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Prestigious Award given to former head of Liverpool Slavery Museum


Nov 7, 2023

A man who has worked for the Black and wider community for more than 35 years has been honoured with a prestigious award.

Paul Reid, who served as head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool was honoured at the 2023 Powerlist Celebration of Black Excellence Awards on October 27.

The host for the night was businessman Tim Campbell MBE. Tim, after winning the first series of Alan Sugar's The Apprentice rose to prominence.

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Paul, originally from London told the ECHO: "The 2023 Powerlist Community Award for Black Excellence is a highly prestigious award. Thinking about the amazing work taking place within the community. Reading, Basingstoke, Berkshire

“To be nominated is one thing. But, to win the award means a great deal to me.

Paul Reid the winner of the Meta Community Award in the Black Powerlist 2023 with Kojo Boakye representative of the award sponsors Meta (Image: Jason Grant JPG Photography)

"From Railton Road, Brixton frontline in the 1970s to being the Winner of the 2023 Powerlist Black Community Award for Black Excellence deserves a moment of reflection. A journey better described possibly through the lens of purpose rather than a planned career."

Paul's Meta Community Award is granted to someone who has been an outstanding individual or organisation. Someone who has been making significant contributions to their community, through passion and selflessness.

The Powerlist awards have been awarded since 2007 and organised by Powerful Media and the job of deciding who makes it onto the list is down to judges. They abide by a strict criteria and nominated names are put through a rigorous test, on criteria and influence.

Awards such as; banking, business and more including the Executive Leadership Council Executive of the Year Award which went to Vanessa Kingori OBE. Paul follows last year's winner of the Community Award, Leila Thomas, CEO and Founder of Urban Synergy who supported over 20,000 young people aged nine – 24 years through career seminars, mentoring and work experience placements.

Paul Reid giving his acceptance speech after receiving the Meta Community Award at the Black Powerlist event in October in London. (Image: Jason Grant JPG Photography)

Paul said: "I learned the value of Self-knowledge and identity and found my people and my voice at New Initiatives (Youth & Community Association). It was my intellectual, spiritual and cultural home as an activist.

"We created and for over two decades, (1990s to 2010) provided the ORIGIN African-Centred Rites of Passage Programme for young men of African heritage and their families. This programme saw young men complete elements such as heritage workshops, martial arts, exploring self expression and various challenges such as outward bounds and more".

Paul's extensive community work and voluntary roles include Brixton Town Centre Manager for Lambeth Council (2003 – 2005) and for 13 years (2006 – 2019) as the director of the Black Cultural Archives which "represented the fight for resources within a political and racially charged environment", while he and others fought to build a Black Heritage institution as a learning tool and resource of information.

About his time at The ISM in Liverpool Paul said: "I'm proud of two solid years of community engagement that re-connected Liverpool's Black community to the museum. It was a bold and progressive decision to co-produce the museum's redevelopment with community stakeholders.

"I leave the position having embedded some fundamental ideas for the museum to take forward. What I did not want was a museum that showed objects, changed displays and saying, it's redeveloped.

Paul Reid (R) winner of the Community Award with former British Hurdler Colin Jackson CBE at the Black Powerlist Awards event in Mayfair, London in October (Image: Paul Reid)

"This landmark project will transform the Royal Albert Dock to reimagine Liverpool's waterfront. I started talking about the importance of the docks, how you engage in history and how it impacts on people.

"I wanted signposting and empowerment for communities, particularly for the Black community. In order to do that they will be working and co-producing with stakeholders to answer questions about how we implement this".

“I would say the redevelopment of ISM is the most important project in the heritage and museum sector in the UK. The new head, they’re inheriting the most important project and I wish them all the best".

He will also be working with Disrupt Space, a community of emerging artists, where the visual arts facilitate hidden Black voices. Paul added: "I'm pleased to continue my involvement as International Slavery Museum Associate to advise and support the museum in delivering the project.

"This brief history, anchored in ideals, values and opportunities, has been an ongoing process of growth and new beginnings. Interestingly, I don't recall a career plan or a road map, it's mostly been about listening to self and doing what I think is right”.

Advice for anyone involved in community work and activism he said: "It's about perseverance and determination and the issues that are most important to us, to stay strong. It's about the needs of our community, when we're constantly fighting marginalisation”.

For the future Paul has a busy time ahead as he will move back to London for personal and family reasons. He will start a post in November as Director of Innovation at the Ideas Foundation.

For information on the Powerlist visit Powerful Media HERE

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