BAATN  Reading Group

Hosted by BAATN West Midlands

The next group will be online: Sat 17 July 2.30-4.30pm 2021

This is an Open Practitioner Event

Each quarter BAATN Midlands will hold a Reading Group featuring a book relevant to the themes of race and racism. In the Reading Group, we will discuss the background of the authors, the sociopolitical contexts in which the book was written, discuss any points raised in the group and consider the book’s relevance to practice.

In our next gathering on 17th July we will be discussing Black and Asian presence in British TV and Drama. We have selected a few films and documentaries; you are free to choose what and how many you would like to watch for the reading the group from the below titles: 

Gurinder Chadda – ‘I’m British but’

Small Axe – Episode ‘Red, White, Blue’

I May Destroy you – Episodes 4

Riz Ahmed – ‘The Riz Test’ 

Who should attend the workshop 

Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, holistic therapists, psychiatrists and individuals involved in the mental health field, caring professions and those concerned about black mental health.

Venue: Online (via Zoom)
Date: Sat 17th July 2021
Registration 14:30 Start – End 16:30

Cost: This event is free to members, £10 for Non-members. For Non-members booking reservations without payment will be held for 1 week before being offered to another person.

Find out about more events in the Midlands 


Comments from previous participants

“I look forward to the next Reading Book Event its a valued space.”

Thank you for the opportunity to share. It was great to meet with others, to talk and think about the book and hear others’ reflections on it. This is such important work: it was good to feel part of something that supports it.” – Carolyn

“Having decided to try something new, I found the Midlands Reading Group to be a welcoming, engaging and reflective experience.”Yasmine

“Joining the first meeting of the reading group on 29 January was a lovely chance to connect again with Birmingham-based BAATN practitioners. We looked at Akala’s stunning ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.’ It provided a lovely space to share our own stories. We all look forward to the Midlands chapter of BAATN picking up speed.”Susan Groves

The Group Agreement

Each quarter BAATN Midlands will hold a Reading Group featuring a book relevant to the themes of race and racism. In the Reading Group, we will discuss the background of the authors, the socio-political contexts in which the book was written, discuss any points raised in the group and consider the book’s relevance to practice.

As Reading Group attendees:

  • We recognise the need for confidentiality and its limitations when safeguarding actions are warranted and
  • are aware of the emotional impact of discussing issues concerning race and racism. Attendees are encouraged to ensure their own self-care and take a break from reading group activities whenever needed. We are aware of the right to be able to agree/feel agreed with and disagree/feel disagreed with one another.
  • We are mindful of how we deliver our opinions on the book/text.
  • We try not to speak over each other. When someone is speaking, the floor is fully theirs.
  • We are accepting and supportive of where people of the group are at. We recognise that some attendees might not have had the possibility to have fully read the book; and that sometimes despite intentions, things come up in one’s personal lives. Not having fully read the book should not be an obstacle to attendance and engage in discussions. This reading group is for those that specifically struggle to find time to read. It is hoped that by participating in the Reading Group, in one’s personal life more opportunity is enabled for reading books on Black Issues.

Structure of the Reading Group:

  • Two hours in duration, with a short break.
  • The book/text will be nominated by the reading group participants
  • We will always begin with a check-in at the start of the session and end with a checkout
  • The first half of the session involves looking at our personal reaction to the book, considering various contexts for instance what we know of the author, the intended audience and sense of community and politics it raises. After a break of 10-15 minutes, the second half of the seminar looks at the book’s relevance to clinical practice. There may, of course, be some overlaps between the two halves of the session.

Past Reading Groups 

Reading group on the 24th Apr 2021

The group used the session to process their personal and collective responses to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report (published March 2021). The report raised a number of questions, through for instance its critique of concepts such as Institutional Racism, BAME and the reasons for racial and ethnic disparities. We will give space to consider this report through our personal and professional contexts.

Link to the Commission report.

Media Reviews:

“We understand the idealism of those well-intentioned young people who have held on to, and amplified, this inter-generational mistrust. However, we also have to ask whether a narrative that claims nothing has changed for the better, and that the dominant feature of our society is institutional racism and White privilege, will achieve anything beyond alienating the decent centre ground – a centre ground which is occupied by people of all races and ethnicities.”

– Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, March 2021

“… The term [Institutional Racism] is now being liberally used, and often to describe any circumstances in which differences in outcomes between racial and ethnic groups exist in an institution, without evidence to support such claims.”

– Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, March 2021

Reading group on the 12th Dec 2020 

This group discussed the Sunday Times bestseller: ‘How To Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi, a historian and Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.

Media Reviews:

“Could hardly be more relevant … it feels like a light switch being flicked onOwen Jones

“An electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative … an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step” – The Voice

“This is no guidebook to getting woke … Never wavering, Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth. This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of colour, navigate this difficult intellectual territory. Essential” Kirkus

“One of the US’s most respected scholars of race and history… Kendi’s argument is brilliantly simple … he rejects the idea that racism is born out of ignorance. Racism, history shows, is born out of its profitability and utility … His honesty … is one of the most powerful elements in this compelling book” – Afua Hirsch, The Guardian

About the author

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. 

Reading group on the 29th Feb 2020 

This group discussed the Sunday Times bestseller: Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’ by artist, writer and historian Akala.

Media Reviews:

‘My book of the year. It’s personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I’ve been waiting for – for years.’ – Benjamin Zephaniah

‘Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy.’ – David Olusoga, The Guardian

‘Akala is at his best destroying the comfortable myths that are invoked by white fragility to downplay attempts to correct the historical record … Akala makes it clear that he is not brimming with optimism. But reading Natives – witnessing the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching – I can’t help but be just that.’ – Afua Hirsch, Observer

‘What I love about this book is it’s kind of like a testimony, a story of contemporary London. He is like one of the Baldwins or Hooks of our generation, who walks among us, you know? When he theorises, it’s from a place of knowing rather than some distant place up above… He is very good at remembering and honouring the experiences that have shaped him, and he applies it in a very real way.’ – Madani Younis, The Guardian

Reading group on the 14th Jul 2020

This group discussed we 2017 revised and updated edition of the 1997 bestseller exploring the psychology of race and racism in the United States: ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Psychologist and president emerita of Spelman College, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum.

Media Reviews:

 Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? was a landmark publication when it appeared in 1997. Twenty years later this updated edition is as fresh, poignant and timely as ever.”- Earl Lewis, President, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“An unusually sensitive work about the racial barriers that still divide us in so many areas of life.”- Jonathan Kozol

“We don’t talk about race in America, but we must start if we are going to heal this broken country–and Beverly Tatum’s book is exactly the conversation opener we should be using.”Jodi Picoult

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