The Parliamentary launch of the Black Academia policy reports will soon be announced.

David Olusoga Black Academia
Keynote speaker


David Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and film-maker. His most recent TV series include Empire (BBC 2), Black and British: A Forgotten History (BBC 2), The World’s War (BBC 2), 4 seasons of A House Through Time (BBC 2) and the BAFTA winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (BBC 2). David is also the author of Black & British: A Forgotten History which was awarded both the Longman-History Today Trustees Award and the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. His other books include The World’s War, which won First World War Book of the Year in 2015, The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism and Civilizations: Encounters and the Cult of Progress. David was also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Black British History and writes for The Guardian and is a columnist for The Observer and BBC History Magazine. He is also one of the three presenters on the BBC’s landmark Arts series Civilizations. In 2020 he held an exclusive interview with former President of the United States, Barack Obama. David’s most recent book Black and British: A Short, Essential History won the Children’s Illustrated & Non-Fiction book of the year at the 2021 British Book Awards.

David Olusoga is receiving the 2023 BAFTA Special Award for outstanding contribution to television.


Diane Abbott MP made history in 1987 as the first black woman elected to the British Parliament. Born in London in 1953, she graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, with a Master’s in History. She began her career as a Home Office Civil Servant, later working for the National Council for Civil Liberties and in journalism.

In Parliament, Abbott has championed global justice, human rights, and race relations. She served on the Labour Party’s National Executive and the Treasury Select Committee, later becoming Shadow Secretary for International Development, Health, and Home Secretary. Founder of the London Schools and the Black Child initiative, Abbott is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for black children. She chairs the British-Caribbean All-Party Parliamentary Group and the APPG for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia.


Simon Woolley became Principal of Homerton College on 1 October 2021. He founded Operation Black Vote (OBV) in 1996, serving as its Director until 2021. OBV aims to enhance ethnic minorities’ participation in UK civic society and promote equality. He was an Equality and Human Rights Commissioner (2009-2012) and led the UK Government’s Race Disparity Unit from 2018. Raised on a council estate, Woolley left school early, later earning a BA and MA. He has worked to increase BME representation in Parliament and co-developed the Pathway to Success program. Knighted in 2019 and a life peer since December 2019, he sits in the House of Lords and holds honorary doctorates and fellowships from multiple universities.




L’myah Sherae is the Founder of Enact Equality, a leading non-profit advancing race and equality in the UK. She also founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education, collaborating with MPs and Peers across parties. With extensive experience in politics and both Houses of Parliament, L’myah is a leading expert on race, diversity, and equality policies.

She holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge. L’myah worked in the House of Lords under Lord Bird MBE, managing a team for the UK Wellbeing of Future Generation Bill. She also worked in the Private Office of former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

An award-winning advocate, she frequently appears on Sky News, BBC, ITV, and more, and has impacted policies like national guidance against Afro-hair discrimination in schools.

Malik Al Nasir


Malik Al Nasir is an author, poet and academic from Liverpool. His memoir ‘Letters to Gil’ is a compelling account of his childhood experiences in a brutal UK Local Authority care system, which at eighteen, left him traumatised, semi-literate, homeless, and destitute. A chance meeting with poet and activist Gil Scott-Heron was to prove life changing, setting him on a path to success.

Malik is currently reading for a PhD in history at University of Cambridge on a full ESRC scholarship, and he’s just been awarded the prestigious ‘Sydney Smith Memorial Prize’ for ‘outstanding achievement’ at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Global Social Impact (2023). Malik is a co-founder of “Black Academia – Lifting the Barriers.”



Dr Leona Vaughn is a sociologist with extensive experience in racial and social justice in higher education, central government and NGOs. She devised an award-winning national positive action programme to increase representation of Black prosecutors in England and Wales. Leona is an expert on studies of risk and vulnerability in social policy and the social impacts on racialised and minoritised populations, especially women and children.

Currently the University of Liverpool Derby Fellow for slavery and unfree labour research, she recently worked for the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (New York). She has led a number of interdisciplinary international research projects with academic, civil society, and community-based partners, and is the co-founder of Barriers to Black Academia.


Rhiannon (she/her) is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests focus on social justice and tackling inequalities in higher education. Fully funded by the ESRC, her PhD explores the roles and relationships between government policy, institutional cultures, and personal identities on the conceptualisation of widening participation and the development of institutional Access and Participation Plan targets.

Alongside Malik, Rhiannon was awarded the Cambridge Students’ Awards for contributions to access and widening participation (2023). She currently teaches across multiple papers on the undergraduate Education Tripos at the University of Cambridge. She is also the current Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, representing postgraduate students at St John’s College, Cambridge.


Dr Rebecca Loy is a dedicated advocate for social justice with over 15 years of experience empowering diverse communities. Her work spans youth services, young offender services, the Home Office, and City of Liverpool College. An experienced EFL teacher, she has taught in Brazil, where she conducted doctoral research on oppression and social activism in Rio’s favelas. Rebecca continues her cross-cultural research in Liverpool 8. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Liverpool.

Currently, she advises numerous NGOs on Diversity and Inclusion policies. As the Diversity and Inclusion Partner at National Museums Liverpool, Rebecca is recognised on the Northern Power Women Future List 2023. She specialises in oppression, diversity, and inclusion, leveraging her expertise to drive positive change.



Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Bristol


Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Liverpool

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Universities UK

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UK Research and Innovation

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