The Inclusive University

Protection VS Inclusion

Posted by Anna Houghton | 0 Comments
Contributed by Sarah J. Davies, Social Work Placements Co-ordinator

Last month I found myself caught on the horns of a dilemma. I had been invited to a presentation about ‘Girl Talk/Women Talk’ in St Pauls, Bristol, both projects aimed at informing & empowering girls & women ages 11-19. Diversity and inclusion were the order of the day.

I arrived early evening and sat on the back row, excited to be acting in my new role as charity trustee. I set about tucking into my party bag of goodies and as instructed, did a spot of pre-presentation mingling.
‘you know, your face looks familiar’, said the first young professional I spoke to whose specialism was equalities and fair treatment. ‘I think I know you from UWE’, he said decisively. Sadly, my alternative identity had been blown.

The facts became clear. He had recognised me as the Social Work Placements Co-ordinator, having been a student some years before. This meant he had witnessed one of my unavoidably dull induction talks about the process of how undergraduate students would be matched to their long-term placements in Social Work offices or out in the community. 

 “At UWE,” he asked, “did you ever think about the appropriateness of placements in terms of a person’s racial background and were these considerations part of the placement matching process?”  We discussed the hypothetical situation of a car-less student, sent to a white working-class suburb for their placement and receiving racist abuse at a bus-stop. Would UWE send another student to the same placement again?

My new acquaintance made the hypothetical situation harder. What if this was the only available placement for a BME student, it matched their learning needs and there was no alternative? Conversationally, this was a tight corner, but somehow that corner seemed even tighter because the question was being asked by a black male and I, the white middle-class co-ordinator, so wanted to get it right. I fumbled my way through the answer:

‘Then that would be difficult and you’d have to balance this against your responsibilities under Duty of Care, but at the end of the day if you deprive the student of that placement then you are not giving them the same chance as any other student to pass the course. So in that situation, I’d have to talk to them about it.’

‘I’m glad you said that,’ he beamed.

“When I was in London, I was matched with a placement in Dagenham,” he said. He had gone on to do a further course in the field of Social Care.

“And I practically begged them not to send me there”, he said, “It had such a racist reputation”.

‘So what happened’? I asked.

“It was the best team I could ever have had. So I’m really glad they didn’t send me anywhere else.”

I had escaped the tight corner, but this got me thinking about the fear of losing face when it comes to inclusivity questions. We may have the best of intentions. But how do we know if we have made the right decision for a person when, by their own admission, they are capable of missing an opportunity for themselves?

Perhaps a commitment to honestly sharing experiences and ideas without fear of being reprimanded for ‘getting it wrong’ is more important than right answers. Because when it comes to inclusion, how else can we learn together?  

Black History Month: BME Professional Careers Networking Event

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Contributed by Dr Zainab Khan

FBL celebrated Black History Month 2016 with a fantastic professional networking evening for BME students on 17th November.  Despite the stormy weather outside, over 50 Law and Business BME professionals and entrepreneurs from across Bristol joined us in order to share their personal career stories and advise our students.

Organisations in attendance included Elite Solicitors Ltd, Gregg Latchams, Albion Chambers, Bristol Pound CIC, GE Oil & Gas as well as the Black Police Association.

The evening included talks from finance experts and motivational coaches as well as successful UWE Bristol Alumni.

The event, the first of its kind at UWE Bristol, was a huge success and the inspirational speakers energised over 100 students in attendance, championing them to pursue their careers with even more enthusiasm and drive.  

The event was organised by Dr Zainab Khan (FBL) who would like to give advanced notice of Bristol Law School’s Annual Address: 9th February 2017 6pm Tunde Okewale MBE, the founder of the charity Urban Lawyers and recipient of numerous diversity awards, will be delivering his speech entitled 'No one Rises to Low Expectations.'  Registration for this event will be available online soon.

You can find more photos from the Networking Event on flickr.

