Publishing the Book of The John Blanke Project

by Michael Ohajuru DUniv, FRSA in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We did it
On 9th April 2024 we successfully raised £9,715 with 152 supporters in 28 days

Funds to enable the publication of The John Blanke Project.

by Michael Ohajuru DUniv, FRSA in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Increase the print run and give copies away to secondary schools in Great Britain

I am Michael Ohajuru working in partnership with Canbury Press, I am  seeking £7,500 for  the printing of the book of the the John Blanke Project: The John Blanke Project: Artists and Historians Reimagine the Black Tudor Trumpeter . The design of the Book has already been funded by a £3,000 grant from the Paul Mellon Foundation. To enable printing we now need your help 

The John Blanke Project is a unique art and archive initiative that celebrates the life of John Blanke, the Black trumpeter to the Tudor courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. With the strap line Imagine the Black Tudor trumpeter, the Project sheds light on a once overlooked figure in British history. I commissioned artists and historians to make contributions to the Project through insightful, imaginative interpretations of him and his life.

The Project holds significant historical British importance as John Blanke is the first person of Black African descent in British history for whom we have both an image and a record. Through this art book, we intend to re-imagine John Blanke's life and his significance based on the two images of him found in the Westminster Tournament Roll held at the College of Arms and his brief mentions in the Tudor Court records found in the National Archive.

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The proposed structure of the art book is as follows 

1. Introduction:

A brief overview of the project's origins, goals, and its significance in uncovering the life of John Blanke. Highlights of the project's achievements and recognition, such as its appearances on BBC and ITV television, exhibitions at renowned art galleries, and features in esteemed publications like The Guardian and The Liverpool Echo. A collage of logos  Description automatically generated

2. Artist Contributions

A showcase of 60 plus artist contributions, featuring Black and White A4 drawings or works of similar size in various mediums. Each artist will provide a statement of 60 to 300 words beginning with I imagined John Blanke as... to provide insight into their creative process and interpretation of John Blanke's life. The contributions span a diverse range of art forms, including visual arts, poetry, photography, quilting, textile design, mosaics, and more, to offer a rich tapestry of artistic expressions.

                        The John Blanke Project Artists and Historians

Visual Artists Stephen B. Whatley• Adedayo Sotimehin• Adelaide Damoah • Alex McKenzie Alvin Kofi • Atta Kwami • Bob and Roberta Smith • Brandon Pilcher • Brian Francis • Dr Chila Kumari Burman • Chris Spring • Dan Farrimond • Dave Lewis • David Neita • Dee Lawrence • Ebun Culwin • Eugene Palmer • Fowokan • Graeme Mortimer Evelyn Holly Graham• Jane Porter• Janet Manning• Jenny Fay• Jeremy Salmon• Jody Burton• Joe Lillington• Jon Daniel• Keith Piper• Kimathi Donkor• Lanre Ajisafe• Larry Achiampong• Linett Kamala• Mark Thompson• Matthew Collings• Mengistu Etim• Nathan Bowen• Paul Dash• Pen Mendonça• Peter McCaldon• Phil Day• Phoebe Boswell• Randolph Matthews • Rohan Clarke • Rose Wilkinson • Seema Manchanda • Sharon Foster • Siobhan Stanley • Tam Joseph • Tinuke Fagborun • Toby Laurent Belson • Tonderai • Valda Jackson Victoria Burgher • Wole Lagunju Historians  Tony Warner • Dr Miranda Kaufmann •  Prof Catherine Fletcher • Dan Lyndon • David Bindman  • Prof Temi Odumosu • Prof Hakim  Adi    Dr Jan Marsh • Jeffery Green • Prof Kate Lowe • Kendall Francis • Lauren Johnson   Dr Marika Sherwood • Martin Spafford • Prof Nandini Das • Prof Olivette Otele Audrey Dewjee • Onyeka  • Prof Paul Kaplan • Phil Day  • Avril Nanton • Robin Walker • Rovianne Matovu  • S I Martin  • Stephen Bourne • Steven Veerapen •      Dr Toyin Agbetu • Dr Serena Lee • Ninya Mikhaila  • Dr Sean Cunningham             Dr Emma Luisa Cahill Marrón  Composer/Musicians Randolph Matthews • Aaron Akugbo Voice Ebun Culwin Actors Nadia Nadif • Leon Stewart Trumpeter  Lance Corporal Lawrence Narhkom of the Royal Armoured Corps   Rap Phil Hall  •  Valentine Ogunga Poets David Neita • Sheba Montserrat • Kadija George  •  SuAndi • John Agard • Mark Thompson • Roy Merchant

3. Historian Contributions

A curated selection of 30 plus historian contributions, each consisting of approximately 300 words, offering their imagined interpretations of John Blanke or aspects of his life based on available records.

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4 John Blanke Project Live! Workshops

Samples of the work done in workshops in Britain and the Caribbean with primary, secondary schools, prisons and with senior citizens bringing John Blanke to life thru their imaginations 

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5. Essay on The Project

A comprehensive 5,500-word essay, describing the origins of The John Blanke Project, its structure, and how it comes to life in workshops. The essay will provide readers with a deeper understanding of the Project's background, its methodologies (Critical Fabulation, Imagination and Speculation), and the collaborative efforts involved in bringing it to fruition.


I believe that publishing The John Blanke Project as an art book will allow a wider audience to appreciate the significance of John Blanke's story and experience the diverse interpretations from both historians and artists. The book's visual appeal, combined with its historical context and scholarly contributions, will make it a valuable addition to the field of art history, African diaspora studies, and Tudor-era scholarship.

The Project was funded from my own resources including occasional payments received from the organisations and institutions who paid me to speak about  the John Blanke and Project.  All royalties from book sales will be go to the funding of teaching Black British history. 

Where the Money Will Go...


Thanks for your time and consideration and hopefully your support.

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This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£6 or more

13 of 150 claimed

Named on the Crowdsourcing Page

Your name will appear on the page in the Book listing all those who donated to The Project.

£15 or more

24 of 50 claimed

E-Book Copy of The Book

For donating £15 you will receive an e-book versions of Book

£500 or more

2 of 5 claimed

Signed artwork and a copy of the Book plus Invite

A signed copy of artwork from the Project and a copy of the Book (posted in UK) plus invitation to the launch party in London

£999 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Endword: Your page to say why Project is important

Endword - 300 word statement on why the Project is important to you, printed at the back of the book. Plus invitation to the launch party in London

£50 or more

25 of 25 claimed

Numbered Copy of The Book

A numbered copy of the hardback first edition of the Book posted out (in UK only)

£100 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Named on the Patron Page in the Book

Special crowdfunding page in the Book, listed under Patrons, plus invitation to the launch party in London.

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