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Professor Gabrielle Invinsoon

It was an awe inspiring experience to participate in this event, at which I heard people talk about their lives, careers, achievements and education in a multigenerational setting. I was struck by the honesty and openness with which fathers, daughters, grandfathers, mothers, aunties and younger generations spoke in front of each other of the ups and downs, challenges and triumphs as they battle with social, institutional, family and personal hurdles; hurdles of geographic displacement, career blockages and mainstream educational misrecognitions. I felt I was amidst a life-support system as it was being lived in the present yet connected to long-established habits of gathering and yarning, story-telling and music-making. These habits were referenced at the cultural event through introductions to networks of websites, archives, books, reading rooms, consultancies, organisations and films. The cultural event that took place in the Brooks Building was a nexus pulling together these multiple threads. On those two days in January 2023, personal biographies testified to, anchored and made vivid, many landmark, social and political moments in British and International history relating to the African-Caribbean diaspora.

The way the Manchester-based African-Caribbean community creates and sustains its support system through the on-going work of meeting, communicating, discussing and organising provides a model for us all. It is a model that I hope to keep trying to articulate inside Man Met, where our current academic terms such as, ‘co-production’ cannot capture the human endeavours involved in living community.

My job at the event was to speak about the Children without Limits Saturday school which takes place in the Brooks Building and is organised by Andrew Lenehan. Andrew has also created an education community and I can testify to the values, work and dedication that it takes to enable 400 local primary school children to be taught by Man Met’s undergraduate (UG), masters and PGCE trainee teachers with the support of students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, where Andrew is based. The Science and Engineering students act as classroom assistants who sit along side the children and support the 30 classroom teachers. Working together this creates a lively, stimulating and joyous educational environment. To keep this supplemental educational community breathing Andrew liaises with

12 local primary school headteachers and staff and guides communication with parents and carers. Building and maintaining living communities is always hard and precarious work. We look to you, the African-Caribbean community, to teach and inspire us – thank you!

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