I am delighted to present our Antiracism Strategy.
The strategy development was led by a reference group that included Kent Union, academic, professional services (both in divisions and directorates) and Commercial Services colleagues, and was facilitated by Nous, an external consultancy, which has provided a team of experts and a critical external eye. The draft strategy has been consulted on, both through specific groups such as our Joint Staff Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JSNCC) and more widely through blogs and the Staff Conference in September. Most recently, the strategy was approved by Senate at its November meeting.
The strategy has an active emphasis on antiracism over racial equality. It has explicit orientation towards continuous action and learning for staff and students – recognising that this is not something we can achieve and finish; rather, it is a continually evolving position in a continually evolving national and international picture with a focus on ongoing change. The strategy also places an emphasis on accountability for change, particularly with the University leadership team and it will enable us to prioritise the actions needed, to focus on the continual change needed, and to challenge accepted thinking and ways of working in all areas of our work.
Throughout preparation and consultation, there have been challenging discussions around the strategy, especially around decolonise as a descriptor and how we represent intersectionality. These discussions are extremely helpful in forming the actions coming from the strategy, as we will use these debates to inform how we address the critical issues – acknowledging that on such a crucial issue, phrasing, language, and approach will continually change. The strategy is not static and will evolve as our journey continues.
The journey ahead
We recognise that this is the next step on a long journey – that now the strategy is approved, I will be working with the key action owners identified in the strategy to take forward this work. Becoming an antiracist organisation requires change from all members of our community and I encourage all colleagues to engage with the staff training on Moodle and to access the excellent resources, including our Challenging Racism pages, BAME Staff Network collated resources, and Diversity Mark, and to consider how this impacts the area in which you work and how you can make (more of) a difference every day.
We are also looking to appoint an Academic Lead for REC (the Race Equality Charter) who can provide strategic direction to the underpinning programme of work that will be required to develop a meaningful and effective Charter application, as well as REC self-assessment team members. To express your interest in either of these roles, please email Jo Lawton, Head of EDI, for details.
Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura | Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance