News / Events

Current/ forthcoming events

4 May – 16 June
Aratta: The Exhibition
Manchester Central Library, Lower Ground Floor exhibition space
Showcases the stories of people in Manchester with Armenian heritage or intricate ties to Armenia. The exhibition includes the fantastic photography of Robert Binder and Darren Bullock along with extracts from several oral history interviews with the individuals involved.

13 June 2019 5.30-8.00 pm
‘The violence of empire come home’: Slavery, colonialism and Peterloo
Manchester Central Library
As part of this year’s Peterloo bicentenary, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre invites you to a public talk from Dr Shirin Hirsch (Manchester Metropolitan University and People’s History Museum) on the colonial context and implications of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, alongside spoken word performances of black voices past and present, responding to the themes of slavery, oppression and protest.

Tickets from Eventbrite

18 June – 31 July 
Journeys to Manchester
Manchester Central Library, Lower Ground Floor exhibition space
Exploresthe lives of people displaced by conflict, persecution or natural disaster. The heart of the exhibition is AIU Centre’s very own archives – everything from photographs of traditional dancing to flyers advertising Refugee Radio broadcasting workshops.

4 July 2019 5.30-8.00 pm
Generation Revolution Film Screening

As part of this year’s Peterloo bicentenary, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre invite you to a screening of Generation Revolution, a feature-length documentary film that brings to screen the powerful story of London’s new generation of black and brown activists who are set on changing the social and political landscape in the capital and beyond.

Tickets from Eventbrite

 More information about our events

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Previous events

9 May 2019 5.00-7.00 pm
Addressing Honour-based Abuse: Opportunities and Challenges
Manchester Central Library

Panel discussion which will be discussing the opportunities and challenges of addressing ‘honour’-based abuse. Hear from a range of representatives working in the policing, education, research and community sectors, including leading national experts, Karma Nirvana. The panel will also be responding to questions posed by the audience. Information about the development of our new HBA Collection, and other HBA projects will be available. Refreshments will be served and the event is free to attend.

Booking and details

30 April 2019 6.00-7.45 pm
Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War – book launch
Marika Sherwood will be at the Library to launch her latest book, Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War, which will be available for purchase and signing on the night.

Tickets from Eventbrite

Thursday 13 December 6.00-7.45 pm
Exhibition: Transatlantic Black Freedom Struggles
Manchester Central Library

A student-led exhibition featuring more than twenty digital projects documenting the global links between movements for racial change in the United States and United Kingdom in the 20th Century. Come and learn more about how Black British activists responded to the US Black Freedom Movement as well as built their own autonomous campaigns for social justice. This event is organized by students and staff in the History Department at the University of Manchester with support from the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and the School of Arts, Languages, & Cultures Office of Social Responsibility.

Free – please book via Eventbrite

Monday 22 October 5.30 pm
Generation Revolution film screening
Manchester Central Library

Join us for a screening of Generation Revolution, a feature-length documentary film that tells the powerful story of London’s new generation of black and brown activists who are set on changing the social and political landscape in the capital and beyond.

Thursday 25 October 10.30 am -3.30 pm
Manchester Central Library

Though funding has increased for BAME heritage projects, their visibility in the UK’s museums and archives has not. This free event will explore the value of preserving memories for future generations and help you to develop some of the basic skills required. We hope you will leave this event feeling empowered to play your part.

Thursday 25 October 5.30 pm
Ghana and its Contemporary Global Relations with Professor Adams Bodomo
Manchester Central Library

In this evening session Professor Adams Bodomo, Head of African Studies at the University of Vienna, discusses Ghana’s contemporary position in global politics and international relations.

Saturday 20 September 2:00-4:00 pm
From Oppression to Expression
John Rylands Library
Discover fascinating stories which begin with the work of missionaries and commonwealth statesmen, and go on to include poets, activists and the journey towards inclusion.
More details

Saturday 29 September 7:00-9:00 pm
Black History Month Greater Manchester 2018 – Launch Event

Join us for the 2018 launch at Manchester Cathedral: an evening of entertainment representing Greater Manchester’s diverse Black communities’ history and culture, including poetry and music.

Seats must be reserved at 

Monday 1 October
She Wrote Her Own Eulogy – Book Launch
Manchester Central Library
Launch of Shirley May’s first book of poetry.

Tuesday 2 October
How our Schools Fail Black Children… and what we can do about it
Manchester Central Library

Friday 17 August 2:00-3:pm
Summer Reading Challenge storytime and crafting
Manchester Central Library, Lower Ground Floor Link

Listen to some stories, from our books of traditional tales retold by Manchester schoolchildren, and make a creature based on one of the stories! Free and no booking required, just turn up.

