Union Black: anti-racism course

'Union Black: Britain's black cultures and steps to anti-racism' is a 6-hour online learning course, open to all staff and students.

The University is continuing its work with colleagues and students to bring cultural change through joining the 'Union Black: Britain's Black cultures and steps to anti-racism' programme.

Union Black training course

The Union Black course provides you with an understanding of the origins and experience of Black British history and culture and a critical appreciation of the concepts of intersectionality and race as a social construct. You will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to make positive change happen.

It responds to Universities UK's 'Tackling racial harassment in higher education' report, which highlighted the racial inequalities that exist across the higher education sector. The report called on universities to improve racial literacy among senior leaders, staff and students and issued recommendations for institutions to implement including "training developed from an anti-racist perspective".

In addition to the full Union Black course, students and staff have the option of a one-hour introductory version of the course titled 'Introducing Union Black', which is designed to introduce learners to some of the concepts and learning experiences in the full Union Black course and help build their confidence as a change agent for equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Check the course registration guide for a step-by-step guide on how to access the programme. Once you have enrolled with Santander you will be offered the choice between the full and introduction courses.

All learners on the full course will receive a certificate of performance upon completion which they can add to their CV or share on social media. Learners who complete the introduction course will receive a statement of participation.

Sign up

Course details

The course is run by Santander Universities UK in partnership with The Open University and FutureLearn.


You will learn through a mixture of:

  • online learning content
  • discussion forums
  • reading materials
  • interactive activities.


The course is available to all staff and students.


The programme has been developed by leading academics, including:

  • Professor Marcia Wilson, Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The Open University
  • Dr Jason Arday, Associate Professor in Sociology and Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture at Durham University.

Course materials include contributions from:

  • David Olusoga, BAFTA-award-winning film-maker
  • David Lammy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
  • Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, human rights activist
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of The Young Vic
  • David James MBE, former England goalkeeper.

The course has been guided by a steering committee, including:

  • Baroness Valerie Amos
  • Karen Blackett OBE.

The presenter of the course is:

  • Ayo Akinwolere, TV host and former Blue Peter presenter.

Student grant award

Students who complete the course will have the opportunity to be considered for one of 100 Santander Development Grants of £500 each to support their studies.

Awards are offered by Santander Universities, and administered by The Open University.

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