Tower Hamlets Black History Month events include exhibition about Poly Styrene

A series of events to mark black history month are scheduled for October. Pic: Jim Grover

A series of events to mark black history month are scheduled for October. Pic: Jim Grover - Credit: Jim Grover

An exhibition about punk band X-Ray Spex’s late singer Poly Styrene is among this year’s Black History Month events.

Workshops on cooking and music as well as live dance and poetry performances will be available in Tower Hamlets throughout the month.

Mayor John Biggs said: "Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of all those with African or Caribbean descent to contemporary British society.

"We are proud of our diversity in Tower Hamlets."

The life of Marianne Elliot-Said, aka Poly Styrene, will be celebrated in an exhibition curated by her daughter, Celeste Bell.

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The display at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park will include original artwork and photography, highlighting Styrene's experiences as a punk legend and mixed race, British artist who lived with mental health problems.

On October 19, Weaving Stories will take place at Idea Store, Canary Wharf, to teach textile skills in a free workshop. Participants can produce new cloth samples while exploring the theme of migration and cultural identity inspired by Caribbean weaving.

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The workshop will encourage participants to combine strips of fabric with each other with the newly formed fabric signifying the formation of new friendships and communities.

Participants need to book in advance and bring discarded clothing to be cut into strips.

From October 18 to 26, the Somali Week Festival celebrates its 11th anniversary with events at Oxford House in Bethnal Green; Queen Mary, University of London; and Rich Mix.

This year's festival looks at how artists, activists and musicians respond and react to changing political times.

On October 24, Poplar Union and the Grand Union Orchestra are offering free instrumental workshops for 12 to 18-year-old musicians to learn about the music of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The full programme of Black History Month events can be found at

The projects have been funded through the council's local community fund, art, parks and events team and City Hall.

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, the council's culture chief, said: "I am delighted the council has played a key role in helping to initiate and promote a wide-ranging series of events.

"I encourage everyone to go along to an event and participate in the programme."

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