis living in Britain today.


You can read LAAF’s statement on Black Lives Matter, from 11 June 2020, here.

Liverpool Black History Month
Culture Liverpool is proud to be supporting Liverpool Black History Month 2020, which this year is more vital than ever. The Black Lives Matter protests in response to the racist killing of George Floyd and the Coronavirus pandemic have laid bare deep structural inequalities. Black communities and anti-racists across the globe are demanding change. Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL) and partners recognise the role that the arts can play in affecting that change. We have come together to promote equality and justice through a range of art forms and to stand in solidarity with all of our communities facing racial discrimination.

Liverpool, with the oldest continuous black community in Europe, has a vibrant heritage, enriched by successive waves of immigration. BHM2020 shines a light on the city’s history but, like the Liver Bird, it looks out across the Atlantic for international connections. BHM2020 will celebrate the artistic excellence of the diaspora. African Superheroes will dance to Brazilian beats, Calypso is arriving on the Empire Windrush, The Sankofa bird will take flight and sculptor Faith Bebbington will protest with plants. Poetry chimes to Afro beats and Latin sounds. The Chinese Youth Orchestra, representing a community at the sharp end of Coronavirus inspired bigotry, reflects on quarantine though a musical fusion of east and west. Travelling back in time, BHM2020 will lead us through the riot torn streets of 1919 and into the heart of the slave trading capital of Europe. Booker prize winner Marlon James is Zooming in from America with Afrofuturist Ytasha Womack, bringing the WoW factor to BHM2020.

ON RECORD – Untold & Retold celebrates, honours and showcases black music on Merseyside through performance, exclusive content and debate.

BHM2020 is a celebration for everyone, good for your soul and good for society. We look forward to seeing you throughout October.

Creative Organisations of Liverpool would like to thank Mayor of Liverpool and Culture Liverpool for supporting this programme and all of our partners who have come together to celebrate Black History Month 2020.

#BHM2020 #BlackLivesMatter