Leap Day: Black Women Share Their ‘Love’ Stories | Black Ballad

In 2016, a woman asking a man out is still more difficult than it needs to be. This Leap Day, here are some (un)lucky in love stories from black British women who have ‘taken the leap’.

Read article here: Leap Day: Black Women Share Their ‘Love’ Stories | Black Ballad.



To The Little Girl With The Plaits In Her Hair | Black Ballad

To the little girl with the plaits in her hair,

With her passport in hand and a jump in her step, you are about to see snow for the first time. Well, actually I mean sleet – that frustrating kind of precipitate stuck somewhere between ice and water – and a squeal of delight will erupt from your lips. It will be magical. You will press your face against cold glass as you are driven to your new home, the first of many. You will see romantic terraced houses, delicately frosted window panes and charming old men reading the daily paper. You are in the land of Lords and Ladies, heirs and heiresses, Kings and Queens. The Motherland. You have arrived.

Read article here: To The Little Girl With The Plaits In Her Hair | Black Ballad


The I’m Tired Project: Sexual Harassment and Shame | Black Ballad


Paula Akpan and Harriet Evans, who describe themselves as ‘fiercely feminist,’ are the two University of Nottingham graduates behind the increasingly popular I’m Tired Project. Starting in June, this ongoing project seeks to highlight the personal impact of stereotypes, discrimination and microaggressions. Taking inspiration from the Free The Nipple movement and Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, the project features photos of writing on people’s backs with a blurb explaining each photo.

Read article here: The I’m Tired Project: Sexual Harassment and Shame | Black Ballad.

Our Words: Black British Oral Histories | Black Ballad

“And from whence are you
Little brown girl?
I guess Africa or India
Ah no, from some island
In the West Indies,
But isn’t that India All the same?”
—  Una Marson, 1905-1965.

For many, the British Caribbean story begins in 1948, when HMT Empire Windrush carried nearly 500 nurses, engineers and other skilled workers from the Caribbean to Tilbury Port, near London. While black people have been present in Britain since the second and third centuries, the government’s call for workers to help rebuild post-war Britain resulted in the mass migration that is now seen as the beginning of modern, multicultural British society.

Read article here: Our Words: Black British Oral Histories | Black Ballad.

Creating Space for Ourselves: Ain’t I a Woman?

“People ask me: ‘why do you need an African-Caribbean Society?’, ‘why do you all hang out together?’, ‘why are you separating yourselves – isn’t this making racism worse?’… I think people forget that humans always divide themselves. When I look around my college people are divided up based on their class, they divide themselves based on the sports that they play. And not in a malicious way, but you group with people who you have something in common with… When I want to have shared experiences with someone who understands this aspect of my life, then yeah I’m gonna be hanging out with people who are from African and Caribbean backgrounds… [The majority of students here] don’t have to search out for people who are like them… because they’re everywhere.”
Women of colour at Cambridge University answer the important question of whether they feel that spaces at the university belong to them. They describe cumulative experiences of otherness, caused primarily by ignorance but also by hostility, and discuss the jarring experience of suddenly becoming a visible minority. They talk about the spaces (safe or otherwise) that they have carved out for themselves. Not in order to segregate themselves, but to be unapologetically themselves around people who understand aspects of their identity which are not understood by the majority of the student population.

Part of the Ain’t I A Woman? campaign, by FLY, a platform for Women of Colour at the University of Cambridge

Dream Nation: Be Well | This Space

Last year, I discovered that people with mental health problems can be successful. Specifically, I discovered that people with mental health problems can be successful professionals: capable, ambitious and influential. I owe this discovery to Kay Redfield Jamison.

Read article here: Dream Nation: Be Well – This Space

Be Well Live [Podcast] | Dream Nation



Discussion Panel.

Megan Dalton.

Megan Dalton is the founder and editor of This Space an online space that aims to “destigmatise, without romanticising” mental health issues. Megan recently graduated from the University of Cambridge and will shortly be starting work as Centre Administrator for Central London Samaritans. Her previous work in mental health advocacy includes involvement in the verbatim theatre project ‘Snap Out Of It’, writing for Young Minds, and appearing on BBC3’s ‘Free Speech’.

