Well, what a successful Black History Month! We hope you enjoyed all the events, here is a rundown of all the things which we helped achieve:
We chaired a Q&A with the Vice-Chancellor and the Executive team on Decolonise UEA. Whilst being on this panel, we learnt that:
Black Hair Magic
This event allowed students to showcase the beauty and uniqueness of their black hair. It was a successful event so thank you all for coming!
The turnout was positive but it is still a challenge to engage non Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority (BAME) students in these conversations. Those who attended the event wanted to see a similar event but on a bigger scale and during this academic year.
Decolonise UEA: A workshop
This workshop was productive in starting conversations based around allyship and how to talk about decolonisation in spaces such as course rep meetings. It is important to get conversations like this started where it is yet to start.
We also brainstormed ideas to decolonise university spaces outside of the classroom and I hope to have these implemented by the time the next academic year starts with the new students.
This was also another successful event with a great turnout. The event was extremely useful as it fulfilled the function of both creating a platform for inspiring, networking and contributing to representing black student excellence on campus.
Speaking at the UUK Panel on Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged with the VC
This event brought forward the launch of ‘report and support’ software for racial harassment which is a great development.
I learnt so much about data protection in racial harassment case management and I contributed to the conversation around how these can be amended to better bring justice to the victim of racial abuse.
What now: The near future and the future
Soon, we will be electing the Black Student’s Officer (PTO).
I lead the Q&A with the VC and I learnt a lot whilst chairing the panel.
While the BAME attainment gap at UEA may be lower than that of the national average, students do not feel that their staff is representative of the student population.
This has a detrimental impact on the range of specialties within the research and curriculum offered to students and the lens from which they are taught as BAME staff can bring a critical lens to the curriculum due to their lived experiences.
It is thus necessary for the University to ensure that it is having the greatest possible outreach when recruiting staff and attracting and recruiting staff from various backgrounds.
It is necessary to diversify staff to overcome the BAME attainment gap as greater role-modelling has shown to empower students and a greater range of research areas allows students to feel motivated to pursue new areas of study. Additionally, the necessary support services need to exist to support such staff.
What are our plans?
We will continue to collaborate with UEA Decolonise Society as well as UEA Executive team.
We have hosted a Decolonisation overall Steering group for November and have one planned for December as well as faculty specific events planned. For example: Law steering groups, Politics, Philosophy and Languages steering group and School of Environmental Sciences are at the planning stages.
Pharm hosted an event as did the school of Economics during BHM which were both were successful!
We have planned to have micro-aggression training delivered by experts for all students in leadership positions but open to all students and staff. Finally, we will be launching Eradicate Hate across UEA.
If you have any questions or would like to chat about what you’ve read in this blog, drop me an email at Afia.Khan@uea.ac.uk.
Afia Khan, Ethnic Minorities Officer