Culture Case Study

Celebrating Black History Month through literature and food

UK Black History Month highlights the importance of celebrating and reflecting on the integral role black people have played in shaping British history, through politics, arts, culture, science, innovation, and much more.

Madano has long recognised UK Black History Month but, this year, our D&I commitee wanted to do something a bit different. After some deliberation, we decided to organise a book club dinner, inviting Madano employees to engage through literature and delicious food.

The next step was to choose a book. We wanted it to be a collaborative initiative, so we opened the floor for book recommendations about British black history and were thrilled to be flooded with over a dozen suggestions. The D&I committee got together and whittled these down to three choices: The Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole; Brixton Rock by Alex Wheatle; and Natives by Akala. Each person who signed up to the book club then had to vote for the book they most liked to read.

The winning title was Brixton Rock by Alex Wheatle - the extraordinary debut of one of the UK's finest writers, a pitch-perfect depiction of South London life, set against the backdrop of the Brixton race riots in London in the 1980s.

Once issued with their copy, we had a month to read the book, and be ready with our thoughts to discuss at the book club event. The book covered some controversial and sensitive topics, which sparked interesting discussions, while we enjoyed some sensational Indo-Caribbean dishes - think smoke fish fritters, curry chicken, spiced jackfruit, curry goat and more.

For those that were interested in reading The Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole and Natives by Akala, we bought some copies for the AVENIR GLOBAL bookshelf, available to all employees in the London office.

We are so pleased we could encourage over a quarter of our workforce to learn more and engage in conversations around UK black history through the lens of a highly acclaimed black author, and enjoy some delicious Indo-Caribbean cuisine, which many of us had never tried before. The success of the book club also provoked discussions on how we could repeat this format or introduce other ways to recognise key awareness dates in future, that would achieve similar engagement and impact.