In response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged (published October 2019), Advance HE launched its successful Tackling Racism on Campus project in February 2020. This was funded by the Scottish Funding Council. Outputs included a series of webinars and blogs, a suite of resources for use in institutions, and research on fostering a diverse workforce.
One key outcome of the project is that all of Scotland’s colleges and universities have committed to the following declaration:
Racism exists on our campuses and in our society. Call it what it is and reject it in all its forms. We stand united against racism.
In session 2020-21, the project was managed by Advance HE and resulted in a range of resources, created by a cross-sector working group. The resources constitute a Guide to getting started on this vital work, and include considerations of language, curriculum development, approaches to teaching, student engagement, allyship and more.
In session 2021-22, the project was managed by QAA Scotland with the following aims:
- to facilitate discussions about developing anti-racist curricula in particular discipline areas
- to facilitate discussions with a network of academic developers across a range of providers
- to share practice and develop resources based on the above discussions
- to pilot and evaluate resources produced in Phase 1
- to make recommendations for the continuation of the project in 2022-23.
Outputs from session 2021-22 can be found below.
These structures of racial inequity, they’re living machines ... they’re alive, they’re active, and they’re always evolving to self-regulate and continue subjugating, marginalising, disenfranchising people.
Dr Peggy Brunache
The 2022 Enhancement Conference featured a well-attended and engaging breakout session on developing anti-racist curricula. We have captured some reflections on the discussions, and the panel format in a blog.
In session 2022-23, the key aim is to establish a Professional Learning Network that will be self-sustaining beyond the end of the Project. If you are interested in joining this Network, please send us an email.
During April and May 2022, QAA Scotland worked with three excellent facilitators on a series of workshops examining how the Guide resources might be used in different broad subject areas (arts, humanities and social sciences, and STEM). Numbers were capped, but over 70 participants from a range of institutions and in a range of roles engaged in these thought-provoking discussions.
Our facilitators were:
- Dr Peggy Brunache, Lecturer in Atlantic Slavery at the University of Glasgow, and the Founding Director of the Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies at the University
- Dr Saima Salehjee, Lecturer in STEM Education at the University of Strathclyde
- Dr Stephany Veuger, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at Northumbria University.
We have worked together on the following resources.
This podcast is a recording of a conversation between the workshop facilitators, in which they discuss how they approached this work and what needs to happen next.
Resources developed by academic developers
QAA Scotland commissioned Edinburgh Napier University to build on the work of the successful Decolonising the Curriculum in the Time of Pandemic collaborative cluster that ran in session 2020-21. This project aimed to work with staff and students to expand and deepen sector-wide understanding of what decolonising the curriculum means in practice. In session 2021-22, Edinburgh Napier University managed a network of academic developers, creating an important space for these discussions to continue.
Resources developed by student interns
With support from QAA Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University appointed student interns to explore what decolonising the curriculum means in practice. They have produced the following resources. Special thanks are due to Jasmine Millington for coordinating this work.
Decolonising the Curriculum Podcasts
The following podcasts capture the voices of students from a range of institutions and subject areas, and with a range of lived experience. They offer rich insights into the impact of colonialism on their education. Closed captions are available.
The following illustrations are intended to be used to stimulate discussion. Each is accompanied by a short description and prompt.
Artist: Jasmine Millington
Content Inspiration: Rohama Nadeem
Description: Three large sieves floating against a light blue sky background. Multiple very small figures are falling through the sky, as if to fall through each sieve.
Prompt: Consider the lasting effects of colonialism on yourself and the environments you frequent, both things that can be seen and named and things that are unsaid and near imperceptible - what are the largest and smallest effects you can think of?
Artist: Jasmine Millington
Content Inspiration: Jasmine Millington
Description: A single large sieve floating against light blue sky background. A figure in a red hoodie and red-brown curly hair is sitting on the edge of the sieve, looking inwards and down through the sieve's mesh.
Prompt: Consider how intersecting barriers can prevent people from coming forward with their experiences, or achieving goals - what's the tiniest, most minute barrier that has ever prevented you from reaching out or achieving something?
Artist: Jasmine Millington
Content Inspiration: Sumaira Ud-Din
Description: A close-up shot of a brown-skinned hand against a blue sky background, tensely gripping the mesh of a sieve.
Prompt: Consider how people significantly affected by colonialism could face an unfair proportion of work going into resolving issues around colonialism, racism, xenophobia, and other correlated issues. Have you ever had someone ask you something that was completely unfair but seemed like a warranted question based on your own predisposition related to the topic?
Artist: Jasmine Millington
Content Inspiration: Nuzhat Biswas
Description: A close-up shot of a brown-skinned hand and arm against a blue sky background, reaching downwards through the broken mesh of a sieve.