Friday 6 July
Coming in From the Cold Community Showcase
GMCVO, St Thomas Centre

An opportunity to meet and chat to people running Heritage Lottery funded projects and to find out about their work.

Saturday 14 July 12-4.30pm
1978 Northern Carnival Against the Nazis 40th anniversary event
Performance Space, Manchester Central Library
The Northern Carnival against the Nazisa rally and concert held on 15 July 1978 in Moss Side, Manchester – was a defining moment in establishing anti-racism in the city and beyond.

To celebrate this pivotal moment in Manchester’s fight against racism, Manchester Digital Music Archive and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust have brought together the original organisers of the Carnival for a panel discussion and all-day event exploring its impact and continuing relevance today.

Tickets available from Eventbrite

Monday 2 July
12-4 pm
Festival of Ageing Launch Event
Manchester Central Library (12-3 pm), Manchester Art Gallery and Albert Square

The three Festival venues will house a themed programme of events which will launch the first Greater Manchester Festival of Ageing. Zoned activities will offer taster sessions, exhibitions, activities and information of all the great things on offer around GM.

More Information  
Facebook Event

Tuesday 5 June 7.30 – 9.30 pm- 4 week Course 
A History of the Windrush Generation in the UK.
Support4Progress, Westwood Street, Moss Side

Sunday 10 June 11 am – 4 pm
Manchester Central Library
Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day

Manchester Central Library will be open on Sunday 10 June for the Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day, and there will be over 60 different groups around the building sharing exhibitions and activities.

We are planning some exciting things for our library space on the lower ground floor, including crafting for children and adults, video, a chance to listen to some of our archival material and displays – and of course while you’re here you can browse our books and even borrow them, as well as talking to our lovely team!

Saturday 16 June 11 am – 4 pm
University of Manchester Community Festival, centred round Manchester Museum, University Place and Bridgeford Street.

The University of Manchester is set to throw open its doors to the people of Manchester for its annual Community Festival on Saturday 16 June.

AIURRRC will have a stall in the Museum.

For more information about the Festival please go to the Community Festival webpages

Saturday 23 June, 2018
The Bigger Book Bash

Stanley Grove Primary Academy, Longsight, Manchester
Manchester Children’s Book Festival will be working in partnership this year to put on a free day of activities for families and young children in Longsight.
Including a specially commissioned story in the MCBF Snorytime Van, authors, illustrators and performances and activities for all the family.

Saturday 26 May 11am-4pm
Another England
Performance Space Manchester Central Library

This day workshop aims to explore the ways in which Black and Asian heritage has been integral to England’s identity, and to document the spaces and places that have played a vital role in the lives of Black and Asian people across the country.

You are invited to bring the photos, stories and memories of spaces that have had an impact on your life: from places of worship to workplaces, and playgrounds to public squares, come help map the spaces that you feel are important to Manchester’s Black and Asian history.

The event is free, family friendly, drop-in any time and there will be activities suitable for young children.

Find out more at

Thursday 15 March 6:00 -8:00 pm

Book Launch: The Cotton Famine
Manchester Central Library

We are hosting the launch of a new book by Mark Krantz, who teaches for the Workers Education Association at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. He is an activist and a long standing campaigner against racism and fascism. His previous books chart the textile workers struggles at Peterloo in 1819 and of the Chartists in the 1842 General Strike.

On New Years Day 1863 the slaves in America were granted freedom when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War.

In The Cotton Famine Mark Krantz tells the story of how it came about that ‘textile workers refused to handle slave-picked cotton and helped end slavery’.

Free, but please book via Eventbrite

Wednesday 7 February 6:00 -8:00 pm
Book Launch and Meeting In Memoriam A. Sivanandan
Manchester Central Library

Liz Fekete is Director of the Institute of Race Relations and an Advisory Editor on Race & Class.  Join Liz Fekete for the launch of her new book Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right where she will also be discussing the legacy of the late A.Sivanandan

Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right is published by Verso. More information at:

The event is free, but please book to ensure a place:

Tuesday 14 November 5:30 pm
Hip Hop at the Library
Manchester Central Library

This year the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre is working with the American Studies department at the University of Manchester to build a brand new library resource, focusing on themes of Hip Hop, Grime, spoken word, education and social justice.

