Kent students launched a #DecoloniseUKC Manifesto on 20 March as part of a day-long conference at the University’s Canterbury campus.
The manifesto was created using data collected through focus groups led by the students with other students aimed at discussing their experiences as black, Asian and ethnic minority students at the University.
The manifesto voices their concerns and shows what they want to see changed at Kent in terms of the curriculum as well as the institution itself. The project has been facilitated and led by Dr Suhraiya Jivraj, of Kent Law School as part of her module Race, Religion and Law.
She said: ‘The project, funded by two Teaching Enhancement Small Support Awards (TESSA) and supported by the Executive Group’s Race Equality Champion, has been crucial in empowering students of colour. Through the project, they have skilled-up into capable researchers and change-actors, co-producing important knowledge that amplifies student voices on difficult issues like mental health and racism on campus as well as improving attainment for all.’
The conference, entitled Decolonising the Curriculum, was also student-led and featured a number of high profile speakers, including a keynote from Dr Karen Salt of the University of Nottingham who has researched ‘how black nation-states have fought for their continued existence within a highly racialised world’.
Other leading academics included Dr Deborah Gabriel, of Bournemouth University, author of Layers of Blackness (2007), and founder of Black Academics, Dr Jason Arday, Co-editor of Dismantling Race in Higher Education (2018) and Remi Joseph Salisbury and Azeezat Johnson, co-editors of The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence (2018).
Welcoming the conference and the launch of the #DecoloniseUKC Manifesto, Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, said: ‘This excellent event demonstrates that the University is committed to providing an inclusive and diverse environment for all its students and staff. We know we have more to do to deliver this – we welcome our students’ views and contributions, and look forward to discussing next steps.’
For more details of the manifesto and conference see.