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Successful first UAL Black Men on the Couch event

Written by Bunmi Ekundayo
Published date 17 February 2020

On Tuesday 23 January we held our first Black Men on the Couch event at Central Saint Martins (CSM), aiming to transform views about mental health, gender politics and race by inviting special guests to respond to therapeutic questions, drawing out some of the successes and challenges they have faced in their lives.

The successful event, which was attended by hundreds of people including staff and students, welcomed Artistic Director at The Young Vic, Honorary Fellow and former UAL Chancellor, Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE to the couch. Kwame discussed a range of topics including his childhood experiences, growing up in Britain in the 1980s and the inspiring reason behind his name change with UAL Associate Dean of Students (Wellbeing and Inclusion), Rotimi Akinsete.

The event also included a warm welcome from our Governor, Sim Scavazza on the importance of combating mental health amongst Black men, an entertaining performance from CSM BA Acting student, Aaron Cadogan and a thought-provoking Q&A session.

Associate Dean of Students, Rotimi Akinsete comments: “Kwame was such an amazing guest, evoking powerful and inspiring discussions which left the audience with plenty of food for thought”.

A big thank you to everyone who attended on the night. For those who were unable to attend, a recording of the event is available on YouTube.

Black Men on the Couch was established in 2011. It aims to help combat mental health stigma and encourage all, but particularly men who identify as Black, to think differently about the usefulness of counselling and therapy. Previous guests on the programme included:

  • Gary Younge (journalist, author and broadcaster)
  • Colin Jackson (olympian)
  • Ashley Walters (actor, rapper and songwriter)
  • David Lammy (Member of Parliament)
  • Benjamin Zephania (writer and dub poet)
  • Clarke Carlisle (former professional footballer and mental health campaigner)
  • Trevor Phillips (writer, broadcaster and former politician)

Details on upcoming Black Men on the Couch events will be posted on our events webpage.