Join us as we mark the start of this exciting project with Reflections on a decade of Grime by Joy White, of Independent Social Research Foundation and Greenwich University, performances from Young Identity and an insight from Shirley May of Commonword into her Hip Hop Education work in Manchester schools.

Free. More details and booking at Eventbrite

Monday 30 October 2017 6:00 pm
Britain on Film / Black Britain Screening
Manchester Central Library

Striking, illuminating and sometimes surprising images of black culture, community and characters, spanning over a century of British film and TV at the British Film Institute.

Free. Booking via Eventbrite

Tuesday 24 October 1:00 pm
Black History Month: Africa Celebrates
Manchester Central Library

Join us at Manchester’s Central Library for an afternoon of African culture.
Free – drop-in

Tuesday 17 October 2017 6:00 pm
The Bible, Tithing and Africans’ Prosperity
Manchester Central Library

A seminar with Dr. Lawrence Emeka Modeme (LLB, LLM, PhD, BL), founder and co-ordinator One Soul Movement & Senior Lecturer in Law at MMU

Free. Booking via Eventbrite

Monday 16 October 2017 6:00 pm
Long Live Our England
Room BR 2.16, Manchester Metropolitan University Birley Campus

We are partnering with the North West Film Archive for this screening of two programmes from the BBC North West Regional TV Documentary series ‘Long Live Our England’.
‘Young and Black’ – a 1972 programme on the prejudice encountered by young black people in Britain which highlights their sense of isolation. A group of black teenagers from Moss Side are interviewed and talk about their experiences of racial discrimination – at school, in the army and by the police.
‘Strangers Yet’ – the 1982 follow-up programme in which participants from the original series are shown at a special screening of the programmes in Moss Side ten years later.

For more information and to book go to Eventbrite

Tuesday 10 October 2017 6:00 pm
Dreadlocks Story Film Screening
University Place Theatre A

(University of Manchester and Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre.)

We’re excited to screen DREADLOCKS STORY, a documentary by Linda Aïnouche that reveals the hidden spiritual links between Jamaican Rastas and Indian Sadhus.

Indians and African descendants met on the plantations and created something absolutely unique and indispensable to express their oppression. The film explores the bonds of survival of African and Indian culture in Jamaica, in view of up-front anti-slavery and anti-imperialist struggles. This extraordinary film was shot in four countries (India, Jamaica, France and the USA), in four languages (Hindi, Jamaican Patois, French and English), with four local crews.

The director will be joining us for the event and there will be an opportunity to ask questions and talk to her about her work. Read more about the film here:

Please book via Eventbrite 

Wednesday 4 October 12:30 pm
30 Years of Black History Month: Where are we now?
Manchester Central Library

Join us and the University of Manchester’s BAME Staff Network as we celebrate and discuss 30 years of Black History Month with special guest speaker Kehinde Andrews of Birmingham University and a panel discussion.
Free, but please register on Eventbrite

26 September 2017 7:00 pm
Black History Month Greater Manchester 2017 Launch
Manchester Cathedral

The launch of the October arts festival Black History Month 2017

An evening of entertainment representing Greater Manchester’s diverse Black communities’ history and culture, including poetry and music.

Hosted by National Black Arts Alliance and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust and supported by Forever Manchester

Details on the BHMGM 2017 website

Free, but please book on Eventbrite

27 July 2017
Community History Showcase

Performance Space Central Library

Following last year’s successful showcase event, we are once again providing a space for community groups to share their heritage projects.

Contact us if you would like to participate.

Further details on our blog.

30 June 2017 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Roots and Leaves at Didsbury Arts Festival

Didsbury Library

A craft activity illustrating heritage through a co-operative mural, and a chance to look at, and hear some of the stories from the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre collection.

More information 

24 June 2017 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Fun Day

MMU Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Rosamond Street West, Off Oxford Road M15 6LL

We will be there with a selection of our books for sale, and a fun crafting activity based on The Gingerbread Bees. Look out for us in the story-telling tent too!

The Book Festival is a free event, drop in any time during the day.

See more about the various activities and events.

14 June 2017 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Ian Johns: Photographing Manchester’s Black History + REELmcr

Back by popular demand, Ian Johns will showcase his work and chat about being a Black photographer and activist in Manchester.
REELmcr will also speak about their current project, Hulme ‘sweet’ Hulme, and the creation of a group poem written by previous and present residents of Hulme with the help of poet Tony Walsh. They will show a short extract of the film of the poem, currently in progress.

Free but please book online here

Till end of May 2017
Family Ties – The Adamah Papers – Exhibition

The exhibition area on the lower ground floor of Central Library is currently premiering this exhibition from the Black History Archive in London – follow the link for more information about the project.

