Ujima Radio’s “Green and Black Initiative” came together in 2015 in response to Bristol’s year as the Green Capital of Europe. Though the city was buzzing with environmental and sustainability themed events, Bristol missed out on a big opportunity to connect with Caribbean and African communities through the common theme of nature. Throughout the European Green Capital year, the radio station hosted The Green and Black Conversations which sparked a wider interest in the ideas coming from communities that are not usually represented on the green scene.
At the end of the year, Ujima 98FM’s Director Roger Griffith wrote The Green And Black Report to “give background and context to some of the issues faced by the Green and Environmental agenda” in working with Black, Asian and other Ethnic Minority Bristolians.
The project was a collaboration between Ujima 98fm, The Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol (UoB), the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Up Our Street.
Green and Black Ambassador Aims
The report led to the The Green and Black Ambassadorship 2016-2017 where friend and co-Ujima volunteer Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley and I were charged with the tasks of:
- Conducting community action research to explore why exclusion exists in the sustainability agenda. Collating case studies
- Creating media and monthly radio shows
- Advocating for ‘disruptive’ constructive challenge by being in attendance at sustainability events and by connecting environmental and social justice groups communities that are usually left out of the conversation
- Support an application for funds: to ensure the continuation and up-scaling of the pilot.
Here’s a list of some of the things we got up to. A report of our time as Green and Black Ambassadors is at the end of this document.
In December 2016 and January 2017, we facilitated a group of activities with the World Wildlife Trust’s Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, involving BAME Bristolians and their ideas on nature and conservation spaces. This included two trips to Slimbridge and a workshop held at St Werburgh’s City Farm in inner east Bristol. Even though it was a cold January morning, 14 people aged 28–52 took part in a day of discussion and activities on memories of ‘being in nature’, likes and dislikes, and barriers to engaging with the environment and nature. We called the activities “Diverse Natures”:
Our early research backed up evidence from the 2015 Green & Black conversations that the pervading perception that BAME Bristolians did not participate in ‘green’ activities was not true. In fact, many people had lived very ‘green’ lives for a long time and saw it as second nature. The issue was not that people were not engaged, rather that the mainstream environmental sustainability community had not sufficiently understood who the city’s diverse communities are and what they do
Learn more about Photovoice in the report below
We were involved in the Common Cause research which was a collation project by the Arts Council which brought together research that has used the arts in conjunction with social sciences:
The pilot project made it clear that we had tapped into a huge unmet need and reservoir of potential. Our initial work indicates that the transformation of sustainability organisations will require longterm committed and widespread engagement. Central to the pilot has been a strong partnership approach that is rooted in the community to deliver change.