We are getting in touch as we are in the process of establishing a new organisation. As you may well know, calls for the decolonisation of education have been echoing around the world for many years. Still, the structural and systemic problems within higher education remain, knowledge production is still overwhelmingly white and continues to incur a great deal of harm upon our communities. Students are often still dissatisfied with their education, there is an epidemic across universities with regards to Black student’s mental health, and the attainment gap shows no signs of closing.
The Free Black University is a hub for radical and transformative knowledge production. We exist to re-distribute knowledge and act as a space of incubation for the creation of transformative knowledge in the Black community. We also offer a space of healing for our community. Education itself has become traumatising for too many Black people and this is something we need to address.
Education is at the heart of growth and transformation in our society. Today we stand at a critical juncture in our collective history. It is imperative we focus on what the production of knowledge looks like after this point. The thought leaders of the next generation need deep and transformational spaces to develop their thinking in the face of the present challenges. We firmly believe education should centre Black people healing and it should be free, anti-colonial, and accessible to all – so we will provide it. This project is Black, queer, trans, anti-colonial, and revolutionary from its very heart.
The long-term vision for this work is to:
1) Provide Black radical books to Black people who would otherwise not have access to it – this includes those incarcerated
2) Deliver a range of open access and accessible online lectures primarily aimed at Black audiences, exploring radical and transformational topics
3) Create a space of community and care for Black students to address the mental health crisis amongst Black students that universities are failing to sufficiently address
4) Build an open access, free, and expansive online library of radical readings and writings– we will no longer stand for the gatekeeping of knowledge
5) Build a publication – our journal, and later our Press, will centre radical and transformational thought that may not be respected under the current frame of knowledge
6) A member’s space for emerging Black academics that need support and community during and beyond their academic journey
7) A podcast that will explore complex and transformational ideas in accessible and simplified ways – this podcast will speak to Black thinkers, organisers, academics, spiritualists, creatives, etc.
8) We will build a physical space – a hub for our work and a space for all Black people to access, created intentionally and in the interest of anti-colonial and healing work. This space will include; teaching rooms, a book shop, restaurant, and healing areas.
9) An annual conference that brings together Black radical thinkers (that are not only academics) to collectively produce knowledge and vision for Black liberation.
10) FREE AND ACCESSIBLE EDUCATION CENTRED ON THE FREEDOM OF BLACK PEOPLE WHICH NECESSARILY SUCCEEDS THE FREEDOM OF ALL PEOPLE
We are a coalition of Black students at various levels of higher education, and recent alumni. We have worked across the higher education system, as well as experience in charities, public policy, and the private sector. We have campaigned for the decolonisation of education for years, unfortunately, to no avail, so we have decided to take the responsibility and care for our community into our own hands.
What we hope to do here is transformative – it has the potential to entirely transform the landscape of education and knowledge production. Black thinkers and Black visionaries need to lead this intellectual revolution. We believe that the best way to radically transform education is through creating intentionally anti-colonial, queer and caring spaces for Black folk to do this work.
Help us bring our vision into fruition by sharing our fundraiser, donating if you can, and circulating our mission amongst your networks.
Melz Owusu and the Free Black University Team
The Free Black University
@freeblackuni (Twitter & Instagram)