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Within our BAME and LGBTQ+ Learner Communities

Project Overview


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has placed an unprecedented mental health burden on students, evidencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, with 83% expressing worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions with rises in isolation-induced loneliness (a recognised suicide risk). In addition to the presence of the pandemic, students with protected characteristics such as ethnicity (in particular BAME) and sexual/gender identity (LGBTQ+) are further impacted negatively with regard to student mental wellbeing and sense of belonging. 


An inclusive curriculum enhances the way students learn and academics teach, and promotes mental wellbeing. This project aims to build the capabilities of HEI staff to create inclusive curricula and learning communities that promote a sense of belonging and mental wellbeing for students with protected characteristics.

You can also explore the previous work of this cluster as part of the Evidence for Enhancement Theme.

Watch our video to find out more

Project outputs

Student mental wellbeing within our BAME and LGBTQ+ learner communities: Collaborative cluster final report

Publication date: 29 Sep 2021

A comprehensive review of 21 BAME and LGBTQ+ resources

Publication date: 04 Oct 2021


As part of this project, the collaborative cluster delivered a series of professional development events in 2021. These explored:

  • what aspects of the curricula can impact negatively on BAME and LGBTQ+ students' mental wellbeing?
  • what key issues should be considered when designing inclusive curricula to address the needs of students from BAME and LGBTQ+ student communities to ensure their mental wellbeing?

For our fourth and final webinar we were joined by Gareth Hughes to discuss research and insights from his work in supporting the mental wellbeing of students, including those from BAME and LGBTQ+ communities. The webinar:

  • examined the challenges facing universities in supporting the learning and wellbeing of all students, as we (hopefully) transition back onto campus for the new academic year
  • explored the role of uncertainty, learning loss, socialisation, student self-belief and the potential steps we can take to support ourselves and our students
  • outlined key principles and ideas to use as foundations in our planning for September 2021 - drawing on evidence gathered over the last academic year and from student engagement with Student Space (a national online resource for students during the pandemic). 

For our third webinar professional development webinar on the 10 May 2021, we were delighted to have three experienced communicators, researchers and influencers share their experiences and discuss their insights with us from their ongoing work in advocating for BAME and LGBTQ+ (in particular Trans) communities:

The second of our professional development webinars was on 20 April 2021.

Experienced researchers and influencers Katie Nicoll Baines and Lara Lalemi shared their research and discussed their insights from their ongoing work in advocating for BAME and LGBTQ+ communities within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The first of four professional development webinars was delivered as part of the new Student Mental Wellbeing within our BAME and LGBTQ+ Learner Communities Collaborative Cluster, on 3 March.

We were joined by experienced writers and campaigners Amatey Doku and Dominic Smithies, who shared their research and discussed insights from their ongoing work in advocating for BAME and LGBTQ+ communities within higher education

We understand the importance of using language accurately and sensitively. We are still learning what that means in practice, and we are committed to listening to the diverse learning communities that this Theme is intended to support. If you would like to share feedback on any of the terminology used in relation to Theme projects, please email