Charles Golding portrait

Written by Charles Golding

Charles Golding is a creative director and filmmaker, a disruptor with a passion for change.

CARGO, Charting African Resilience Generating Opportunities, was launched in 2018 to address the lack of inspiring African and African diaspora narratives in education. Since then, awareness has been raised of the bias in representation in the current curriculum.  

In the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, many groups and organisations have sprung up to address the inequality and lack of diversity in business and education. We cannot be sure whether these organisations were echoing the zeitgeist or capitalising on the moment. Either way, we are now in an unprecedented time where diverse resources and educational tools are available on a scale unimaginable a few years ago. From major publishers, academics and celebrities, it seems many people have thrown their hat into the ring to help address the perceived lack of Black history within our classrooms. 

When CARGO began its journey into the world of education, we made a number of conscious decisions that would help define our focus and ambition. As Lawrence Hoo, CARGO co-founder recounts in the BBC documentary The Classroom Revolution: “At school, we weren’t taught white history.” This is an important distinction with the language we use to describe our work. 

We choose not to categorise the material we created with the binary simplicity of racial politics. We put language at the heart of our material. For example, we use ‘of African and African Diaspora heritage’ rather than ‘Black’; ‘of European heritage’ rather than ‘white’; ‘enslaved people’ rather than ‘slaves’. Our choice of words help to humanise often dehumanised narratives and define our direction.  

Another important distinction is our focus on engagement. We do not want our material to feel like a traditional classroom resources. We approach the creation of CARGO Classroom resources with a desire to create material that will engage, educate and entertain.  

Beyond our drive to address the inequality within the secondary school system was a realisation there was a need to energise and enrich the dusty and often antiquated environment of teaching in schools. We understood there was a void beyond racial inequality that spanned generations. The traditional institutions that have governed the distribution of educational material are no longer fit for purpose and have become out of touch with the needs of today’s students. Pupils are demanding change, and all too often, are taking control of their own learning.  Due to this demand, we are now developing KS1 and KS2 primary school resources as an addition to the CARGO Classroom KS3 secondary school resources currently available. 

No longer can the current frameworks and structures that have governed learning be adequate to fulfil the ideals and aspirations of the coming generations. We want to create materials that would be appropriate for children raised in the age of mass media and gaming. In an environment where information is more accessible than ever before, we know it is important to elevate our material to compete with the ever-changing landscape of digital media.  

The CARGO Classroom resources utilise rich, illuminating content from contemporary illustrations, engaging narrative poetry and cinematic videos. We acutely realise the importance of broader representation within teaching and the cross-cultural gains that can be made through a deeper knowledge and understanding. However, the information is only part of the puzzle with the method of delivery and context of the learning being equally as important if we are to inspire engagement and retain learning.  

As part of the BBC’s ‘Classroom Revolution ’ documentary, Lawrence visited two children who had been excluded from mainstream education. These students were categorised as hard to reach and subsequently hard to motivate and engage. Their teacher, Rebekah Leese, decided to structure an activity around one of the CARGO Classroom lessons. What you don’t see in the film is as the lesson continues, tutors from other classes gathered in the corridor in amazement as they attempted to look through the windows of the classroom. They couldn’t believe the children stayed engaged for as long as they did.  Rebekah remarked: “We are lucky to maintain their concentration for 20 minutes; they were engaged for over an hour.” We now understand one of those students is pursuing history as a subject for further study. Obviously not every classroom will benefit from such a monumental learning experience as a result of CARGO Classroom resources. However, the context and delivery of resources should remain at the forefront of our desire to rejuvenate the landscape of modern learning. It isn’t enough to just supply the material and tell different stories, it’s about how you tell those stories and how we can maximise engagement. We are not interested in ticking boxes; we are here to pull down barriers and broaden ambition.

For more information about CARGO Classroom, please visit