African Heritage Month at NSCAD

February is African Heritage Month; it’s a special time for everyone to recognize the long and rich history of African Nova Scotians, and to celebrate the culture, legacy, achievements, and contributions of People of African Descent to the social fabric and success of the province.

It’s also a time to raise everyone’s awareness of the racialized issues experienced by African Nova Scotian communities and the hardships they have endured through the ongoing struggle for access to the same opportunities many people take for granted.

We invite you to join us for NSCAD’s virtual African Heritage Month opening ceremony on Monday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m., which will be streamed on NSCAD’s Facebook page.

Nova Scotia’s theme for African Heritage Month in 2021, Black History Matters: Listen, Learn, Share and Act, is a call to for everyone to go beyond talking and take concrete actions to address inequities for Black people within our institutions and broader society.

Such actions must go beyond expressing the intentions of equity, diversity and inclusion policy statements to demonstrating the will to enact them and champion social justice for our broader community. To help achieve these goals last year, NSCAD:

  • announced esteemed researcher Charmaine A. Nelson as our Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art and Community Engagement, who is currently focused on developing the Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery to uncover, preserve, and share the difficult history of Transatlantic Slavery.
  • welcomed DeRico Symonds as our first Director of Opportunity and Belonging, who has been very active since arriving to lead the university’s engagement approach with Mi’kmaq, Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities.
  • established a multi-stakeholder President’s Advisory Council on Anti-Racist Initiatives (PADCARI) to guide the development of an anti-racist action plan for the university, as well as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group to identify and redress the systemic and structural barriers to EDI that are impediments to access and success.

These initiatives are key elements of NSCAD’s Academic Plan: Opportunity and Belonging, 2020-2025, a framework and action plan to guide the university through transformational change.

Please see our African Heritage Month at NSCAD calendar for an overview of our events and others happening in the community.

[Banner image: Agostino Brunias, Linen Market, Dominica (1780), oil on canvas, 49.8 x 68.6 cm., B1981.25.76, Paul Mellon Collection, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.]