Black Cultural Archives Appoints New Chair – Ansel Wong

Black Cultural Archives has appointed Ansel Wong CBE as the new Chair of its Board  

 Black Cultural Archives (BCA) has selected the cultural historian, community leader, and political activist Ansel Wong CBE as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. In his new role, Mr Wong – alongside the roster of trustees – will work with BCA’s core staff team to continue its successful work towards its mission and realise its 2030 strategy.

Born in Trinidad and UK based since the 1960s, Ansel Wong is a cultural champion and political activist, influential in many organisations particularly in the UK Black community. He is the former Chair of the Notting Hill Carnival Trust and co-founder of Elimu Mas Band. He led a group of staff to establish October be designated as Black History Month, and currently serves on the Windrush Commemoration Committee. He is also an educationist and academic and in a wide-ranging career has worked at senior levels in various organisations in the public and charitable sectors.

On his appointment, Mr Wong said “This year feels like a sea change in the development and momentum of the Black communities in the UK. The BCA is part of this reawakening and I am both proud and delighted to have been entrusted with building on the foundation created by Dawn Hill and her Directors and leading the BCA on its journey to achieve its mission – and for me, be the first port of call to access, learn and celebrate the Black presence in the UK.

The current Chair, Dawn Hill CBE, will be standing down at BCA’s January 2020 AGM.  Dawn has been part of BCA’s governance since 1981 when she worked alongside its founding Chair, Len Garrison. She became Chair of the charity in 2012.

During her time as Chair, Dawn Hill chaired the first HLF funded project, ‘Archives and Museum of Black Heritage’ in partnership with Middlesex University. This established a basis for the Raleigh Hall Capital Development Project, which she further chaired from 2005 and gave BCA its first bricks and mortar home, the national Heritage Centre which opened in 2014 at 1 Windrush Square in Brixton.

Her leadership has invaluably helped BCA create a strong foundation for the future.

Of her tenure, Mrs Hill said, “I played a part, with the support of many others, as I had an overwhelming belief that the history of Black people and their contribution to the UK had to be preserved, promoted and celebrated. I am proud to be leaving BCA as a successful organisation and have every confidence that Ansel will be a brilliant Chair.”

BCA Managing Director Arike Oke said, “From a strong field of candidates for the Chair role, Ansel stood out. He is the perfect person to take BCA into the future, as a thriving community resource, an influential national archive, and on to international renown for our mission to preserve, document and celebrate the histories of people of African descent in the UK. Dawn Hill has contributed indelibly to BCA and I’m indebted to her guidance and support to date. I’m excited to work with Ansel in the next phase of BCA’s journey.”

Main photo Ansel Wong CBE