In 2009 Shades of Noir (SoN) was created by Aisha Richards. SoN is an independent program that supports:
- Curriculum design
- Pedagogies of social justice through representation
- Cultural currency
- Accessible knowledge
Additionally, it has created physical safe spaces that offer opportunities to have critical and interdisciplinary discussions that confront some of the items that we see and do that can sometimes be challenging. This is a program that creates opportunities for marginalised groups and their need for safe spaces to articulate self-determination and liberate the struggles from oppressive structures both in education and society.
In the first instance Richards designed, developed and supported the implementation of SoN across UAL. Under Richards direction of Shades of Noir the University of the Arts London (UAL) hosted in its first phase (2011/2012):
- First all black led exhibition with over 2,000 visitors in 6 weeks
- Open discussions at 3 different colleges race
- Staff only discussions on race
Over the year Shades of Noir continues to contribute to the universities work around race equality. SoN has over the past 3 years begun working with other Higher Education institution such as Ravensbourne and Glasgow School of Art. Additionally, it has been featured in Higher Education Academy publications ‘Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Creative Curriculum: An Art and Design Practioner’s Guide', Richards, Finnigan 2015, and ‘Attainment and Retention in the Discipline: Art and Design', Finnigan, Richards 2016
Richards believes the key to Shades of Noirs success is the collaborative process to its structure.
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