Developed by the Open University in partnership with Santander Universities UK, Union Black: Britain’s Black Cultures and Steps to Anti-Racism is a free online course that provides insights into Black British history and an understanding of the cultures and experiences of Black people. It aims to dispel myths so as to inform, challenge, and contribute to the anti-racism agenda.

We are making the Union Black course available to staff and students as part of broader and ongoing efforts at Imperial to raise awareness of race inequalities and to promote anti-racism. Recent work in applying for a Race Equality Charter mark and in examining the College’s history has highlighted the value of encouraging dialogue and reflection on the issues of ethnicity and belonging.

Instructions on how to sign up to Union Black are detailed below.

What is Union Black?

The Union Black course was developed in response to Universities UK’s Tackling Racial Harassment in Higher Education report. Hosted on FutureLearn, the course is delivered through a mixture of videos, reading materials, and discussion forums, and can be taken at the learner’s own pace. All told, it should take about six hours to complete. There is no assessment element; instead, participants are encouraged to reflect on their own attitudes and values.

The course will be offered twice a year for the next two years. The current programme runs until 2 May 2022 and during this period applicants can enrol at any time before then.

Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, gives a TED talk on 'The Danger of a Single Story'

The Danger of a Single Story

As a taster of the course material, here is a TED talk by Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s on 'The Danger of a Single Story'.

Grants for students

Santander runs an initiative where students who complete the course will be randomly selected to win one of a hundred Santander development grants of £500. These grants aim to help support students' studies and the students will be invited to take part in a live thought leadership event which will bring together high-profile ambassadors for a curated discussion.

How to sign up

Enrolments are now closed and the next cohort will begin in September 2022

  • Open the Santander union Black programme page
  • Click the red Enroll button on the right
  • Fill in your details and a confirmation email will be sent to you
  • Confirm your email by using the provided link
  • This will take you to the Scholarships page. If you don’t see the Union Black course listed on the front page you can click the blue Scholarships tab on the right and then the red/white filter scholarships button. Search for Union Black and the course will appear. Click on this and choose the red Enroll button on the right
  • You will be redirected to an online form. Note: if you are staff, or a student not wishing to apply for the £500 grant, you do not need to upload any proof of identity. Once you have completed the form press apply
  • You will be sent an email from Santander which will give you a link to the FutureLearn site
  • You will need to register (or sign in) with FutureLearn and from there you will be given access to the course and materials

The College’s Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team are interested to hear what people think of this course and will be contacting staff and students who sign up to the course to request feedback. This will help to inform efforts to develop more bespoke training and educational materials.

Please email Alex Dawes, REC Coordinator, if you have any comments or queries.