BLAM and ERT launch Olive Morris Fellowship


Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health (BLAM) and the Equal Rights Trust (ERT) are proud to announce a new initiative working in partnership to implement the UK’s equality law obligations to adopt measures in its educational system to combat prejudices which lead to racial discrimination.

The Black Lives Matter protests this past year have once again highlighted the need to change the way we think, teach and learn about our history. In particular, the debate sparked by the toppling of the Edward Colston statue, as well as recent reports about failures to commemorate Black and Asian troops, has revealed a widespread ignorance of Britain’s colonial history, its role in the slave trade and the exploitation of colonised states. This ignorance means there is a lack of understanding of the factors which led to – and the realities of – the settlement of Black communities to the country. At the same time, the National Curriculum fails to adequately integrate Black narratives, history and culture. Transforming the way we teach and learn about our history is necessary to increase understanding and tackle racial prejudices, and to address one of the root causes of institutional discrimination.

There exist a number of initiatives calling for change in approaches to teaching across the UK. The objective of our initiative is to support organisations and movements working to decolonise the National Curriculum and ensure Black history becomes a mandatory feature within it to make effective use of equality law in their advocacy

Our first step is to launch the Olive Morris Fellowship to support a legal researcher to investigate the gaps in the National Curriculum and the link between this gap and patterns of racial prejudice and discrimination in the UK. The Fellowship honours the memory of Olive Morris, a passionate and committed community organiser and activist, who tirelessly campaigned and organised anti-racist and anti-imperialist campaigns, working within the Black community and for the rights of women in Brixton and Manchester until her tragic, untimely death from cancer in 1979.

The Fellowship seeks to support the professional development of a researcher in this field. The Fellow will receive an award of £7,000 and extensive training, technical support and expert guidance by the teams at BLAM and ERT.

We are grateful to Matrix Chambers for funding the Fellowship and to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for its grant supporting our initiative. 

Selection Criteria


● An undergraduate degree in law (preferred), social sciences or a relevant discipline;
● Demonstrable understanding of and interest in international human rights and/or equality law;
● Strong research and analytical skills;
● Excellent communication skills, both written and oral;
● Excellent organisational skills and IT skills.


● Post-graduate qualification in equality or international human rights law;
● Knowledge of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination;
● Knowledge of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent;
● Editing experience.

We particularly welcome entries from participants who may have suffered disadvantage because of one or more protected characteristics.

Application Process

To apply please submit a CV and covering letter to The deadline for applications is Sunday 16 May 2021. Applications will be reviewed by BLAM and ERT on a rolling basis and selected candidates will be contacted to undertake a written test in the week of 24 May and, if further shortlisted, to attend a panel interview in the week of 31 May.

The successful candidate will be asked to commence the Fellowship as soon as possible. 

Fellowship Scheme

This is a six-month Fellowship during which the Fellow will be expected to devote on average no more than 20 hours per week to attend training and undertake research tasks supervised by BLAM and ERT. The training and research are to be held/undertaken remotely although the Fellow will be encouraged to attend face-to-face meetings with BLAM and ERT when these can take place safely.

Unfortunately, the Fellowship is not eligible for visa sponsorship under the UK’s Immigration Rules. Applicants must have a right to work in the UK.

The Fellow will be responsible for any tax, national insurance or similar liability or contribution arising from receipt of the award.