Hidden Architectural Voices

Decolonising@Lincoln summer project 2023

Chiji Amaechi (Graduate – Bachelor of Architecture 2023) 

Kuro Krukrubo (Graduate – Bachelor of Architecture 2023) 

Leslie Mfonow Tochukwu (3rd Year Student – Bachelor of Architecture 2023) 

(Mentor: Mark Olweny, Senior Lecturer in Architecture) 

Photo of Leslie Mfonow Tochukwu (3rd Year Student – Bachelor of Architecture 2023) in front of the display in the university library.
Leslie Mfonow Tochukwu (3rd Year Student – Bachelor of Architecture 2023) with the display in the university library (photo by Alexander White)

Architectural education embarks on a journey of exploration, utilising various architects and their projects to foster an understanding of the development of architectural ideas. Yet, a conspicuous absence becomes apparent – the lack of architects of colour and architectural projects designed by individuals of colour in formal lectures, tutorials, and architectural publications. This absence in the established canon poses a challenge, particularly for us as students of colour who may come to believe that architects of colour are non-existent. 

Recognising the importance of providing students with access to diverse histories within architectural education, we initiated a project that culminated with this exhibition. A pivotal question arose: ‘Where are the hidden voices in architecture?’ As Craig Wilkins suggests in his book “Diversity Among Architects,” we must exercise caution not to equate invisibility with absence. Undoubtedly, architects from minority groups have existed in the past, and their lack of immediate visibility does not negate their existence. This realisation propelled us to delve into the archives to uncover some of these individuals and their individual stories. This was bolstered by the election of Muyiwa Oki as the first black president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2022. 

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Six Remarkable Black Women Who Shaped British History


The focus for this year’s Black History Month is the theme ‘Saluting Our Sisters and the #WEMATTER movement.   

Black women have played an important role in British life for centuries, but we don’t know much about them.  Their stories are not told in schools and rarely told in higher education.  It’s time to celebrate their achievements and introduce as many people as possible to the many black women who have not be recognised for so long. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has shone a light on black history in the UK and the Decolonising initiatives that have happened in the education sectors, including the University of Lincoln are beginning to uncover uncomfortable truths as well as campaigning for a change in the narrative more widely.  This is crucial to dismantling systemic racism. 

1948 saw the arrival of the Windrush generation but black women were already in the UK from as early as the 1700s.  What do we know about these women?  We should learn from them and be inspired by their courageous and resilient lives. 

The University of Lincoln libraries provide many resources to research these amazing black women. 

Black history month display pictures.
Images of displays in the main library and the Ross library

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The History of Black History Month

Jamie Markham (History and Heritage student and The School of Humanities and Heritage’s SEDIC (Student EDI Committee) 

Black History Month entails rich, cultural history in which’s paves a bright and diverse future for people of colour. It is vital to recognise the extent of racism and discrimination in which have targeted black people for centuries, alongside celebrating the significant contributes of black people to culture, science, politics, sports, and many other fields. However, the history of how Black History Month came to fruition is significantly undermined and underrepresented. Thus, we begin on this journey back in time and seek to build a relationship with Black History Month and it’s past.

Black History Month begins with one man and his determination to represent the resilience of black people and the discrimination in which they faced on a daily basis. Carter. G. Woodson established ‘Negro History Week’ in 1926, in a conscious effort to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the emancipation. Known as the ‘“Father of Black History” he founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to support this mission. During the week, was a celebration of experiences and accomplishments of African-Americans. Woodson seeked to deepen understanding and knowledge of black peoples and their powerful influences on the rest of the world. Therefore, the second week of February became an opportunity to celebrate black liberation.

With this,Negro History Week gained a vast amount of interest and gradually gained popularity and expanded to become Black History Month in 1976. The reason behind it, to expand and allow for more extensive exploration of African American History throughout the entire month. It was conceded that the original purpose of this month was set to recognise and educate people about the efforts of black people despite their struggles in history. Alongside this, the event aimed to combat historical inaccuracies and misconceptions around black history and platform black individuals across a variety of fields. This has previously included individuals such as Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou.

Black History Month began in America but quickly spread to encompass global influence and now serves as a month of national dedication towards the black experience. Many countries gradually followed in a linear fashion, adopting similar approaches towards black representation and racial equality. In the UK for instance, Black history month was first celebrated 11 years later in 1987. After visiting America in the 1970s, Ghanaian-born, Akyaaba Addai Sebo, a special projects officer at the Greater London Council (GLC), founded the UK’s version of Black History Month in 1987. The event coincided with the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation of slavery and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity. Thus, black history month became a staple in reversing the suppression continuously experienced by Black people and paying tribute towards their influence. Today, most importantly, it serves as a reminder of a sustainable journey towards social justice and racial equality. As human beings, it is our responsibility to protect this message.


BiM2023 (2023) Black history month 2023. BiM2023. Available from https://blackhistorymonth.org.uk/black-history-month-2023 [accessed 19 October 2023]

History.com (2023) Black history month. A&E Television Networks. Available from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month [accessed 19 October 2023]

History.com (2023) The man behind black history month. A&E Television Networks. Available from https://www.history.com/news/the-man-behind-black-history-month [accessed 19 October 2023]

National Museum of African American History and Culture (2023) Celebrating black history month. Washington, US: Smithsonian. Available from https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/celebrating-black-history-month [accessed 19 October 2023]