Category Archives: challenging racism

Reclaiming our Past: LGBT+ History Month blogs

A series of blog posts championing influential films, music, authors and historical figures has been launched to mark LGBT+ History Month.

The blog posts published so far on our EDI pages feature:

  • the inspirational author and activist Audre Lorde, written by Dr Stella Bolaki, Reader in the School of English
  • James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, described as a ‘stunning and startling piece of literature’ by Dr Declan Kavanagh, Senior Lecturer in the School of English

LGBT+ History Month, originally the idea of an American teacher in 1994, has been celebrated in Britain since 2005. Sue Sanders, who has spoken at the University, was one of the co-founders. It is held every February, marking the first attempt (in February 2000) to repeal Section 28, a highly discriminatory piece of legislation which made it an offence to ‘promote’ homosexuality.

The History Month serves as an important opportunity to celebrate LGBT+ histories and cultures, raising awareness by recovering the stories of those who are often erased (or ‘straight-washed’) from popular memory and making visible the achievements and obstacles overcome. Its remit is about ‘Claiming our past. Celebrating our present. Creating our future’.

Staff Network events

A series of events run by our LGBT+ Staff Network include LGBT in Lockdown – Wednesday 17 February from 18.00 and This Is Not My First Pandemic – Thursday 25 February from 18.00.

Our commitment to the Race Equality Charter

Kent is committed to the Race Equality Charter (REC), which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The charter provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. REC is underpinned by five fundamental guiding principles:

  1. Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
  2. UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
  3. In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
  4. Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
  5. All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.

We are committing to following these principles in how they approach race equality and address their institutional culture, including in areas such as:

  • professional and support staff
  • academic staff
  • student progression and attainment
  • diversity of the curriculum

This is the start of a long process and although it may take time to see change we are committed to advancing race equality and creating a change in culture alongside all colleagues and students. We are aware that pockets of excellence at Kent have been addressing these issues, but a wider, systemic look at the ‘business as usual’ structures that often reflects non-inclusive norms of academic and institutional culture is crucial to the creation of an environment where people at Kent from all backgrounds are able to thrive and where tackling racism and advancing race equality is the responsibility of all. Self assessment team A key part of this work is the self assessment team, which will meet for three hours, once every two months with smaller, action related meetings and preparation in the intervening periods. Some of the members of the self assessment team will be senior role holders within Kent, and the team will be chaired by Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the EDI lead on Executive Group as it is key that this work translates into action and structural change at Kent. We will also be inviting staff and student representatives from relevant network groups. In addition to this, we welcome expressions of interest from all staff and students – this may be to form part of the self assessment team or part of the wider sub teams as they are created. To express your interest in this work, please email with a brief paragraph on how you would like to be involved and any relevant experiences. We welcome expressions of interest from everyone, especially those who experience multiple structural disadvantages.

Challenging Racism Live Webinar series

The University has always been committed to working across all protected characteristics and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusivity for all. Recent global events have pushed issues related to race and ethnicity to the fore, prompting Kent to seek to better understand and tackle racism at the University.

The University is leading the way in the sector by launching its “Challenging Racism” campaign, which includes a blended programme of learning and development for staff. The programme will be delivered by Inclusive Employers over a period of six months. It aims to open channels of discussion and reflection around racism, as well as awareness and understanding of challenges associated with ethnicity and race.

Tuesday 2 February 2021 sees the first of three 90-minute Live Webinars on the topic of “The history of race in the UK”. The University will be partnering with Liverpool John Moores University and City, University of London, to deliver a series of live webinars, followed by an Inclusive Allyship programme for a cohort of 40 people across all 3 institutions.  Staff at Kent will also be invited to participate in two closed Inclusion Circles designed to enable BAME staff to share their experiences on the topics of ‘BAME wellbeing’ and ‘Taking action on race inequality and inclusion’.

Race & Racism  Webinar Series

Webinar 1: The History of Race in the UK – Tuesday 2 February 2021 at 10.00

 Join us for this webinar looking at the history of race in the UK, including the UKs role in enslavement, the British Empire, and the impact this legacy has had on the present day.  

We will be looking at:

  • A brief history of how and when Black people came to the UK, their experiences, and rights
  • The effect of Britain’s history on today’s inequality
  • Why it’s important to understand Black British history

The guest speaker at the first webinar is Chantelle Lunt, a final-year student at Liverpool John Moore’s University (LJMU) studying Criminology and Sociology. During lockdown Chantelle founded the Facebook group Merseyside BLM Alliance which was formed with the goal to address the issue of racism and to create a space where people can safely channel their passion for fighting racial injustices. You can find out more about the group from this LJMU news article. 