Prompt: Consider how our current educational curriculums and frameworks could be causing pain unintentionally by not recognising, addressing, and acknowledging the various background demographics of the student body. If you could rework an aspect of education that had a negative effect on you while you were a student, what might that look like?
Senior Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland
Khadija is a Programme Leader and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the School of Education and Social Sciences. Her PhD centres on race equality exploring the lived experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic teachers in Scotland with a focus on celebrating their cultural, linguistic and religious identities. Khadija is the co-founder and Chair of SAMEE. This is a community-led organisation providing support to educators and those in support and guidance roles across the Scottish Education system – early years, schools, colleges and universities. Khadija received the Scottish Trade Union Congress Equality Award in 2019. Khadija is the first BME Muslim educator to be elected as the Vice-Convenor of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). She was Chair of the Advance HE/Scottish Funding Council project ‘Tackling Racial Harassment in Universities and Colleges’. Khadija is also the Chair of the Scottish Government Curriculum Reform group on Developing an Anti-Racist Curriculum.
Professor Clare Peddie
Vice-Principal Education, University of St Andrews
Professor Clare Peddie is a graduate of the University of St Andrews. Her career has been focussed on education in biology and she is the first Professor appointed under new promotions procedures that recognise contributions to teaching and service at her University. Her undergraduate degree and PhD were both in Marine Biology at the University of St Andrews; her research career moved into medical research at other institutions before she returned to take an education-focussed position at St Andrews. She has held roles as Director of Teaching for the School of Biology, ProDean for Undergraduates in the Faculty of Science, ProDean for Taught Postgraduates and Head of School. She was promoted to Professor and was appointed to the role of Vice Principal Education (Proctor) in May 2019. External to her University, she has a depth of experience as an external examiner, an institutional reviewer for the QAA in Scotland and often conducts subject-based and degree-accreditation reviews of other institutions. She still teaches marine biology in the field at undergraduate and masters level and has interests in the role of experiential learning in effective teaching.
Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education), University of Aberdeen
Professor Ruth Taylor took up the role of Vice-Principal Education at the University of Aberdeen in November 2019. She is responsible for leading the effective delivery of the University’s strategic objectives for Education. Areas of responsibility include: quality and innovation in learning, teaching and assessment; student experience and engagement, including student support; student success; employability and entrepreneurship; quality assurance and enhancement across the provision. Ruth is also responsible for leading the University’s work on the Race Equality Charter.
Ruth was previously Senior Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of a Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, and Professor of Nurse Education, at Anglia Ruskin University from 2013. She held an institutional role in the leadership of the student retention strategy. Prior to that she worked at The Robert Gordon University in a leadership role in the School of Nursing and Midwifery having had a career in clinical nursing practice for 15 years.
Ruth’s research interests include student retention, the first-year student experience, social capital in the context of the student experience, compassion in healthcare practice, and student leadership in healthcare practice.
Dr Lindy-Ann Blaize Alfred
Senior Adviser, EDI | Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, Advance HE
As a Senior Fellow of the HEA, Lindy-Ann brings over three decades of experience in a range of education sectors both nationally and internationally. She considers herself firstly as a teacher/facilitator, offering a ‘principled’ space for ‘participants to freely engage with and leverage their unique cultural wealth within any given learning arena.
Lindy-Ann embodies a creative and innovative flare to work in equality and inclusion and has built a reputable focus on equitable outcomes for students and staff marginalised by society. Her doctoral work focussed the persistence of international women in Higher Education and this continues to be the focus of her research and practice in both further and higher education.
With a clear understanding of the UK Higher education context and equality frameworks, specializing in progressive approaches to developing staff professional competency, she currently works across the sector designing and delivering high impact CPD which incorporates post-colonial methodological approaches to feminist research; covers race equity and organisational alignment to the race equality charter, and leading Advance HE fellowship recognition and accreditation at institutions in the UK.
She has also worked across the sector to develop a systematic ‘thought mapping’ approach to embedding equality and diversity in the curriculum. Outside the sector, Lindy-Ann continues to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable by volunteering within the community as a school governor and on the panel hearing system in Scotland. Lindy-Ann is currently co-editing a book of indigenous methodologies with HE colleagues in the Caribbean and beyond.
Lead: Curriculum and Teaching, College Development Network
Suzanne Marshall is a Lead in Curriculum and Teaching at College Development Network, with a background and commitment to anti-discrimination, equality diversity and inclusiveness for over thirty years. She has worked in a variety of roles within the tertiary education sector: teacher of French, English and ESOL; manager of international student advisory service; Head of Advice and Guidance; equalities advisor; counsellor, coach and mentor, as well as a number of voluntary roles within race equality and community organisations.
Her current role allows her to work in partnership with colleges and other agencies to contribute to education which is accessible to and makes a difference for all learners.
Professor Nazira Karodia
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Principal Learning & Teaching, Edinburgh Napier University