Dr Yvonne Thompson named as new Chair of Black Cultural Archives

The announcement comes as the Black Cultural Archives gears up to celebrate its  40th Anniversary as Britain’s only black national heritage centre 

Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, The award-winning  Brixton based businesswoman and activist has been named as the new Chair of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA).


Yvonne’s appointment has been hailed by insiders as the start of a ‘brand new era’ for the Brixton-based BCA, the UK’s first and only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

Lisa Anderson

Highly-regarded independent curator, consultant and long time champion for Black British art, Lisa Anderson will also join Yvonne as the BCA’s  new  Managing Director

The new appointments will mark a brand new era of stability and impact for the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), building on the huge momentum of support and recognition gained in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter resurgence, which brought about an official proposed commitment from key sectors within the UK to actively tackle racial inequality, dismantle institutional racism and eradicate anti-blackness within British society.

Speaking with Black History Month Dr Thompson said:  “I am honoured to be trusted with this most prestigious position of leadership as the custodian of the UK’s black cultural archives, nurturing, and growing the concept by founders Len Garrison and Dawn Hill CBE, whose trusted hands have brought the organisation this far, and now that baton has been passed onto me. I am also looking forward to working with the board of Trustees, old and new, to deliver the new strategic vision for the oldest black-owned and run institutions of its kind in the UK.

“Working with the new MD Lisa Anderson, my priorities are to grow and make the organisation fiscally competitive and to ensure the BCA is top of mind when thinking about black historical information and education. Our mission is to welcome all interested audiences, and convert new ones while moving the BCA onto a national and global stage.”

Speaking with Black History Month Lisa spoke on the enduring significance of the archives and her excitement about its future. She added:  

“The BCA was born from a hope for a more just British society, able to acknowledge the breadth of historic contributions made by Black people.  As a girl, I remember the swell of confidence I gained by learning about historical figures like Olaudah Equiano or Nanny of the Maroons, figures absent from my school history lessons, but central to the story of colonial and post-colonial Britain.

“Joining the BCA in its 40th year, as a child of the movement that brought it into being, is a full circle moment for me. And I’m clear that the BCA is needed now more than ever.  Our hope is to celebrate the BCA’s achievements and consolidate its position as a national heritage treasure, dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating Black History. With my leadership and support of new Chair Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, we are entering a new chapter of impactful and collaborative leadership that we know will stand the test of time.”