New project aims to reduce “racial tensions” in schools

Published: 6 April 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

“Challenging social stigmas”: Lightpost Theatre Company Credit: Kris Askey

Four organisations have got together on Lightbearers, an initiative which aims to “remedy some of the racial tensions that exist within school environments”.

Lightpost Theatre Company, The Black Pounds Project, Titan Partnership and Birmingham REP are behind the project which will provide a series of workshops to be developed by black mentors who will work alongside teachers in mainstream schools to “articulate their experiences and create a strategy for change”.

Lightbearers aims to “address the myriad fundamental faults within the UK’s education system which act as a driver not just for exclusion but also for the over-representation of black adults within mental health and criminal justice settings”.

C J Lloyd Webley, Lightpost Theatre’s lead artist and creator of Lightbearers, said, “the Lightbearers initiative will allow us to remedy some of the racial tensions that exist within school environments between staff and students.

“The issues that the black community face are very specific: this project allows us to raise awareness as we begin to tackle some sensitive issues.

“We will provide a space for staff to reflect on their own unconscious biases towards black students in a safe space which will provide room for growth and transparency.”

Lightpost is a company of young black men between the ages of 18 and 26 from across Birmingham and the West Midlands. The company seeks to challenge some of the social stigmas and ideas associated with young black men, using theatre as a gateway to create new plays of social and historical importance.

The Black Pounds Project aims to provide relevant training in professional development for black-owned businesses in the West Midlands to have greater access to finance and business support.

Titan Partnership is an educational charity based in Birmingham whose aims are to “combat disadvantage, with a shared belief in the tremendous potential and cultural richness of the inner city”.