Papers of Ansel Wong

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Collection of original material and publications relating to the early years of Ansel Wong's career and involvement in activism. The collection includes; material relating to the West Indian Student's Union (newsletters, pamphlets, flyers); material relating to the AFIWE school and education (journals, minutes, reports, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets); reports and conference papers on various subjects; creative writing by young people (stories, poems); material relating to the Black Panther Party; ephemera (flyers, posters, pamphlets, programmes, essays, newspapers, journals, newsletters); articles and written work by Ansel Wong; press cuttings; and personal material (letters, photographs).

Administrative / Biographical History

Ansel Wong was born on 4 October 1945 in San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago. His early education included attendance at San Fernando Boy's Government School, Trinidad (1953-1958), and Naparima College, Trinidad (1958-1964). In 1965 Wong arrived in the UK to attend Hull University, his studies there ended in 1968. Wong went on to study at the Institute of Education University of London, and Brunel University.

In the early 1970s Wong was involved in the West Indian Students' Union/West Indian Students' Centre. He was chairman of the West Indian Students Union, edited a number of their publications and contributed articles. His arts organisation, the Black Arts Workshop, regularly held workshop sessions and staged productions with the support of the Union.

From 1974-1976 Wong was the Education Co-ordinater of the Ahfiwe school which was a project of the Council for Community Relations in Lambeth, ILEA. Linked to The Ahfiwe school was the Gresham project's supplementary education scheme for which Wong was Education Co-coordinator. The Gresham Youth Centre (Gresham Project) was set up with the assistance of the Home Office under the terms of the Urban Programme. Its aim was to provide an "unstructured" centre for young people of Brixton. The main clients of the centre were African-Caribbean people aged 16-25 years. These young people were subject to a multitude of social problems including housing stress, educational deprivation, unemployment, and a lack of social and recreational ameneties. Traditional education was also found to have hampered the development of young people through inadequacies in teaching quality, therefore the Ahfiwe school was set up in 1974 with a one year grant from the Community Relations Commission, Saturday classes were held at Santley School. The Gresham project also ran adult education classes in the evenings and an advisory service. Wong also planned external activities such as a camping holiday to Paris involving teachers, pupils and parents.

Wong had a long and varied career in education and management regarding causes that reflect his beliefs. His appointments include; Teacher, Sydenham Girls Secondary School, ILEA (1971-1973); Director of Elimu Community Education Centre, Westminster Community Relations Council, ILEA (1977-1982); Principal Race Relations Advisor, Greater London Council (1982-1986); Head of Race Equality Policy Group of the London Strategic Policy Unit, London Borough of Camden (1986-1988); Education Officer-Policy, Planning and Personnel, London Borough of Ealing (1988-1989); Director Education Policy and Evaluation-Deputy to Chief Education Officer, London Borough of Lambeth (1989-1991); Vice Principal of Morley College (1992-2003); Managing Director, Purple International Limited (2006-2007), clients include London Notting Hill Carnival Limited, Slavery Memorial Trust, St Albans Council, and South African Government); Director of Learning & Development, Focus Consultancy (2003-2010), clients include Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman, The Entertainer, Highbury Grove School, Metropolitan Police Authority, University College London, Government Office for London, Learning & Skills Council, Gateshead Council, Wirral Council, Croydon College, Queen Mary College, University of London , Learning & Skills Council, Birmingham City Council, Training & Development Agency for Schools, and Southwark College); Company Secretary & Examinations Officer, Savile Row Academy, a training centre for bespoke tailoring and cutting skills (2007-2012), and Managing Director of Tsingtac Associates Ltd (2007-2012) clients included Carnival Village, London Fire Brigade, BAE Systems, Elimu Carnival Band, Community Health Action Trust, CMB2Group, Conservatoire of Dance & Drama, International Security Logistics Ltd, SEC BME, Network, Harris Academy Peckham, and the Department of Transport).

Wong's public appointments include Chair of North West London Workforce Development Confederation; Non Executive Director, North West London Strategic Health Authority; Chair, Alcohol and Drug Use in London; Chair, London Health Commission; Chair, Community Health South London NHS Trust; Chair, Brent and Harrow Health Authority; Non Executive Director, North West London NHS Mental Health Trust; Member of Independent Enquiry into the National Centre for Industrial Language Training, London Borough of Ealing; and Member, Independent Panel Reviewing Members' Allowances, London Borough of Harrow.

He was also involved in a great deal of voluntary and third sector organisations. The following list illustrates these; Shanghai Tourism Festival; Trinidad & Tobago Professional Network UK; Caribbean Development Trust; Ageing Matters: Ethnic Concerns, Age Concern England; Foundation for Young Musicians; Advisory Panel on Cultural Diversity English National Opera; Caribbean Advisory Group; Vice Chair, London International Carnival Mas' Association; Robinsfield/Barrow Hill Schools City of Westminster; Chief Executive Lennox Lewis College; Management Committee Race and Housing Research Unit of The Runnymede Trust; Chairman, Westminster Community Relations Forum; Member, Advisory Committee to High Commissioner, Trinidad and Tobago, Selection Committee; Chairman, Advisory Committee to High Commissioner, Trinidad and Tobago; Chairman, Fatel Rozack Group; Chairman of Jury, One World Broadcasting Trust Annual Awards, Overseas Television Productions; Founder / Director Black Arts Workshop, Community Arts, Dance and Drama group; Member, Caribbean Teachers Association-Professional Association of Black Teachers; Member, Cardinal Hume's Advisory Group on the Catholic Church's Commitment to the Black Community; Chairman and Director of Cultural Co-Operation, promoter of non-Western traditional music and art festival - The Music Village; Director, Open Channels; Director, Flamboyan Community Association; Chairman & Trustee, Notting Hill Carnival Trust; Director, Carib Charitable Trust; Editor, Grassroots Newspaper, monthly publication of the Black Liberation Front, using the pseudonym of Ade Kimathi.

Ansel Wong is also a Fellow of The Royal Society for the Arts, and a Justice of the Peace, Middlesex Area Commission. He has had a number of research papers and other written works published. Ansel Wong is currently involved as Managing Editor with Hansib publications (2010-) and has been a committee member for the Memorial Gates Committee (2009-).

Arrangement

This material was donated to Black Cultural Archives in one large chest. To avoid placing an unintended order on it, the collection has been catalogued in series according to the subject matter/type of material.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are strongly urged to contact Black Cultural Archives in advance of their visit. Some of the material may be stored off-site and advance notice of at least a week is needed in order to retrieve this material.

The reading room is open for access to archive materials Wednesdays-Fridays, 10am-4pm. The reading room is also open late every second Thursday of the month, 1pm-7pm.

Please email the archivist to book an appointment archives@bcaheritage.org.uk

Custodial History

The papers were donated to Black Cultural Archives by Ansel Wong in December 2008.

Related Material

See also, LIBFRONT/ and the 'Grassroots' publications from the Runnymede Trust Periodicals Collection at Black Cultural Archives.

Personal Names