30 May, 31 May 2017 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Just An Ordinary Lawyer
Manchester Central Library (Performance Space,  Ground Floor)

Tayo Aluko’s new one man musical stage play

“The British Empire was trying desperately to hold on to its colonial possessions by any means … and the foul would often override the fair.”

Lawyer-1st-photo cropNigerian Tunji Sowande quietly breaks through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first Black judge in 1978. Also a fine concert singer and keen cricket lover, he muses on international politics and history as they affect the Black world from Africa to the USA and Britain, from the point of view of one who would rather watch sports, and spread love and peace through the medium of song.

Recalling heroic sporting achievements alongside epoch-defining political events, Tayo Aluko follows the multi-award-winning Call Mr. Robeson with another “brilliantly put together history lesson delivered as art.”

Tickets £8.00 – book online here

Download the flyer here

6 May 2017 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Polish Heritage Day
Archives+ handling table – ground floor Manchester Central Library

We are celebrating Polish heritage day by partnering with  Eva Szegidewicz from the Kresy  family WWII history group and  Archives + and showcasing books,  including our own Polish folktale and a wide selection of books and DVDs on the subject of the deportation of an estimated 1.7 million Polish citizens to Siberia in 1940/41 and the journey they made to Manchester after WWII.    

There will also be Polish treats to sample.

We would like to increase our knowledge and collections  about Manchester’s Polish community, and  so if you have anything to add, please let us know.

22 April 2017 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Family Ties – The Adamah Papers
Tracing your African Caribbean Roots workshop with Adrian Stone
Manchester Central Library (Performance Space 1,  Ground Floor)

Adrian is an experienced genealogist who has researched his own family history for over eight years from his African ancestors to Jamaica.  This unique workshop will offer you the opportunity to search your own family tree, learn about the tools you can access and gain first hand tips from the expert.

Free, but please book through Ticketsource (see above), by emailing, or on 0161 275 2920

Space is limited, so early booking is advisable to secure your space. Participants will need to bring a laptop or tablet to the workshop.

Download the Family Ties workshop flyer

6 April 2017 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Adamah Family Ties Exhibition launch event
Manchester Central Library (Exhibition area, Lower Ground Floor)

Exhibition launch, with an introduction to the exhibition by Natalie Fiawoo of Black Cultural Archives, Brixton and live performance by Adamah descendant, poet TuggS.T.A.R
Light refreshments available from 6pm.
Free, but please book through Ticketsource (see above), by emailing or on  0161 275 2920- we need to know numbers for catering purposes.

Download the Family Ties – Launch flyer

From February 2017

Manchester Central Library (Exhibition Space, Lower Ground Floor)
It’s all change in the exhibition area on the lower ground floor of Central Library, which has been home to the Legacy of Ahmed display since October.
If you didn’t get a chance to see the exhibitions on the Manchester Refugee Support Network ‘Were You There?’ project and The Art of Amang Mardokhy when they were here last year, you’ll be pleased to know that they have returned to the exhibition space – drop in and see them while you’re visiting the library!


October 2016 – January 2017
Legacy of Ahmed Project Exhibition

Manchester Central Library (Exhibition Space, Lower Ground Floor)

During library opening hours:
9:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday-Thursday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Friday and Saturday

1 December 2016 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Celebrating black, minority ethnic, refugee and migrant heritage
Manchester Central Library
An event for not-for-profit organisations that want to celebrate their BME, refugee or migrant heritage.

Would you like to deliver a project that celebrates your community’s heritage? Wondering how to build a strong project?

The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund (North West) can help you. Come to our free joint event on the 1st December at Central Library.

See the poster for more information

October 2016
Black History Month

Friday 30 September 7:15 – 8:45 pm
Black History Month Greater Manchester 2016 launch event
Manchester Cathedral
Book via Eventbrite

Thursday 6 October 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Photographing Britain’s Black History
Manchester Central Library
Book via Eventbrite

Friday 14 October 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Legacy of Ahmed Project Commemoration
Manchester Central Library
Event by invitation only, but the exhibition will be open to all from October to December

Tuesday 25 October 6:00 – 7:45 pm
Ray Costello: Black History in Liverpool & soldiers in WWI
Manchester Central Library
Book via Eventbrite

Thursday 8 September 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Manchester Central Library (Ground Floor, Performance Space 1)
Treasures of the Black Cultural Archives
Lunchtime talk by Victoria Northridge, Collections Manager at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, who will be giving  a talk/presentation to share one of their collections: that of  Autograph – the Association of Black Photographers.
Free, but please book through Eventbrite.

