A revolutionary, student-led research project at Kent Law School has empowered Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students to begin ‘decolonising’ their curriculum; it has also inspired a chain reaction of events across the University.
Earlier this year, student members of the Decolonising the Curriculum Project (DtCP) led café-style focus groups with their peers to research and write a Manifesto for enhancing inclusivity, identity and academic performance at Kent. Underpinned by values of social justice and collaboration, their aim was to critically explore perceptions of the BAME attainment gap, to identify barriers to learning and to explore the broader student experience both in and beyond the classroom.
DtCP students launched their Manifesto in March to a packed-out audience of Kent students, academics, professional services staff and senior leaders (including Professor April McMahon, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education).
Feedback from the launch helped inform a strategy document that was later prepared for the University’s Executive Group, outlining how key points from the Manifesto could be implemented at Kent.
An increasing number of Kent initiatives have sprung (and continue to spring) from the project including: a dedicated DtCP website; a Kaleidoscope Network for staff and students who support the principles of race equality; a BAME Network for Staff of Colour; new training in cultural competency as part of Kent’s PGCHE; and a podcast series, created by students, called Stripping the White Walls.
The project was initiated by Kent Law School Senior Lecturer Dr Suhraiya Jivraj and is supported by Dave Thomas, Student Success Project Manager from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Sheree Palmer, Student Success Project Officer from the Law School. DtCP students were recognised for their work in making an ‘outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusivity’ at the 2019 Kent Student Awards.