Bristol University graduate Eno Mfon praised for response to lecturer who said there was ‘no space’ for black writers

University makes commitment to increasing diversity in its new strategy and 'significantly' broadening out the curriculum

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Wednesday 27 July 2016 16:49 BST
The student's post, pictured, has been widely-praised online
The student's post, pictured, has been widely-praised online (byenomfon via Instagram)

A Bristol University graduate has been widely-praised online for giving the best “I told you so” reaction after her lecturer told her there was “no space” for black writers on her course.

In a Facebook and Instagram post, which has since gone viral, student Eno Mfon said she was “the only black kid” on her course and was told by one of the head lecturers that “there’s no space for black theatre makers on the curriculum.”

She added: “So you spend three years learning about Chekhov and Carol Ann Duffy but then realise that you can write your own stuff for lil black girls and so you do that, and sell out the Bristol Old Vic and the lecturer that told you there’s no space for you, pays to watch you perform.”

Mfon took to the stage at the Bristol Old Vic earlier this year with her “witty and thought-provoking” play, Check the Label, an intimate piece based on the student’s own experience of growing up “in dark skin.”

Told through poetry, childhood games, and music - everything from nursery rhymes to Dizzee Rascal - Mfon’s play was praised for exploring the “damaging effects of Eurocentric beauty standards” and the distance this creates between women of colour.

Mfon said: “During my second year, I decided to confront the experience of colourism and skin bleaching which permeates the black and Asian community.

“When I was growing up, I noticed visible changes in some of the women around me. There were little signs that revealed the use of lightening cream. I knew how to spot the signs, but I never understood the wider implications of this; it was a taboo subject that no one dared to address.

“Through Check the Label, I attempted to say what many young black girls, including myself, once struggled to articulate.”

Dr Catherine Hindson, head of theatre at the university, described how she had spoken with Mfon about her post and “apologised that she had this negative experience.” She told the Independent: “I’ve invited her to meet with me in September to talk through and get her feedback on changes we’ve made to the curriculum. She agreed her experience studying here was, on the whole, a very positive one, leading to many opportunities to showcase her talents.

“The university has made a strong commitment to increasing diversity in its new strategy, and we’ve broadened out the curriculum significantly across the faculty of arts.”

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