African and Caribbean Society Conference

African and Caribbean Society Conference – King Edward’s School, 23rd March, 2024

We started the day with a warm welcome for our hosts and a talk about the gist of the conference. We listened to an opening talk where the hosts talked about their experiences of being part of an Afro-Caribbean heritage themselves. We were asked to describe ourselves in three words: our past selves, present selves, and what we wished our future selves to be like. We were given the opportunity to express ourselves freely to everyone (I for one expressed myself that’s for sure).

Following the introduction, we listened to the first guest speaker; Mr. Wade Lyn. He was an ambitious person; the first black High Sheriff of the West Midlands – an honorary role! Although, before this, I hadn’t the slightest clue that that role existed! He was truly inspirational nonetheless and proved to us that despite our age, or where we come from “opportunity can come at any time.” (Those were his exact words just so you know). After that, we had group discussions between the audience and the hosts. After that, another guest speaker, Dr Pogus Caesar spoke to us about his extraordinary career as a conceptualist artist. He had many awards and many of his works were put in prestigious galleries and museums. He taught us that even from a tough background where people may not believe in your dreams, you can make them work.

Next, we had a networking task, and this was remarkably interesting (to me at least). We were given target subjects we discussed with people we didn’t know before. We talked about topics such as code-switching, micro-aggressions, and culture. This allowed us to engage with others to see their sides of their stories and their differences.

This was followed by a panel discussion with five panelists: Hannah Joseph, Sophia Bréchon-Smith, Stuart Lawrence, Celia Fraser, and Garry Stewart. We were allowed to ask them questions about their experiences, being part of an Afro-Caribbean heritage themselves. All the panelists were truly influential and gave us extensive replies to all our questions. However, the clear favorites of most people asking questions were Celia Fraser and Stuart Lawrence. Celia Fraser taught us that if things don’t necessarily go your way, you can still be successful. Stewart Lawrence also taught us many things, such as being open-minded but not blind-sighted by negative things, listening to others’ ideas as you will learn something new, and bringing out the best of yourself no matter the circumstances. All the other panelists taught everyone different things, and anything could be learned from their thriving life stories and ambitions toward their goals.

To conclude the ACS Conference was candidly an impactful event which helped show the beauty of Afro-Caribbean cultures and how following your dreams and aspirations will take you a long way.

Daniel Alloh, 10N