Online launch and panel discussion for DecoloniseUoK collective’s book

A book by DecoloniseUoK, a collective of Kent students and academics campaigning for cultural democracy, will be launched online on Thursday.

Decolonising the University: A Kaleidoscope for Empowered Action (Counterpress, 2020) is a book featuring diverse voices and perspectives with a common theme of decolonisation of the university.

In it, students of colour (many of whom are law school students) tell the story of how race – and the varying intersections of gender, LBTQIA+, faith and identity, culture, age, and disability – shape their experiences of higher education in the UK.

The online launch event for the book, from 14.00, includes a panel discussion on ‘Being a Black Student: Reasonings and Teachings’.

Among the panel will be some of the books co-authors, many of whom are Kent Law School students and alumni, together with members of Kent’s Afro-Diasporic Legal Network (see ADLN’s Statement of Solidarity & Demands). The discussion will be chaired by Professor Emeritus Heidi Safia Mirza (who has also written the book’s Afterword) and will be followed by an Instagram Live with @adln_kent.

Register now and the online link will be emailed to you in advance.

The Decolonise UoK collective at Kent undertook their research for the book by speaking with students of colour about their experiences during 2018/19. They launched their Manifesto of recommendations in March 2019 and  shared ‘Stories of (Un)Belonging‘ with four other university student groups at an event featuring rapper, activist and educator Lowkey in March 2020.

The book is edited by Kent Law School Reader Dr Suhraiya Jivraj and Dave Thomas, Student Success Project Manager for Kent’s School of Sports and Exercise Sciences. In their introduction to the book, they express the hope that the book will inspire students to enact change “no matter how small or large as part of their empowerment including hold their institutions to account to eliminate inequality and injustice in all formats.”

In the book’s Preface, Professor Toni Williams (Director of the Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice at Kent) acknowledges that much remains to be done to fix racialised inequalities in HE. She says the book “offers an exciting and timely intervention that can help to close the gap between universities’ aspirations to inclusivity and their attainment of full equalities for all BME students and staff.”

Other contributors to the book include leading academics in the field of race and education in the UK such as Dr Barbara Adewumi, Dr Jason Arday, Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Professor Lez Henry. Creative contributions are included from inspirational poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, and Lowkey.

Decolonising the University: A Kaleidoscope for Empowered Action will be available to download on a pay-what-you-can basis from Thursday 1 October from Counterpress.

(click on poster to enlarge)