Stephen Lawrence Trust and UWE Bristol offer new bursary for young wildlife filmmaker

Posted by Valerie Russell Emmott | 2 Comments

Interview with Patrick Aryee on YouTube

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has partnered with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to offer a unique bursary for a young person wanting to study towards a prestigious MA in Wildlife Filmmaking.

The UWE Bristol / BBC Wildlife Filmmaking Master course is a practical, one year MA, featuring masterclasses from industry leaders, practitioners and experts in the field and craft of wildlife filmmaking.

This unique scholarship will not only provide world class teaching and practical experience to the student, but the successful applicant will also receive additional support in the form of bespoke mentoring throughout the course, and after graduation, from production staff at the BBC and Plimsoll Productions; an independent production company based in Bristol.

UWE Bristol's MA in Wildlife Filmmaking is now in its fourth year and has an employment rate of 90 - 100%, at any one time, for its graduates.

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has, historically, offered bursaries for young people studying towards a degree in architecture. More recently, bursaries have been offered to students studying law and journalism. With the announcement of this new scholarship the Trust continues to ensure that talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to access a variety of careers.

Sonia Watson, CEO at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust says, "This is an exciting new venture for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. We have been working towards improving access to the media industry for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but we have never ventured into the world of wildlife filmmaking. The work of the Trust is aimed at giving young people the opportunity to succeed in whatever field they choose, so we were delighted when we were approached by UWE Bristol and the BBC's Natural History Unit to develop a new scholarship aimed at increasing diversity in this field."

Alex Gilkison, Pro-vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, says, "UWE Bristol appreciates this opportunity to work in collaboration with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and the BBC to provide tangible opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to enter the television industry at a professional level."

The Stephen Lawrence Trust & UWE Bristol Wildlife Filmmaking partnership bursary is open for applications. For further information and how to apply, please visit the course page.





Princess Campbell paediatric suite opens at Glenside

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The new Children's Focused Nursing Simulation Suite at Glenside was officially opened by Kath Evans, Experience of Care Lead – Maternity, Newborn, Children and Young People for NHS England.

The Suite, which includes a simulated children's ward and a sensory room, ensures student nurses develop skills and get the chance to practise them in a safe environment, improving their confidence and ability when they are on clinical placement.

The new facility is being dedicated to Princess Campbell MBE who was Bristol's first black ward sister, and who worked and studied at Glenside. Princess Campbell campaigned tirelessly for disadvantaged communities and sought to represent and give a voice to vulnerable people.

Ron Ritchie: his thoughts on leaving UWE

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Contributed by Ron Ritchie, Senior Diversity Champion

