Respected Birmingham photographer Vanley Burke is due to give a talk this week as part of events to mark Windrush 75.

The free ‘in conversation’ session will take place at The Black Country Living Museum on Thursday 22 June at 2pm to celebrate the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain in June 1948.

Vanley Burke – often described as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’ – is an artist, photographer and curator who has been documenting the experience of African-Caribbean and migrant communities in the UK since the late 1960s.

Burke’s aim is to reveal the truth behind the sensationalist and negative media stereotypes that often distort the stories of Black people. He dares to confront thorny topics such as racism, bigotry, intolerance, police brutality, social injustice and the changing shift in the political landscape of the country.

His material is filtered with humanity and compassion, and over the years his photography exhibitions have been showcased in libraries, universities, museums and galleries.

His latest venture is a rare talk which will give people a first-hand opportunity to hear Burke chatting about the insights and stories behind some of his legendary photographs from the last 50 years.

The new Vanley Burke exhibition features seventeen portraits of members of Migrant Voice, a migrant-led national organisation with a hub in BirminghamVanley Burke
Vanley Burke has been documenting the experience of migrants for over 50 years in Britain

The special event will take place on Windrush Day 2023 and is part of a series of events to mark Windrush 75 which celebrates the first group of West Indian immigrants who travelled via ship – the HMT Empire Windrush – from Jamaica to London in 1948 after the British government put out an urgent call for workers to help rebuild the nation after the Second World War.

These people – many of them highly skilled and with qualifications – answered the call and worked in many sectors including staffing the NHS, public transport, construction and manufacture, and in the coal and steel industries.

Their contribution to help rebuild and get the UK back on its feet is often marginalised or airbrushed out of the social and economic history of this nation. Burke’s archive corrects this, and his talk will celebrate the voices of hardworking individuals and families across the decades.


Free tickets for the event can be booked at this link.

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