Chantelle Lunt

Chantelle Lunt

Here’s two other webinars to look out for:

Webinar 2: White Privilege – What is it and how does it affect society?  – 18 March 2021 at 12.00

Webinar 3: Let’s Talk About Race  –  19 April 2021 at 13.00

Look out for more info on upcoming events!

Please scan the QR code

or click this Eventbrite link to register.


Code First for girls

Launch of the Expect Respect module

Here at Kent, we want to make sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, we have taken a few proactive steps to ensure you are well informed and know about the support available. Next Monday we are launching the Expect Respect module.

The Expect Respect module is a compulsory module for all registered students at the University of Kent, regardless of what you are studying or whether you are an undergraduate and postgraduate student.

The module outlines the behaviours we expect of you whilst you are with us as well as what you can expect from both the University and Kent Union (your Student Union), and also digs deep into issues of racism, bias, sexual harassment and consent. It challenges you to think about your own behaviour, the way you interact with others and the impact this could be having on someone else’s experience.

The module will also make you aware of how to report any incidents to the University so that you, or the student affected can access the right support, and will also make you aware of the wide range of different support services available to you depending on your needs.

You can find the Expect Respect module on Moodle (code DP6636) – you should be automatically enrolled but if you have any issues please get in contact with Becky Lamyman on 

Kent Logo

University welcomes BME society statement and demands

Eight of our BME student societies have made a joint submission to the University of their Statement of Solidarity & Call to Action to the University of Kent on institutional racism and the University’s need to take action.

Following on from our joint statement on racism with Kent Union, the University welcomes this submission and is committed to working through the issues raised. We have had conversations with groups of students over the last few weeks and will be continuing these. We are also inviting representatives of the societies named in the statement to meet with senior colleagues and the submission will be part of a discussion on our response to institutional racism at the next meeting of our senior management team, the Executive Group.

Many of our staff and students are actively working to address institutional racism and, following recent online forums, we have already begun additional work on a number of issues raised by members of the University. However, we recognise we have much to do to address these issues through our actions, training, education and through appropriate policies and procedures and we are committed to progressing these in partnership with our students and staff.

BAME event

Online discussion of institutional racism – Tuesday 7 July

All staff are invited to an online discussion of ‘Understanding and Interrupting Institutional Racism: A Collaborative Dialogue to Communicate Strategies to Advance the Agenda at the University of Kent’, on Tuesday 7 July, from 16.00-17.15.

This collaborative dialogue will give staff an opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives on institutional racism with senior members of the University’s academic leadership team.

We want these discussions to disrupt structural factors that produce white privilege and systemic disadvantage, and to advance an agenda of racial equality. We invite all staff to reflect on their identities and social positions, taking an “intersectional” approach. This approach recognises that several aspects of (in)equality combine to shape experiences and perspectives. It therefore helps to explain why a Black woman, for example, may experience racism very differently than her Black brother, father or male partner.

The meeting is intended:

-To give participants an opportunity to share perspectives and experiences of institutional racism at work, including any recommendations for change, with the University’s senior academic leadership team.

-To give members of the University’s senior academic leadership team:

  • access to and information about staff experiences of institutional [or structural] racism at work
  • opportunities to answer [and to ask] questions about staff experiences of institutional [or structural] racism at work
  • a space in which to affirm commitments to addressing staff concerns about institutional [or structural] racism at the University.

The panel will include: Professor Karen Cox (Vice-Chancellor and President); Professor Christina Hughes (Interim Director of Student Services); Professor Richard Reece (Deputy Vice Chancellor – Education and Student Experience); Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura (Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance); Derek Baldwin (Branch Secretary, UNISON); and Sian Lewis-Anthony (President, University of Kent UCU Branch).

Discussion will focus on: the staff profile of the institution; decision-making boards and committees; equal pay; staff recruitment; progression and development; health and wellbeing support; sense of belonging; racial harassment; and racial discrimination.

We hope this event will be the first of many. There’s no need to sign-up – you can join live on Tuesday 7 July from 16.00 by clicking this link:

We look forward to seeing you (virtually) there!

Dave Thomas
Co-Chair University of Kent BAME Staff Network and Equalities Officer (UNISON)


Kent logo

Black Lives Matter – VC’s update

I didn’t want this week to go by without following up on last week’s joint statement on racism. I recognise we need to do more than simply make statements. The conversations and interactions I have had this week make it clear we are falling short and need to do more. We are identifying areas we must focus on and take further action.

Many staff and students are affected by these issues and working hard to raise awareness and address them and I am inspired and humbled by their work, experiences and commitment.