A retirement event for UWE's senior diversity champion, Prof Ron Ritchie, was held on 26 August in the Community Hub.
Ron was invited to reflect on his 40 year career in education in the greater Bristol area as a secondary school teacher, primary teacher and leader, local authority advisory teacher and HE teacher and leader.
He explained that he had very mixed feeling about leaving UWE having tried so hard to get here - first in the late 80s - before, several applications later,  he finally arrived here in 2001. He said that he had wanted to work here for a simple reason - it seemed like an institution that shared many of the values he held as important. It turned out to be a move that never disappointed him - he said he had always been immensely proud of the difference UWE makes to its students, its staff, local communities and the  local economy, culture and society. It had, he stated, been a genuine privilege to work here with many highly talented and committed individuals.
He emphasised the importance to him of values - what we hold as important as human beings - and noted that there's a big difference between espousing values and living them out. He said he had always tried to do the latter, not always successfully!
He explained his commitment to social justice and moral purpose was a result of experiencing the transforming power of education on his own life, being the first in his family to go to university. He had left school and started an apprenticeship in the aircraft industry which led to him studying aeronautics and astronautics at Southampton University. Whilst there he found life in student politics and the SU more stimulating and rewarding than his academic work. He spent a lot of time on campaigns such as those related to improving the opportunities for local youth and challenging negative attitudes towards mental health.
At this point, Ron reflected on choices we all have to become a 'prisoner, passenger or participant' in society - he had determined to become a participant and an activist!
He decided to complete his degree and train as a teacher. His experiences on a PGCE at Sussex University, especially in disadvantaged areas like the Moulscombe Estate, reinforced his commitment to fighting injustice and promoting equality. As a young teacher in a challenging Bristol comprehensive, his love of teaching developed and his activism led to him becoming the school's NUT rep.
He explained that his growing understanding and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion was strengthened through living in Bristol and valuing the diversity of its population whilst feeling aggrieved about the inequality he saw. He also referred to his personal experience as a father and how this had informed his understanding of equality issues and increased his commitment to improve things, this included having a daughter who suffered from a serious mental health condition and another who is gay and now a university teacher.
Returning to other values that are important to him, Ron shared his belief in the importance of lifelong and life wide learning - saying he was always happy, even as a professor, to call himself first a foremost a learner. Indeed, he noted, his role as UWE's diversity champion had been a rich learning journey. He said how pleased he was to be supporting Bristol's ambition to be a Learning City as a consultant post his UWE retirement.
Ron stressed how much he had enjoyed teaching and believed that you should always strive for improvement given your responsibilities to learners, young or old. He reminded us that 'you don't have to be ill to get better'!
He talked about how he had always valued research and scholarship - his own PhD had been through action research; evidence-based and research-informed practice. He had written a number of education books, all including case studies of practice in real settings. Through his teaching and as a teacher educator, he had developed his understanding of the importance to professionals of reflection and reflexivity - being self critical and honest with yourself and recognising how who you are changes what happens around you and how others behave.
Later in his career, he had come to appreciate that successful leadership has to be authentic, distributed and person-centred. He stressed that to him 'leadership' was a more important concept than 'leaders' - he believes everyone in an organisation has the potential and should be given opportunities to contribute to leadership capacity.
Ron emphasised his belief in the benefits of collaboration and partnership based on various experiences in his career, for example in an advisory teacher team, in the Education Department (as part of the then S Block 'family' of academic and professional support staff) and more recently in the context of the Cabot Learning Federation.
He returned to leadership and organisations and said we should, perhaps, recognise more often the importance of people over processes. He said his aim had always been to empower others through reward and positive feedback. In that context, he thanked colleagues who had written in support of his National Diversity Champion nomination last year and said how moving and motivating he had found that public feedback.
Ron talked about the importance of significant others in our lives, both professional and personal and thanked those in the room and those unable to be here who had made unique and highly valued contributions to his time at UWE.
He concluded by reflecting on UWE's recent E&D successes and ongoing issues that remain work in progress …
The successes he celebrated included:
• Our ongoing commitments to activities related to widening participation and partnerships with schools in disadvantaged areas;
• The central and secure place of EDI in the UWE strategy, the successful Single Equality Scheme and senior staff commitment;
• The range and impact of staff and student networks;
• Stonewall Workplace index success;
• Athena SWAN success;
• The developing Disability Service for staff;
• Two Ticks accreditation;
• Time to Change commitment;
• Race Equality Charter Mark application;
• The outstanding contribution of HR and the E&D Unit.
Ongoing challenges for UWE that Ron recognised included:
• Further improving the diversity of staff;
• Maintaining inclusivity as a strategic goal, which includes promoting its benefits;
• Continue to probe the 'lived experience of staff' to ensure it is positive for all;
• Celebrate successes and promote role models;
• Find smart ways of measuring the impact of EDI work against the UWE Strategic Plan;
• Continue to build leadership capacity for the agenda;
• Foster more joint working (for example with unions and networks) and partnership with other organisations;
• Join things up to ensure efficacy, efficiency and maximising benefits;
• Develop efficient and constructive approaches to equality analysis;
• Ensure EDI doesn't suffer in the context of further inevitable change and uncertainty in the HE sector.
Ron finished by thanking colleagues for the support and friendship he had been given. He wished all well in continuing to make UWE the special place that it is and furthering the cause of equality, diversity and inclusivity.