Twitter: @thisspacemag

Chama Kay.

Chama Kay is a poet, spoken word artist and blogger who sufferers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Chama Kay has been writing about his own experiences with mental health on his personal blog ‘Starts With a Good Day’ since 2013. He has since become a feature writer for The CALMZone, a charity focused on men’s mental health, as well as writing for No Fly on the WALL and Grey Matters.

Twitter: @chama_kay

Rosie Brown.

Rosie Brown is a mental health advocate and writer, blogging for MIND, SANE ­ where she also works as a media volunteer ­ and her own mental health blog rosiebrownfightingstigma.wordpress.com. She studied at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts having graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2013. She has since returned to Cambridge for a Masters in World Religions, specialising in Buddhism, Mental Health and Mindfulness.

Twitter: @fighting_stigma

Amber Cowburn.

Amber Cowburn is a founding trustee of The Invictus Trust, a charity supporting adolescent mental health, and specifically campaigning for improved services in the southwest. She also set up the first ever branch of Student Minds whilst a student at Cambridge University, and organised the first ever student mental health conference at the university.

Twitter: @Amber_Rose


Samara Linton.

Samara is the mental health editor at Dream Nation. She is also a contributor at Black Ballad and an editor at Polygeia, currently co­editor of an Africa All­Party Parliamentary Group report on lessons from the Ebola crisis regarding health systems strengthening. She is a University of Cambridge graduate and currently studies medicine at University College London.

Twitter: @Samara_Linton


Podcast Summary 

Mental health is an area which many find difficult to speak about. We live in a society where it’s more acceptable to suffer in in silence than to equip ourselves with the knowledge to have healthy minds. We believe it’s time to change that, which is why we created the Be Well Campaign.

On the September 27th we will be hosting our first live online panel discussion. Members of the panel will be made of young professionals, each having an intimate relationship with the subject of mental health through working in the space or living with own mental health battles while still finding career success. This will be a chance to hear them speak about their experiences in a transparent and vulnerable manner like you may have never heard before.

The live discussion will give you the opportunity to interact with the conversation, giving your own point of views, sharing your experiences as well as asking the questions that are important to you. It will also provide the opportunity to interact and join the Dream Nation community, giving you a safe space to speak and learn about difficult and sensitive issues.

We are an open community and network of Practical Dreamers, women and men who are working together to turn our individual goals and dreams into our realities. We believe the Be Well campaign is so important because often due to the size and difficulties of our dreams, we are often under an enormous amount of stress. Therefore understanding and learning how to develop positive mental health habits is an extremely important step and tool for all Practical Dreamers.

See full article here: http://dreamnation.co.uk/be-well-live/ 

Be Well – It’s Practical | Dream Nation

‘All men dream but not equally; those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they make act their dreams with open eyes to make them possible. This I did…’ Lawrence of Arabia.
As practical dreamers, we know achieving our goals takes hard work and dedication. Achieving wellness is no different. I recently sat down with Dr Ahmed Hankir, 2013 Royal College of Psychiatrists Foundation Doctor of the Year, to talk about his lived experience of profound oscillations in mood and the effects that this had on his functioning and the practical steps he takes to look after his mental wellbeing.

Read article here: Be Well – It’s Practical | Dream Nation.

Be Well – It’s Work | Dream Nation

A significant source of stress in our lives can be our place of work. There are few working environments more stressful than the world of a venture capitalist, so we spoke with Brad Feld, partner at Venture Capital firm Foundry Group and co-founder of start-up accelerator program Techstars about his experiences of mental health and what it means to be well.

Read article here: Be Well – It’s Work | Dream Nation.

This interview was also published on Brad Feld’s website.

Be Well – It’s Expressive | Dream Nation

When doctors give us health advice, it’s mostly to lower the risk of things like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes; but what about our psyche? What about the things we do or fail to do today that can have long term consequences on our mental health? What does that mean for our lives and how much does it really matter?

Read article here: Be Well – It’s Expressive – Dream Nation