Phenomenal Women: Portraits of UK Black Female Professors, a celebration of Black British academics comes to the public in a free outdoor exhibition at London’s Southbank Centre.

Black female professors
Dr. Nicola Rollock by Elliott Franks

The exhibition is centred around academic research which delved into the career experiences of Black female professors at UK universities. The research was carried out by Dr Nicola Rollock, an academic and public speaker who readers may recognise as one if the experts from the recent Channel 4 documentary The School That Tried to End Racism.

In her research, Dr Nicola Rollock, who also commissioned and curated the exhibition, wanted to highlight how, despite increases in overall levels of academic staff, fewer than 1% of professors in the UK are Black.

Black female professors
Adele Jones by Bill Knight

Of the 19,285* professors in UK universities in total according to a 2019 report by AdvanceHE, 12,795 are White males, 4,560 are White women. There are only 90 Black men and 35 Black women. Black women represent the smallest group when both race and gender are considered together. This means that Black women are three times less likely to be professors than their white female counterparts and half as likely as Black men.

Dr Rollock’s 2019 research highlighted the barriers faced by Black women as they worked to navigate their way through higher education and the strategies they used to help them reach professorship.

Black female professors
Dorothy Monekosso by Bill Knight

The Phenomenal Women: Portraits of UK Black Female Professors exhibition features portraits, taken by photographer Bill Knight, along with the biographies of 45 professors across a broad range of subjects including law, medicine, creative writing and sociology.

Amongst the 45 remarkable women being celebrated in the exhibition are award-winning author Bernadine Evaristo, poet and playwright Joan Anim-Addo and the first woman ever to be appointed head of a UK dental school, Cynthia Pine.

Black female professors
Bernadine Evaristo by Bill Knight

The exhibition, which runs from 10 October – 8 November 2020, is timed to coincide with Black History Month, and is presented along the Southbank Centre’s very popular public riverside promenade The Queen’s Walk.

Dr Rollock said: “I am thrilled to be working with the Southbank Centre on this exhibition.  As one of London’s leading arts’ venues, it is a fitting space in which to help draw attention to just how few Black female professors there are in the UK and to highlight their achievements.”


The Black female professors featured in the exhibition are:

Gloria Agyemang Professor of Accounting
Joan Anim-Addo Professor of Caribbean Literature and Culture
Bugewa Apampa Professor of Pharmacy Education
Uduak Archibong Professor of Diversity
Diamond Ashiagbor Professor of Law
Florence Ayisi Professor of International Documentary Film
Fareda Banda Professor of Law
Claudia Bernard Professor of Social Work
Sonia Boyce Professor of Black Art & Design
Enitan Carrol Professor of Paediatric Infection
Donna Chambers Professor of Tourism
Nelarine Cornelius Professor of Organisation Studies
Patricia Daley Professor of the Human Geography of Africa
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent Chief Midwifery Officer, NHS England and Visiting Professor of Midwifery
Dawn Edge Professor of Mental Health and Inclusivity
Akwugo Emejulu Professor of Sociology
Engobo Emeseh Professor of Law
Bernardine Evaristo Professor of Creative Writing
Lynette Goddard Professor of Black Theatre and Performance
Stephani Hatch Professor of Sociology and Epidemiology
Gina Higginbottom Emeritus Professor Ethnicity & Health
Marilyn Holness Professor of Education Engagement and Practice
Adele Jones Professor of Social Work
Tessa McWatt Professor of Creative Writing
Heidi Mirza Emeritus Professor of Equalities Studies
Dorothy Monekosso Professor of Computer Science
Francisca Mutapi Professor in Global Health Infection and Immunity
Bertha Ochieng Professor of Integrated Health & Social Care
Phoebe Okowa Professor of Public International Law
Funmi Olonisakin Professor of Security, Leadership and Development
Olivette Otele Professor of History of Slavery & Memory
Ann Phoenix Professor of Psychosocial Research
Cynthia Pine Professor of Dental Public Health
Tracey Reynolds Professor of Sociology
Laura Serrant Professor of Community & Public Health Nursing
Maria Stokes Leads the Southampton University Active Living for Health Research Group
Iyiola Solanke Professor in EU Law and Social Justice
Shirley Anne Tate Professor of Sociology
Patricia Tuitt Professor of Law
Carol Tulloch Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism
Ijeoma Uchegbu Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience
Ola Uduku Professor in Architecture
Toni Williams Professor of Law
Marcia Wilson Dean, Office for Institutional Equity
Cecile Wright Professor of Sociology

Phenomenal Women: Portraits of UK Black Female Professors 
10 October – 8 November 2020
The Southbank Centre’s The Queen’s Walk
Free

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