Thursday 25 August 2:00 – 3:00 pm, Manchester Central Library (Lower Ground Floor)
Storytelling activity
Drop-in session – listen to  one of our stories and take part in a crafting activity based on the story.

Part of the Summer Holiday Events at Manchester Central Library 

Black and White – an Oral History of Nigerian Immigrants.


The photo exhibition will be in our library until 7 July.

Saturday 9 July 12:00 – 4:30 pm Performance Space Manchester Central Library
The Little Book of Answers
Hosted by THE LITTLE BOOK OF ANSWERS and University of Manchester Sociology

What does it mean to be British? Join us for an exploration of identity, Britishness and citizenship.

The event is based on visual artist Laura Malacart’s book ‘The Little Book of Answers’ which is created using the answers from the UK citizenship test. Shown in alphabetical order, the answers seem a collection of data, a musical score or concrete poetry. 

Come along, have a look at the answers and see what YOU think they say about citizenship and identity. You might even like to try guessing the missing questions…

Laura Malacart has invited collaborators to join her to explore the work and there will be discussions and performances throughout the event.

Everybody welcome. Feel free to drop in for a few minutes or stay longer.

Manchester Children’s Book Festival

banner-festival-booksSaturday 25 June 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Geoffrey Manton Building
Rosamond Street West, Manchester M15 6LL.

Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Fun Day
We’ll be telling stories and crafting, as well as selling our books at a special Book Festival price. Look out for us in the storytelling tent at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm.

Events for Manchester Histories Festival

Saturday 4 June 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Longsight Library

Longsight Communities: Learn about the past 30 years of Longsight’s history and Anannadiversity.  Talks by local activists Bob Day, Safina Islam and John Nicolson, explore the importance of community organisations the Roby, Ananna (Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation), and South Manchester Law Centre.
Free, but please book.

Tuesday 7 June 1:30 – 5:30 pm, Performance Space 2&3, Manchester Central Library

Community Showcase: co-hosted by The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust and the Voices of KosovoHeritage Lottery Fund NorthWest, BME community groups share and showcase their Manchester heritage projects. Stalls, exhibitions, presentations and talks by:  Manchester Refugee Support Network; Creative Hands Foundation; Alchemy Arts; WarmHut; Afristar; Millenium Powerhouse; Southern Voices; Manchester Aid to Kosovo and more!

Free, but please book.

Saturday 11 June 10:30 am – 4:00 pm, Manchester Town Hall

The MHF’s Celebration Day provides a focus for the festival bringing together histories Manchistand heritage groups from across Greater Manchester. The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust will be there alongside our Archives+ partners.

Wednesday 18 May
An Introduction to Oral History

 at Manchester Central Library

This self-contained day course, organised jointly by the British Library and the Oral History Society, aims to be an informal and practical introduction to oral history interviewing with an opportunity to handle recording equipment and discuss some of the issues around oral history, life stories and memory. Places are limited to twelve per day course and demand exceeds available places, so please apply early. No previous experience of oral history is required. Each course is led by one of the BL/OHS-accredited trainers.
The programme includes:
What is oral history?: understanding memory
Getting started: aims and objectives, who to interview, question approaches
The interview: do’s and don’ts
Practical work: an introduction to recording equipment and practice interviewing
After the interview: summarising, transcription, copyright, archiving

For a full programme of the day and a booking form visit the OHS training webpage ( or contact Eleanor Lowe on 020 7412 7404 or

Thursday 5 May 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Is China colonizing Africa?
Performance Space, Manchester Central Library

A4 Prof Adams Bodomo Leaflet copy1The first of two public lectures on the growing economic relationship between African and Caribbean countries and China Africa International with the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre

This first lecture will be given by Professor Adams Bodomo of the University of Vienna.  Professor Bodomo has lectured and published widely on the topic of Africa – China relations.  The second lecture – date to be announced – will be given by Ambassador, the Honourable Professor Richard L. Bernal, OJ, Counsellor for Jamaica Inter-American Bank and Professor of Economics at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies.

Book through Eventbrite:

Click on the leaflet to view full-size and download.

Thursday 21 April  5:00 – 7:00 pm
Professor George Lipsitz
From Plessy to Ferguson: The Racialization of Time and Place
The Arts Lecture Theatre, Samuel Alexander Building, Lime Grove, University of Manchester

Flyer for Prof Lipsitz lecture

Public lecture followed by reception.