A day in the life of.... the Equality and Diversity Forum

Posted by Valerie Russell Emmott | 0 Comments

A well-attended Equality and Diversity Forum (‘EDF’) took place yesterday. As UWE’s diversity champion, I chaired this in the absence of Vice Chancellor Steve West, who is the usual chair.

For those who might not be familiar with it, the Forum comprises student representatives, staff members from the diverse staff networks, trade unions’ equality representatives and key managers. We meet quarterly to discuss E&D related matters that are relevant to all these stakeholder and their constituencies.

Yesterday, the Forum was updated on lots of valuable markers of our collective progress towards the University’s inclusivity goal. These included:

• UWE’s success with Stonewall on LGB equality, where we ranked 11th this year in the Top 100 Employers’ Workplace Index and top university;
• A positive visit and assessment regarding our attempt to gain Two Ticks (positive about disabled people) accreditation;
• Progress in our pursuit in 2016 of the Race Equality Charter Mark; and
• The identification of a number of senior colleagues as diversity champions supporting specific protected characteristics (more news on this in a later blog).

Staff and student reps shared issues that they were facing, including ongoing issues for staff of time to commit to staff networks, support for these networks from the E&D unit, given its current work plan, and issues linked to the promotion of the compulsory ‘E&D Essentials’ online learning module.

Scarlett Oliver, UWESU’s VP for Comms and Welfare, updated the meeting on SU developments, especially the important anti-abuse campaign.

The meeting had a fascinating and informative input from a team from FBL working on the new building and related E&D issues. There was then a small group discussion led by Scarlett and  Nicky Bolt and Sue McKay, from the Student Disability Service, about changes to the disabled student allowance and hardship funds.

We then heard from Shona Flanagan, a hearing-impaired third year fine art student based at Bower Ashton, who shared her personal experiences as a UWE student. This was powerful testimony and helped us all understand the challenges faced by Shona and others like her. Shona is the president of the National Deaf Students’ Association and is a great role model and champion for others.

Finally the Forum heard about upcoming E&D events at UWE and the local area. To find details, go to the UWE website, then to ‘News and Events’ > ‘What’s On’ and follow the link to ‘Events by Category’  and then select ‘Equality and Diversity’.

I would like to thank all who attended EDF for their ongoing commitment to the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda.

Professor Ron Ritchie
Pro Vice-Chancellor
Partnerships, Diversity and Civic Engagement


Holocaust Memorial Day

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The following piece is a personal reflection written by Madge Dresser Associate Professor in Social & Cultural British History at UWE Bristol:

Holocaust Fatigue?

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. It was originally established to commemorate the Nazi genocide where 2/3rds of all Jews in Europe were exterminated along with many Poles, Romani, homosexuals, disabled people and political dissidents in the name of racial purity. But today Holocaust Memorial Day also serves to honour the memory of those millions affected by the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

The lessons we choose to learn from this day vary according to our contemporary concerns. For me the lessons are two-fold. The first is that all forms of racial, religious and ethnic discrimination can all too easily slide into genocidal violence. Today’s racial bullying can set the scene for tomorrow’s persecution as the travelling exhibition “Anne Frank and me” vividly demonstrates to today’s generation of school children.

The second is that our willingness to remember unpalatable truths is influenced by, and sometimes distorted to serve, contemporary political ends. As the last survivors of the Nazi Holocaust die off, the event itself fades into a more emotionally distanced historical memory and is affected by the present day conflict between Israel and Palestine.  Holocaust denial is rife in the international blogosphere and linked to the escalating violence the Middle East. Outrage over the recent killing by the Israeli Defence Force of civilians in Gaza has led to the widespread equation in the social media  of their deaths with the Nazi genocide. A recent poll this year found that one in eight Britons surveyed believe that Jewish people unduly use the Holocaust as a means of gaining sympathy.

