AF Fellow Joy Gregory takes over our Instagram with portraits of pioneering Black British women

AF Fellow Joy Gregory took over our Instagram to share her work Breaking Barriers, created and exhibited with the Black Cultural Archives. This work documents powerful and influential black women in the UK today, and Joy used her takeover to reflect on this in the light of the murder of George Floyd and the current tipping point in the black rights movement. #BlackLivesMatter.

“We look to leaders for inspiration, guidance and comfort. Portrayed as pillars of strength, the intricacies of their journeys as well as the various obstacles overcome by those in leadership roles are often glossed over. Stories of Leadership II: Breaking Barriers is a portrait commission by award-winning photographer Joy Gregory that aims to make visible the journeys of pioneering Black British women who have taken their rightful seat at the table.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Dame Linda Dobbs DBE, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, and Dr Shirley Thompson OBE have shared their personal experience not only to showcase the excellence present in Britain’s Black communities but to show others what can be achieved.

As Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British history we asked each woman to record an oral history interview. The captions underneath the portraits are direct quotes taken from these interviews.

Although each woman’s journey to leadership has been unique, they have all encountered similar barriers at formative points in their lives. Barriers which they had the courage, determination and self-belief to not only question but break down. Whatever individual skills and methods they employed to achieve this collectively they have agreed on one thing – If they can do it anyone can.”