Professor George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a visiting Taylor Fellow in the Division of English, American Studies and Creative Writing (EAC) at the University of Manchester, and we are co-hosting this event with the University.

Book through Eventbrite:

Click on the leaflet to view full-size and download.

Friday 11 March – Friday 29 April
Gyani Sundar Singh Sagar’s Moped Showcased
Location: Ground floor Manchester Central Library, near the café/oculis.


Gyani Sundar Singh Sagar (1917-1996)

A Man for all People
On 15 November 1976 a law was passed that allowed Sikhs to wear turbans on motorcycles. A Mancunian, Gyani Sundar Singh Sagar, was widely credited as bringing about this historic amendment. This was not the only time he stood up for the turban and Manchester.

A Sikh scholar and political activist, Sagar was born in India. He graduated from the University of Amritsar and first visited England in 1940. The family settled in Manchester in 1947 after Indian partition.

Victory for the people of Manchester
In 1959 Gyani Ji was refused a job on the buses unless he wore the regulation peaked cap. He refused and began a campaign to persuade Manchester Corporation’s Transport Committee to adjust their uniform policy. Several years and rejections later, Gyani Ji organised a petition and gathered 2000 Sikh and 3000 non-Sikh names. The petition was presented to Lord Mayor Nellie Beer and in December 1966 Manchester Corporation finally allowed Sikh bus workers to wear turbans as part of their uniform. He responded this with “A great day for Sikhs but a victory for the people of Manchester”.

Leader of the Pack
With the introduction of the Motorcycle Crash Helmets Act of 1972, Sikhs were forbidden from wearing turbans on motorcycles. Gyani Ji led the fight to amend this law. He argued that if Sikhs were allowed to die in two world wars wearing turbans they should have the choice to ride a motorcycle with a turban. In 1976 he bought a moped and rode it with pride wearing his turban. He was arrested several times and refused to pay the fines until he was sentenced to a week in HM prison at Strangeways.

Press and TV were gathered for his release and witnessed him mounting his moped to ride home. He was stopped by the police seven times on his journey home and was ready to face prison again. However on 15 November an amendment  went through parliament allowing Sikhs to ride motorcycles wearing turbans. Again Gyani Ji thought this was a “victory for common sense and the people of Britain.”

Manchester Central Library has a permanent exhibition about the turban campaigns in the Radical Manchester interactive in Archives+.  For two months only we will showcase Gyani Ji’s original moped, lovingly restored by his sons.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Wednesday 27 January

Moss Side and Hulme People and Places
Monday 7 December 2015, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Performance space, ground floor, Manchester Central Library

Moss Side and HulmeDo you have memories of Moss Side and Hulme ?

Join us to look at our collection of photographs, c1980, donated by Elouise Edwards.

Maria Noble will share her own thoughts and lead discussion on the photographic themes:
Buildings and landscape; Community; Activism

Bring along your own photographs to add to the collection and be scanned on the day.

Book tickets

Africa International: Pan African Campaigns in Retrospect
Wednesday 25 November, 5:00 – 7:30 pm
Performance space, ground floor, Manchester Central Library

Part of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Public Lecture Series:
Lectures on Africa


Prof. Abubakar Momoh – Director, Electoral Institute, Abuja, Nigeria.
Topic: Nkrumah, Ghana and After

Dr. Ama Biney – Editor, Pambazuka – A Pan-African Electronic Journal.
Topic: Fanonist “Pitfalls” of the Pan-Africanist movement since 1945.

Maria Noble – Educationist and Community Activist
Topic:  Ras Makonnen: Manchester Black Radicals

Dr Gamal Nkrumah – President, Pan-African Associations & editor of the Al Ahram Weekly Newspaper, Cairo
Topic: Religion and Conflicts in Africa

Book tickets

You Hide Me – African Art in British museums
Wednesday 21 October, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Performance space, ground floor, Manchester Central Library
This evening event includes a screening of two short films exploring African Art in British museums and the impact of colonialism on cultural traditions in African countries. The first film – Challenging Neo-Colonialism (22 minutes) – was filmed by the Workers’ Film Association in Manchester in 1983 and features Ngugi Wa Thiongo, prize-winning Kenyan author. This is followed by You Hide Me (20 minutes) – made by Ghanaian filmmaker Nil Kwate Owoo in 1972, tracking the discovery of Ancient African art and artefacts in the basement of the British Museum. The film screening will be followed by panel discussion and Q&A. Members of the panel include Dr Nick Merriman (Director, Manchester Museum); Wowo Wauters (WFA); and  Dr Paul Okojie (Law, Manchester Metropolitan University), chaired by Peter Fell (University of Manchester).
Joint event with North West Film Archive for Black History Month
Book tickets

