Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Black Youth Work and Higher Education: Radical Possibilities

11 October 2023, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

black women on a rally

In this seminar, three London based youth workers working specifically with Black 16–18-year-olds to exchange ideas on how the educational work undertaken by them within racially diverse communities may contribute to the knowledges, expectations and experiences of Black undergraduates and their attainment within degree programmes in higher education.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
G11, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

Participants will discuss how higher education can learn from the work carried out by youth workers within this age group, particularly on Black pedagogies, literatures and the sense of belonging and identification young people experience within elite universities, with a particular focus on the Arts and Humanities disciplines.


Mark Brown is a Pan Africanist Visual Artist and Curator, Researcher in African Diasporic Cinema and Film Language, and is Senior Youth Worker at The Avenues Youth Project. A SOAS alumni, Mark works with grassroots initiatives and institutions in local and international settings, using the arts as a vehicle for cultural education and interrogation of the isolations, and suboptimal epistemologies found in the consciousnesses of Black/African youth and their coerced environments. He is currently collaborating with alumni of Cine Banlieue & Centre Yennenga on the project ‘African Information Asymmetries: A Black Lens in Dakar’ - as part of a comparative residential study in Senegal’s capital.’

Ciaran Thapar is a writer and educator based in south London. He has a decade's experience delivering literacy, education and violence intervention programmes with young people in schools, youth clubs and prisons. He is author of Cut Short: Why We're Failing Our Youth — and How to Fix It (Penguin 2021) and regularly writes for publications such as the Guardian and British GQ. Ciaran is regularly called as an expert witness about gangs, social media and UK rap/drill music in criminal trials. He holds an MSc Political Theory from London School of Economics and BSc Economics and Politics from University of Bristol.

Fopé Ajanaku is the democracy classroom senior programme manager at The Politics Project. An educator and writer with a degree in politics from Newcastle University and a short lived career in student politics, they come with wealth of facilitation and programme delivery experience having delivered workshops on building equitable workplaces, youth activism and political education for young people all over the country. Their work for the past few years has involved supporting young activists to create and develop community based campaigns at the heart of youth led movements


Dr Clive Chijioke Nwonka is Associate Professor in Film, Culture and Society at UCL, and a Faculty Associate of the UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation. Nwonka is the BAME Awarding Gap Lead for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL

The event is organised in collaboration with the BAME Awarding Gap Project, the Institute of Advanced Studies, and the Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Race and Racialisation.