Combatting institutional racism is a serious challenge, but we must address it if we are to ensure that the University provides an environment in which everyone can thrive. I am committed to keeping this a high priority within the University.

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Afro-Diasporic Legal Network Black Discussion Series logo

Afro-Diasporic Legal Network Black Discussion Series

Law students Khaliq Martin and Siena Phillips and their team were successful with being awarded a Community Scholarship for a project aimed to empower and uplift BME students at the University of Kent – the Afro-Diasporic Legal Network (ADLN) Black Discussion Series.

What is the ADLN?

The ADLN is a collective of law students that encompass the intersection of being Black and from the African-Diaspora. It was created in recognition of a lack of Black legal supportive infrastructures at the University of Kent despite the fact that such systems exist in many institutions.

The network aims to provide opportunities for Black students in the academic/professional legal sphere, to conduct knowledge exchanges, and provide peer-to-peer support in hopes of decreasing the social attainment gap at the University recognized in the 2016 EDI Report.

The network was developed with 3 principles in mind: to support the political and legal education of Black law students, to provide academic, career, and wellness support, and to continue to push the bounds of inclusion for black students.

As an informal society the network is not registered with Kent Union.

What is the ADLN’s Black Discussion Series?

The Black Discussion Series is a pilot project that was developed by the ADLN after an internal assessment, conducted by its committee, highlighted that black students suffered from anxiety and stress as a result of institutional shortcomings. The Series seeks to mitigate these pressures which correlate with the social attainment gaps recognized by the EDI Report.

The discussions are designed for young black men, women, and non-gender binary individuals to deconstruct their university experience through a space created to resolve issues, establish peer-to-peer support, and incorporate academic dialogue from a political/legal lens.

The Series will take place this spring term 2020, for further information please email

collage of SECL Inspirational Speakers

SECL Inspirational Speaker events

You are warmly invited to attend our Inspirational Speaker events this term!  Here are all the details for the talks we have coming up:

Jade Bentil, a black feminist historian and researcher at Oxford University, will be presenting her talk: ‘Be a thief to the university: black feminist politics and navigating the Ivory Tower’
on Wednesday 29 January at 17.00 in SIBSON sr 6.

As a Black feminist historian who seeks to centre the lives of Black women within her work, the historical tension between theorising Black liberation whilst in the colonial university has been one that Jade has continually meditated on. Using her own experiences in academia and contextualising them within the politics of Black feminism, Jade will explore the irreconcilable nature of this tension and what it means to ‘be in but not of the university’

To book tickets for this event please visit this Eventbrite website 

Next up is Dr Kate Fox, the Yorkshire stand-up poet, author and comedian, will be talking about class and autism in: ‘Neurodiversions: or why I won’t be dressing up in a unicorn onesie to talk about autism, class, being a stand-up, fitting in & standing out!’
on Wednesday 5 February at 17.00 in Templeman Lecture Theatre.

Dr Kate Fox has worked extensively in radio as well as live performance and is currently touring with her show ‘Where there’s muck, there’s bras’ about northern women through history. She’s also a gentle activist and campaigner for the voices of Northerners, the working class, women and the neurodiverse.

To book please visit this Eventbrite website 

On Wednesday 11 March Professor Heidi Mirza will be returning to Kent and will be speaking as part of the Decolonise UKC Conference. Dr Mirza is Professor of Race, Faith and Culture at Goldsmiths College and co-author (with Dr Jason Arday) of the recently published ‘Dismantling race in HE’. Time and venue TBA. 

And finally, Dr Francesca Sobande from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, will present her talk: ‘Reframing the “Attainment Gap” and its implications: How institutions undermine the learning experiences of Black students’ on Monday 16 March at 17.00.

To book please visit this Eventbrite website 

Dr Sobande’s research explores how issues related to racism, sexism and intersecting structural inequalities manifest in media and the marketplace.

CHSE Seminar

CSHE Seminar – Concerns about racism in our teaching and seminar discussions

Colleagues are invited to the CSHE Seminar titled ‘Concerns about racism in our teaching and seminar discussions’ presented by Professor Miri Song, SSPSSR. The seminar takes places on Thursday 21 November 2019, 1pm-2pm in the UELT Seminar Room, Canterbury Campus

Given the plethora of claims made about racism across a wide variety of social spheres in contemporary Britian, how do we as teachers and researchers deal with what can sometimes feel like a minefield? How do we balance concerns about addressing forms of racism with the need to preserve healthy debate and the exchange of views in the university context?

To confirm your attendance please complete the online booking form.