The Different Voices of Nina Simone
Tuesday 13 October,  1:00 – 4:30 pm
Performance Space, Manchester Central Library
Shirley May, director /artist and poet, will be facilitating a workshop for the AIURRRC: “The Different Voices of Nina Simone.”
Shirley May recently became one of the 67 “Change Makers”,a new award given by the South Bank, for her work in influencing the landscape of poetry for young people nationally and especially in Manchester. She works with the collective Young Identity of which she is one of the co-founders in 2006.
Shirley will be looking at the work of the icon Nina Simone, her lyric writing and activism. She will be running a writing workshop.
Nina Simone (1933–2003) sang a mix of jazz, blues and folk music in the 1950s and ’60s. A civil rights activist, she wrote songs promoting the Civil Rights Movement. She was a pianist, civil rights activist, singer, journalist …
Bring your favourite Nina Simone song lyrics to the workshop or any black female songstress whose lyrics you have liked and have had a profound influence on who you are. And together let’s create and right or wrong work inspired by these great women.

There will be two workshops; each workshop will last for one and a half hours, from 1-2:30 and from 3:00-4:30. Workshop participants will be encouraged to share their work at the open mic session in the performance space later in the day.
There are limited numbers for the workshops, so places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you have a preference for the first or second session please indicate this when booking your place.
Workshop bookings

Inspired by ‘The Different Voices of Nina Simone’
Tuesday 13 October,  5:30 – 7:30 pm
Performance Space, Manchester Central Library
Following on from the afternoon poetry workshops , Inspired by ‘The Different Voices of Nina Simone’ will allow workshop participants to share their work with a wider audience. Other poets are also welcome to share work which is relevant to the theme of Nina Simone and other black women singers whose lyrics they have found inspiring, and/or to read a favourite lyric.
Tickets (free)

Storytelling and crafting
Monday 24 August 11:00 am – 12:00 noon
Lower ground floor, Manchester Central Library
Reading from one or more of our children’s books, and related craft activities.
More information

Spotlight session – Asian Youth Movements (Tandana Collection)
Wednesday 1 July, 12:30 – 1:30 pm
at the handling table on the ground floor, Manchester Central Library

Here to stayIn the 1970s a new generation of Asian youth were coming of age in the UK. Unlike their parents they identified as British, and were not prepared to tolerate the racism they faced. Asian Youth Movement organisations formed around the country to fight for justice, equality and for the right to live without being victimised. Their motto ‘Here to Stay! Here to Fight!’ captures the radical nature of their activism. The Tandana Collection at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre contains a fascinating selection of papers of the Bradford and Sheffield movements. This spotlight session is an opportunity to browse through this archival collection, including newsletters, photos and pamphlets.

Manchester Children’s Book Festival – Family Fun Day
Saturday 27 June 2015 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

A full Saturday of free activities in the Geoffrey Manton Building at Manchester Metropolitan University’s All Saints Campus (opposite the Commonwealth Aquatics Centre on Oxford Road). Come along and join the fun – there’ll be something for everyone, from pre-readers and nursery age-children to teens and families. And, as well as story-telling, arts, crafts and workshops, there’ll be a bustling market-place of stalls and exhibitions to browse and enjoy. We will be there with crafting activities for the children (and the grown-ups too if they want to join in!)

See the full Festival programme

Help us bring Journey to Justice to Manchester
Friday 26 June 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Central Library Performance Space

Journey to Justice is a mobile exhibition which uses media and music, poetry and interactive installations, to tell the stories of the fight for social justice. As the exhibition travels around the country, the aim is to work with local communities to explore the stories of their fight for freedom, equality and human rights.

The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre are hosting a taster session on 26 June to look at the work which has been done so far, and to explore the possibility of bringing Journey to Justice to Manchester next year. If you are interested, and especially if you have suggestions for potential venues and audiences or sources of funding, please see the invitation and contact 

Museums and Academics Network Event: North West Film Archive and Race Relations Resource Centre Archive
Thursday 11 June 2015 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Central Library Performance Space
The third in this series of museums and academics network events is co-hosted by North West Film Archive (Manchester Metropolitan University) and the Race Relations Resource Centre (University of Manchester), at their shared home in Manchester Central Library.
Join us to find about our nationally important collections and how we can support academics and researchers. As university collections we have expertise to offer, but are keen to develop our links with colleagues from across the North West, and hear your ideas for using our collections in teaching and research.
This event is also open to professionals from other collections and museums, as we continue the wider discussion about how museums and academics in the North West can work together.

