Event: Saturday 17th June 2023 – From War to Windrush 75 – Imperial War Museum


From War to Windrush 75 – Imperial War Museum

From War to Windrush 75 is a half-day of talks and performances marking the 75th anniversary of the landing of the Empire Windrush in Britain in 1948. Leading historians, actors, broadcasters and poets will explore Caribbean contributions to the Second World War and the significance of Windrush in Britain’s transition from Empire to a post-imperial society, as well as looking at how the Windrush generation has shaped Britain as a modern multicultural society.

Hosted by Leonie Elliot, the actor best known for her role as Lucille Anderson in the BBC series Call the Midwife.

The IWM Institute is IWM’s research and knowledge exchange hub. We explore war and conflict subjects, themes, and trends that will influence the museum’s future work.

Speakers & Performers

Leonie Elliott

Leonie is an actress best known for her role as Lucille Anderson, a nurse from Jamaica who came over as part of the Windrush Generation in the BBC series Call the Midwife. She also starred in the 2022 National Theatre adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Small Island. Her family emigrated from Jamaica in the 1960s.

Kamal Ahmed

Kamal Ahmed is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The News Movement, a new media business focused on social media channels, new audiences and digital consumption. Between 2018 and 2021, Kamal was Editorial Director of BBC News, previously serving as the BBC’s Economics Editor from 2016-18.  A Leeds University Graduate in Political Studies, Kamal’s first book, The Life and Times of a Very British Man, was published by Bloomsbury in 2018.

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips is a writer and television producer. He is the co-founder of the data analytics consultancy Webber Phillips, and Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search. He is a Times columnist, shortlisted for Comment Writer of the Year in 2020.  He is the Chairman of the global freedom of expression campaign charity Index on Censorship; a Senior Fellow at the Policy Exchange think tank; and a Vice-President of the Royal Television Society.  Trevor is a non-executive director of the AIM-listed behavioural science consultancy Mind Gym; he was the President of the John Lewis Partnership Council until 2018, and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Patrick Vernon

Patrick Vernon has led the campaign for a national Windrush Day since 2010 and in 2018 kick-started the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation in response to the Windrush Scandal. He is a writer and broadcaster for national and international media on healthcare, cultural heritage and race, and co-authored ‘100 Great Black Britons’. He is also an IWM Associate.

Les Johnson

Dr Les Johnson is a Visiting Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, and also the founder and Chair of the National Windrush Museum which is dedicated to researching, exhibiting, and preserving the legacy of the Windrush generation and their successors. He received his PhD for research on cultural visualisation, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Dr Johnson is an alumnus of the Royal College of Art and was the owner and CEO of Equator International, a multi-award winning design and management consultancy firm, for 30 years. Throughout his career, he has worked with universities and numerous cultural sector organisations including the BBC, Channel 4, Arts Council, Tate, South Bank Centre, Design Museum, BPI, Clydesdale Bank, Virgin, and Sony.

Angelina Osborne

Dr Angelina Osborne is an independent researcher and heritage consultant. She received her PhD in History from the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull in 2014. Her interests focus on Caribbean enslavement and proslavery discourses, and the history of community and education activism.

Shirley May

Shirley May is a poet from the Speakeasy Collective in Manchester and has co-managed the collective for five years. She is also the Creative Director and CEO of Wordsmith Awards /Young Identity, and an alumni member of Commonword’s writing development agency. Shirley was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020.She is a Visiting Fellowat Manchester Metropolitan University and was the first Artist in Residence at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race-Relations Centre, part of Manchester University libraries.

Bonnie Greer

Author, playwright and broadcaster. Her plays have been produced on the BBC and in the West End. She was Deputy Chairman of the British Museum’s Board of Trustees and is former Chancellor of Kingston University.

Sunder Katwala

Sunder Katwala is the director of British Future, a non-partisan thinktank working on issues of migration, integration, race and identity. He has previously worked as a journalist, as leader writer and internet editor at the Observer. He was also general secretary of the Fabian Society from 2003 to 2011; research director of the Foreign Policy Centre; and commissioning editor for politics and economics at the publisher Macmillan. Sunder grew up in Cheshire and Essex, though he was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, to parents who came to Britain from India and Ireland to work for the NHS. His new book How To Be A Patriotis published by Harper North in May 2023.

David Harewood

Actor David Harewood is well known for his role of J’onn J’onzz in Supergirl, as well as starring in The Man in the High Castle, Homeland and more recently, Ten Percent where he played himself. A brilliant stage presence, David has also just completed the extended run of William F Buckley’s Best of Enemies at the Noël Coward this year. A documentary maker, David’s previous works include Black is the New BlackCould Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister and Why is Covid Killing People of Colour. In 2019, he released David Harewood: Psychosis and Me and wrote his first book Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery which was published in 2021. He has recently teamed up with the BBC for his newest documentary: Get On Up: The Triumph of Black America. Now out on BBCiPlayer, the two-part series takes us across America to discover some of the true stories and incredible artists who shaped his life and the influence of Black culture on the world. He is the author of Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery’.

Garry Stewart

A specialist in pre and post-war history, Garry has worked as a Black heritage consultant on wide-ranging projects across the UK. Garry is currently Director of Recognize, a platform he created to deliver Black history community projects. His past endeavours have included: project manager of “Stories of Omission”, a University of Birmingham and Voices of War & Peace collaborative community project; co-commissioner of “Here to stay” The 70th anniversary of Windrush nurses exhibition & garden party; Regional  Project coordinator for screening of “Hero” An independent film about The extraordinary life and times of Ulric Cross DSO, DFC (Distinguished Service Order & Distinguished Flying Cross).

Anthony Joseph

Dr Anthony Joseph is an award-winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and musician. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, London. His 2018 novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His latest poetry collection Sonnets for Albert won the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize and the poetry category for the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. It was also shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Collection 2022.


Many people know about the contribution of the Windrush Generation to our public services, like the NHS and public transport. Far fewer are aware that these pioneers had often already served the ‘mother country’ in the fight against Hitler’s Nazi Germany. IWM’s event will take us to the earlier stops on the Windrush journey – to the battlefield, the field hospital and the fighter cockpit.

– Patrick Vernon OBE, convenor of the Windrush 75 Network

Event details

Saturday 17 June 2023

2pm – 8pm

IWM London

£30 Full Price

£15 discount rate (students, SSN members, Windrush 75 Network members)

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