Inspiring women celebrated with talk by UK’s first black female Professor

Inspiring women celebrated with talk by UK’s first black female Professor

24 November 2020

A series of events organised by St Margaret’s School for Girls celebrating inspiring women will kick off later this month with an audience with Professor Olivette Otele, the UK’s first black female Professor of History.

Pupils from schools across the region are being invited to join the live webinar on Thursday, November 26, which will be the first of the St Margaret’s Inspirational Women Webinar series.

Those who tune in will hear Professor Otele chat with the school’s Head of History, Gavin Cunningham, about her life, education and journey to becoming Professor of History and Memory of Enslavement at the University of Bristol, a post she took up just over a year ago.

Professor Otele holds a PhD in history from Sorbonne University in France and researches transnational history, in particular the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts.

She became the UK’s first female black history professor after being awarded a professorship and a chair in history by Bath Spa University in 2018. Her research, conducted over almost two decades, examines the legacies of colonial pasts as well as a reluctance to address such issues.

Professor Otele will also speak about her commitment to bringing together people from all communities, as well as scholars, artists and educators who are willing to contribute to a stronger and fairer society.

Professor Otele said it was important for young people to ‘trust in their ability to work harder’.

“Trust in your vision and dreams,” she said. “Believe that you will always find a helping hand and incredible kindness on your journey through life. Wake up hopeful and sleep thankful no matter what happens during the day.”

St Margaret’s headteacher Anna Tomlinson said the school was very much looking forward to welcoming Professor Otele.

“Professor Otele’s rise through academia to become one of the country’s foremost authorities on colonialism is inspiring, not least because she is a black woman, and we are very much looking forward to hearing her perspective and reflections on her own particular journey,” she said.

“We are delighted that she has agreed to launch our series of webinars, and we hope that many others will join us for what promises to be a fantastic event.”

Professor Otele’s webinar will take place on Thursday, November 26, at 5pm. To book a place, register at, or email at [email protected]

The second speaker in the seminar series will be Jude Ower MBE, founder and CEO of Playmob, a gaming-for-good organisation that connects charities and socially conscious brands with gamers through the games they play. A BAFTA Games Awards judge, former marketer and serial entrepreneur, Jude founded the company in 2011, and has since raised more than $1.2million for charities and non-profit organisations. She will join us for our next webinar in early 2021.

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