Book your tickets on Eventbrite

Public Intellectuals: A Conversation with Professor Aneez Esmail
Challenges for the NHS: Diversity in the Making of a National Institution
Monday 18 May 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Central Library Performance Space
Immigration and the future of the NHS are two of the most prominent issues in the 2015 election. Rarely visible in these debates is the fundamental role played by immigrant doctors and nurses in shaping the development of the NHS as one of Britain’s key institutions. At the same time, healthcare is one of the most significant arenas of everyday life in which people encounter ethnic diversity. Drawing on his experiences as a Manchester GP, academic researcher and social activist, this public conversation with Professor Aneez Esmail explores how dealing with diversity has changed healthcare in Britain, at a time when the NHS is seen as facing radical new challenges and pressures.

Aneez Esmail is Professor of General Practice at the University of Manchester and was Associate Vice-President for Social Responsibility & Equality and Diversity between 2006-14. He has worked as a GP for almost three decades and was Medical Advisor to the Shipman Inquiry. His pioneering research on racial discrimination in the medical profession was recognised internationally with the award of a Harkness Fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He has published extensively on public health, including on the prevention of cot deaths, the epidemiology of solvent abuse, preventing paediatric admissions and the evaluation of telemedicine. Professor Esmail has been co-chair of the BMA Equal Opportunities Committee and President of the Medical Practitioners Union.

Book your tickets on Eventbrite

British Born Chinese – public launch screening and discussion
Thursday 30 April 2015 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Central Library Performance Space
Dr. Elena Barabantseva (Project leader and co-producer), Politics, University of Manchester presents a documentary film about the experiences of Daniel and Kevin, boys born to Chinese migrants and living in Manchester. Made over the course of two years in experimental reflexive and participatory style, the film explores the challenges faced by the two boys seeking to reconcile their Britishness with Chineseness.

There will be a discussion following the film with the first published British Born Chinese novelist, PP Wong, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Dr. Véronique Pin-Fat and the director of the film, Andy Lawrence.

Book your tickets on Eventbrite

Lisapo – the Congolese Tales: film screening
Thursday 19 March 2015  5:00 – 7:00 pm 

Central Library Performance Space
Lisapo has recorded, preserved and shared the untold stories of the Congolese community living in Greater Manchester.  The oral histories collected for this project are now included in our archives.  A performance featuring song, spoken word, narration, moving image, theatre and dance was created from these stories and presented at Band on the Wall in June 2014.

At this event, an edited film of the Lisapo performance will be shown, you will hear from some of the people interviewed for the oral histories, and be able to see an extract from a documentary about the creation of the performance.

Book your tickets on Eventbrite

Civil Rights at the handling table

AMER2To link in with Martin Luther King Day (19 January) , we will be showcasing some of our popular and more unusual Civil Rights material:

When: Wednesday 21 January, 12.30 – 1.30

Where: Handling table, Central Library Ground Floor

Free, drop-in, all welcome!

We’re currently processing an interesting and diverse collection of primary material from 1970s America, including Black publications, political pamphlets and education campaign material. Come and have a peek at what we’ve got, learn something new or share your own knowledge (you may know more about it than we do!)

Nana Bonsu Exhibition

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

20-31 October 2014

Known as Chief Nana Bonsu (the honorary title conferred on him by African Mancunians), Beresford Edwards was one of the founding fathers of the African Caribbean community in Manchester.

Berry fought racism and defended the rights of black people in the UK ever since he made his home in Moss Side, Manchester and was voted one of the 100 greatest Black Britons in 2004.

The banners which will be on display telling his story are from the exhibition created by First Cut Media and Performing Arts with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund  – see

The Curious Incident Of The Gurkha Knife
a mini drama of an epic story

AnjumManchester Central Library (Performance Space 3, Ground Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2  5PD
Saturday 1 November 2014  1:30 – 3:30 pm

Based on a true story of a Gurkha knife on display in a shop in Deansgate, Manchester in 1915 we journey to Holland, South Africa, Nepal and India celebrating unseen heroic characters and stories in times of war.

Written and performed by Anjum Malik, multi lingual Poet, Scriptwriter and teacher of creative writing.

This is an Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by Arts Council England, Manchester Metropolitan University and Cartwheel Arts.

More information

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