Today is also the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Not everyone can visit the vast site at Birkenau as I recently did. It was only when I went there that I began to get any real sense of the sheer scale of the atrocity which had taken place there. Remembering is a complicated business. These anniversaries remind us that we need to preserve the factual integrity of the past in order to do justice to all victims of genocidal violence, past and present.

Equality and Diversity News from FET

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The Faculty of Environment and Technology has dedicated some resource to Equality and Diversity and Juliet Jain has taken on this role to support the Faculty make further developments in this area.

A number of positive steps have been made in 2014:

FET managers have actively encouraged staff to engage with the Equality and Diversity Training, which has now been completed by over 70% of all staff.

Department of Geography and Environmental Management staff have been engaging with a number of diversity issues related to learning teaching.  Chris Spencer facilitated a faculty wide ‘SALT’ seminar at the end of the year around the needs and experience of International Students.

Eight female students were sponsored by the department of Engineering, Design and Mathematics to attend the ‘Women’s Engineering Society’ (WES) student conference.

In November 2014 the Department of Engineering, Design and Mathematics submitted a second application for a Bronze Athena SWAN award, and now await the outcome.  The Department of Geography and Environmental Management wishes to support an application under the new Gender Equality Mark, and will be looking at how to take this forward in 2015. 

FET staff also connect with Equality and Diversity issues through their research, innovation and public engagement.  For instance, working with an ethnically diverse primary school in Bristol with design work, supporting Bristol Women’s Commission with research about women and transport, and involved with a community project (Shape My City) that empowers girls and young people from BME backgrounds in shaping the future of their city.

Martin Luther King Day

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The following piece was written by Madge Dresser Associate Professor in Social & Cultural British History at UWE Bristol, to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr. was a pioneering Human Rights Campaigner and one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century. His commitment to non-violence , his internationalism and his declaration that the ‘giant triplets’ of  racism, poverty and militarism undermined  social justice at home and abroad made him both visionary and controversial. Assassinated by white supremacists in 1968 in Memphis Tennessee he was viewed as a subversive by the FBI and as insufficiently militant by some sections of the Black Power movement. Though the holiday was first officially established by President Regan in 1983, it wasn’t until 2000 that it was celebrated by all 50 states.

His career as a Baptist preacher in Southern America was grounded in the notion of the Christian social gospel –‘You don’t have to go to Karl Marx to be a revolutionary I got it from a man named Jesus.”. He was influenced too by the methods of Mahatma Ghandhi whose non violent but disruptive campaigns of civil resistance hastened the end of British rule in India.

As the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference he led a number of direction confrontations in the early 1960s against racial segregation in the American South and by 1964 had widened his brief to a war on poverty which included poor whites. His receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 reinforced his growing internationalism but as the racial crisis deepened in the urban ghettoes of the northern USA, his non-violent methods to oppose police brutality and economic deprivation in Chicago proved less effective and despite the millions who rallied to his Poor People’s Campaign, he came under increasing attack by a younger generation of Black Power militants frustrated by the lack of social justice and the war in Vietnam.
tags: Race

Updates from Equality Challenge Unit - December 2014

Posted by Yukiko Hosomi | 0 Comments

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) works to support equality and diversity in Higher Education. They produce guidance and resources to promote understanding and best practice.

1. Sign up for the ECU monthly newsletter

You can find out more about the ECU by subscribing to their newsletter: scroll to the bottom of their website and enter your email address.

2. Become a Charter Mark panellist

The ECU is looking for people to help assess applications to both Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter Mark. This is an interesting opportunity to further develop your understanding of equalities issues while providing constructive feedback to other Institutions. Panellists will need to read 4-6 applications in advance and attend a panel in London for one day. The ECU pay travel expenses and provide lunch. Online training is provided for panellists. Please visit the ECU website to sign up.

3. Athena SWAN expansion

Athena SWAN is expanding to accept applications from arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments from November 2015. The expanded Charter will also use a broader definition of gender, examining support for transgender staff and investigating any areas where there are systemic barriers to male progression.