Black Cantabs: History Makers

Black Cantabs: History Makers

This event is in the past.

  • Black Cantabs: History Makers exhibition flyer detail
    Exhibition details
  • Composite image of details from portraits of Errollyn Wallen (left) and Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan (right)
    Details from two contemporary portraits
  • Archival image of sociologist, activist and author Professor Archie Mafeje (1936-2007)
    Archival image of sociologist, activist and author Professor Archie Mafeje (1936-2007)

Images of classical composer Errollyn Wallen (left) and jazz singer Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan (right) by Sir Cam
Image of Professor Archie Mafeje courtesy of Margaret Green

Black Cantabs: History Makers is a groundbreaking exhibition telling the stories of black students in Cambridge, from the forgotten pioneers of centuries past to the celebrated successes of today.
Monday, 1 October 2018 to Saturday, 22 December 2018
Open to: 
Public (open to all)

In it, a collection of photographic portraits will celebrate centuries of black students at Cambridge (from 1700 to the present day) and inspire future generations.

Featuring trailblazers from the first black British army officer to the first black female composer to have a composition played at the Proms, the exhibition features famous faces such as Zadie Smith, Thandie Newton and Naomie Harris alongside rare archive images.

New portraits are being taken by the city of Cambridge’s chief chronicler, Sir Cam, including of classical composer Errollyn Wallen, jazz singer Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan and MP Diane Abbott.

These portraits will hang on the University Library’s 'Royal Corridor'.

This collection represents a reinvention of the traditional Cambridge portrait students may see on a daily basis and the exhibition opening marks the first day of the UK’s Black History Month (1 October).

Black Cantabs: History Makers runs from 1 October to 22 December at the University Library, before touring the University and Colleges. It builds on the painstaking research project undertaken by the Black Cantabs Society, the members of which are students, staff and alumni of the University. See the results of the project on the Society's website.

Find out more about the Black Cantabs Society >

Visiting information

  • The exhibition is free to visit, no need to book. Please see the UL's website for opening times.
  • Tickets are timed; please sign in and obtain your pass from the UL's team in the Entrance Hall.
  • Your pass admits you to the exhibition and Tea-Room only; to visit the wider Library please see the UL website for details of future tours or find out how alumni can register to use the UL.
  • Bags are not permitted in the Library however visitors are welcome to use the free locker room located off the Entrance Hall.
  • All ages are welcome however under 17s must be accompanied by an adult/parent/guardian.
  • Max. 20 visitors admitted at one time. For larger groups, please contact

See this information on the UL website >



Cambridge University Library
University of Cambridge
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