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Signposting – David McQueen

A couple of weeks ago the picture of 14 young black men at Cambridge university was shared online. First on Twitter and then popularised even more on the BBC website. Many wondered what the big deal was. Yet still others were happy to celebrate a narrative that they were already aware of.


Personally having been a mentor to black students at Oxford, Cambridge and a number of other Russell Group universities, this was nothing new to me. Last week another picture emerged, less viral, of a group of 16 young black women at Oxford University. It got me to thinking, “What is it about these images that inspires a lot of sharing on social media? Why is it even necessary to share that content?”



Photo Credit: Cambridge ACS

 

In the news the reportage of black academic success is quite limited. To be honest if it isn’t newsworthy or tapping into that meme of a poorer background, single parenthood or any of those other “succeeding against the odds” story then why should media pick it up. The thing is this though, what social media channels have done is flattened the reporting of success. You are no longer depending on the editorial whims of a mainstream broadcaster or top newspaper to share news. You are tapping into a more narrow demographic with people who share similar values and critique similar sociopolitical discussions. This makes it more targeted. 

Our vision at UKBlackTech is to highlight excellence and the depth of talent within the black tech community and to continue doing for much of the foreseeable future. Signposting and celebrating the success of professionals and also create space for a hugely underrepresented demographic to bring their voices out. Whether it is through our podcasts, written profiles or signposting incredible talent we are passionate about making sure the narrative around success in the UK technology scene isn’t limited to one or two stories.

The Cambridge and Oxford pictures represent a seldom told story but one that exists anyway and to be sure will be replicated across universities around the UK. Our aim is that we can do the same for technology.

Watch this space.

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