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Black Advisory Hub


Below, we highlight the work of a number of Black history-makers in Cambridge and the legacies they have left for current students.

For more information about the trailblazing work of Black Cambridge alumni, check out the archival work of the Black Cantab Research Society.

Theatre: Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan


Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan graduated from St John’s college in 2015 and is an award-winning writer, theatrical director and jazz singer.

During her time at Cambridge, she was hugely influential in carving out spaces for Black women within the university theatre scene, whilst also co-founding FLY (Freedom. Loving. You), a forum established for women and non-binary people of colour within Cambridge.

Since the founding of FLY, it has proved to be a widely cherished space for people of colour from marginalised gender identities, allowing them to come together and feel a sense of community and togetherness within Cambridge. The importance of FLY within student life is explored in the 2019 book ‘A Fly Girl’s Guide to University: Being a Woman of Colour at Cambridge and other institutions of Power and Elitism’. The collection of poems and essays was written by former members of FLY, recalling their experiences of Cambridge and how spaces such as FLY proved vital for navigating its white spaces.

During her time at Cambridge, Kehinde Ogunseitan broke huge barriers within Cambridge theatre, directing, co-producing and starring in ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf' in 2012, Cambridge’s first all Black female production.

To find out more about the impact of this trailblazing work on Black women in Cambridge today, the Black Advisory Hub spoke to recent Cambridge graduate Mojola Akinyemi, the writer and director of Great Mother-Iya Ayaba.

“If you feel like there's not a space for you in a place or in a situation, and you have the ability to do something about it, that's really important. If you're able to do so, carving out that space is so vitally important because there was just nothing I felt that really spoke to me. I feel like as a writer, you have to write the thing that moves you. This moved me and I wanted to share it with the world…”

Read the full interview with Mojola Akinyemi here


Music: George Bridgetower


George Bridgetower was a virtuoso violinist believed to be the first Black man to fully matriculate and study with residence at Cambridge, graduating in 1853 from Queens’ College. He was one of few Black classical musicians to gain wide recognition within the Western hemisphere, highlighting the important issue of representation within classical musicianship which continues today. Almost two hundred years on, efforts are still being made among the Cambridge student body to decolonise the study of music.

In recognition of the impact of Bridgetower’s work, the University launched the George Bridgetower Essay Prize in 2022, inviting writing on the topic of Black student’s experiences of Cambridge. The Black Advisory Hub spoke to the first winner of the prize, Maya McFarlane, about her experiences of the competition and the importance of listening to Black student voices to make the University a more inclusive space.

In the essay, Maya argued that there has been change but there is still more to be done. In her own words, “yes quantitatively more Black people are now at Cambridge, but qualitatively how it feels to inhabit it hasn’t changed. Numbers don’t mean anything if you’re still othered.”

Read the full interview with Maya McFarlane here