Kent wins in Talis Awards 2019 for ‘Diversifying the Library Collection with Reading Lists’ project

The 2019 Talis Aspire User Group Award for Creativity has been awarded to a group including Student Success Project Lecturer Dr Laura Bailey (also a Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Linguistics) and two first year undergraduate student researchers: BA Philosophy and Religious Studies student Wayne Laviniere, and BA Religious Studies student Miriam Jeyasingh.

This award connects to a recent collaborative project between the School of European Culture and Languages and Academic Liaison Librarians working in the University’s Templeman Library. The aim of the project was to make the case that as reading lists are the mechanism for developing library collections that support teaching and learning, they are therefore an ideal starting point for diversifying the curriculum.

Laura Bailey said: “We’re reviewing the diversity of reading lists as part of our goal to diversify and decolonise the curriculum in connection with the brilliant work done by Kent students as part of the Decolonise UKC project. Reading lists are a starting point for us to see where we can begin to make some changes, be more inclusive, and ultimately provide a better academic experience for everyone. I’d love to see more and more staff and students getting involved, evaluating their own modules, and suggesting items to add to lists or topics to cover. This is a really collaborative project, and one that we are sure will spark discussion and long-term change.”

The project produced a ‘diversity dashboard’ for reading lists that provides a point for academics to reflect on their resource choices and kick-start the discussion with students.

Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, said: “This is a measure of all the fantastic work that [the group] have been doing in Library Collections and in the Student Success Project in partnership with students and the wider University. We are absolutely delighted that they all have been awarded the 2019 award for their work to diversify library collections and support the development of a more inclusive learning experience. It is great for this innovative, first-class and highly collaborative project to receive national recognition in this way – it is very richly deserved.”