The Graduate and Researcher College have the privilege of funding exciting student-led projects through the Postgraduate Community Experience Awards. One such project was ‘Mixed Roots’ – an informal conversation with individuals coming from multiple and undefined cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
On the 22nd of March 2022, Master’s student Grace Ingram hosted this ‘fishbowl’ event in partnership with the Postgraduate Network, the BAME Network, and Student Success. Dr Barbara Adewumi acted as moderator, asking a panel of students a series of thought-provoking questions. The audience were invited to watch as the conversation unfolded, and the panel were encouraged to speak freely about their personal experiences.
Grace Ingram shared that through the planning process for Mixed Roots, she learned about leadership and community.
“Leadership is challenging but rewarding— This experience allowed me to challenge myself as a leader. I was tasked with recruiting a moderator and 5 other panelists, giving them instructions both verbal and written on what the event would be like. None of them familiar with a fishbowl style event, I was also responsible for not only the technical side of things, but nurturing and easing them into things, making sure they were comforted. At times, this was really fun as we got to have dinner together and I got to create a safe space for them to share their stories. At other times, as panelists failed to answer my emails and text messages regarding payment forms and bios, it was less fun, and I found myself having to get strict. The ways in which I saw myself grow as a leader extended beyond just recruiting and taking care of the moderator and panelist team. Recruiting a graphic designer and explaining my vision to them, reaching out to catering, booking a room, reaching out to departments to advertise our event, and working alongside the wonderful Abigail and Odell throughout this very long process are all other ways in which I saw my skills being strengthened. Through this experience, I have not only been given the opportunity to defend a budget, but I have worked alongside a team (a very diverse one as well!), networked, and had to meet personal and external deadlines, while coordinating with other individuals and department. For that, I am very thankful, and these are skills much more valuable than a couple hundred pounds.”
“Community— This experience allowed me to both form and immerse myself in a community. The recruiting of panelists was mostly done through word of mouth and close inner circles, but through those meets and greets even while I may have already had a connection to each person, the other panelists and moderators did not and seeing those bonds and friendships form over dinner and cups of tea was very rewarding. Tuesday night it really was just a conversation among friends! Even more, throughout the process of advertising the event and explaining the vision for the event, I found that the mixed roots community was growing beyond the 5 panelists and moderator that had been recruited. And we continue to see this community grow as people share their feedback in the survey, we created to receive honest, but respectful audience feedback. In these prep months, planning for this event, I got to hear the numerous stories of other individuals who have grappled with how to define their identity to the world. It has been so great seeing this unique community extend beyond this 2-hour event.”
Thank you to Grace for her hard work and dedication to such a fantastic event. You can also see this event programme here.
The whole Mixed Roots event is available to view on YouTube, and we encourage you to take the time to listen and learn from this extraordinary panel.
If you would like to apply for the Postgraduate Community Experience Awards, keep your eye on our blogsite for the next application deadline.
You can also hear more from Grace about ‘Mixed Roots’ in the latest GRC Insights publication.