Last Friday, we were delighted to welcome back Tré Ventour to Northampton High School. Tré last visited us in October for our Black History Month projects, and it was fantastic to see him one again, this time for talks with Year 7 and Year 12.
Tré started the day by leading an inspiring early morning session with Year 7. His presentation invited us to reflect on hair touching and how touching someone else’s hair, without their consent/permission is not okay. Tré surprised us with the example of Lupita Nyong’o whose ponytail had been airbrushed out of the photograph for the cover of Grazia. Tré showed us this example and others where anything deviating from ‘whiteness’ was treated negatively and discriminated against. It was a challenging but important lesson for us to explore together and it helped us to reflect on how society behaves but how we can choose to behave better!
In the afternoon, Tré led another fantastic session, this time with Year 12. We read one of his journal articles entitled ‘Race and Racism in Austen Spaces: National Trust in Jane Austen’s Empires of Sugar’ and it was a great opportunity for us to explore university-level work and discuss referencing and writing in an academic format. Tré’s presentation involved us analysing a series of video clips as extracts from dramatic versions of Austen’s novels. In all of them, the wealth accumulated must be associated with slavery and some, like Mansfield Park, acknowledge this explicitly. Tré challenged us to reflect on some of the spaces in the UK that exist because of money from slavery and how it can change people’s perspective towards this architecture and/or location.
We thank Tré for his visit and look forward to working with him again in the future.