Black History Month, volunteers and lots of talks

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Well I have been silent for over a week as I have been on leave. I went back to see my family in dear old Tadcaster. I am sure you have now all seen the fantastic website which shows you that Tadcaster is an ideal holiday location. Forget about Spain, France or the USA, save on your carbon footprint and travel to Tadcaster on the Yorkshire coastliner bus from Leeds station! The week prior to my mini break was a really interesting one. On Monday 1 October I gave the keynote speech to open Trafford Black History Month at the Imperial War Museum North. It was a diverse audience, with local schoolchildren, civic dignitaries (I had a coffee with the mayor!) and museum professionals. I talked about the development of the International Slavery Museum as well as the need for Black History Month and indeed the teaching of Black history in schools. On the Tuesday it was a pleasure to meet and interview Paul Robeson Jr, an advocate of the Paul Robeson Institute, and on Wednesday we held the museum’s first volunteer day. If you are interested in volunteering at the International Slavery Museum you can email Claire Holden our volunteer co-ordinator. Yesterday I gave a talk to the St Helens Historical Society on the development of the museum. One of the most interesting aspects of my job is meeting all sorts of audiences, and so later this week I am giving several other presentations. Tomorrow at the Harris Museum in Preston on ‘Issues regarding the historical and contemporary representation of transatlantic slavery and enslavement in museums’, then on Thursday I am speaking at a seminar for the Communities and Local Government Department about the need to highlight Black history in museums and on Friday I am at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford for a lunchtime seminar for students and staff. So a pretty busy week. But my older sister lives in Oxford so I can stay with her and the family over the weekend which I am looking forward to. I’ll sign off for now but just before I go (I know my football blog info is a highlight for some people!) I have to let you know that this weekend Leeds United have the privilege of hosting Millwall at Elland Road. Should be interesting to say the least. Last Saturday we drew with Leyton Orient and missed a penalty to win in the last few minutes. Not good for my blood pressure. The highs and lows of being a football fan!

Richard Benjamin wearing a football shirt

Just to prove I am a Leeds fan!