Category Archives: EDI

National Day for Staff Networks

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

On Wednesday 12 May 2021 Staff networks in organisations across the UK are celebrating the National Day for Staff Networks.

Also known as Networks Day, it aims to encourage collaboration, support aligned activity and further inspire the voice of network members. Many staff networks provide employees from under-represented groups with valuable guidance and timely advice as they navigate their organisation’s culture and endeavour to offer their authentic best in the workplace. ​

The theme for 2021 is #Togetherness.  

Why not connect with one of our Staff networks?

The Networks provide an opportunity for new and existing staff to meet people outside their own department.

Meetings run termly and dates are advertised on the website Staff Equalities Networks – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The EDI Forum

The overall purpose of the EDI network is to represent the views of staff and students, and act as a channel of communication for equality, diversity and inclusivity topics. Membership includes the departmental EDI Representatives, Staff and Student networks, harassment contacts and student union.

EDI Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent and join in the conversation on the EDI forum Teams site

The LGBT+ Staff Network

The network aims to raise the profile and promote positive attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) staff and all colleagues in the Rainbow Community across the university. We support LGBT+ colleagues in the workplace, and aim to contribute to the development of relevant university policies and practices so that they are LGBT-inclusive, so that Kent is truly a welcoming space for colleagues of all sexualities and gender identities. It has a Microsoft Teams channel which you can join by using the code skd6691.

LGBT+ Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Disability Staff Network (DSN)

The Disability Staff Network’s ambition is to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for colleagues with disabilities at Kent. Its purpose is to support disabled staff and those staff working with disability or with an interest in disability. It provides a forum to share information and consider good practice, providing recommendations to enhance University policy and practice where appropriate.

The DSN has a Teams/SharePoint page. If you experience any issues with accessing this please email dsnchair@kent.ac.uk to request to be added.

Disability Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Women’s Network

The Women’s Network has been running since 2004 and has been a positive initiative over the last few years. At a time when the University is keen to promote the recruitment, retention and recognition of women in higher education, and Kent in particular, the women’s network has been a group that offered valuable support to members, and feedback to the University on priorities for action.

Women’s Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Harassment contacts

The harassment contacts comprise of individual members of staff who have volunteered to take on the role of the harassment contact. The University has appointed and trained some members of staff as harassment contacts to allow staff a point of contact should they feel they have been subjected to or witnessed any form of harassment.

Harassment Contacts – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The BAME Staff Network

The BAME Staff Network launched in October 2019 to support the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity and provide an active forum for BAME staff to discuss issues and share experiences important to them. The network bring a range of experience and knowledge related to both staff and students – critical to a nuanced contextual understanding of BAME experiences at the University. It creates a community for academic and professional staff who identify as being part of a Black Asian Minority ethnic group.  The aim is to help each other connect in ways that will create a sense of belonging through sharing our experiences and providing support that will drive progressive equitable change. Email: bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk

BAME Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Other networks – Contact Equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk for further information 

WREN – Women’s Researcher Network

Inclusion Allies and Mental Health Allies

Allyship is an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May 2021 – Nature

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

10 -16 May is Mental health awareness week with the theme of nature.

Why Nature?

During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health. Websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.

What you can do?

Stories are the best tools we have to influence change.

We want to hear your stories of how nature has supported your mental health. This might be as a simple as tending to a house plant, listening to the birds, touching the bark of trees, smelling flowers or writing a poem about our favourite nature spot.

Whatever it is for you, we invite you to #ConnectWithNature and share what this means for you on the Staff Wellbeing Yammer page

During Mental Health Awareness Week, we are asking you to do three things:

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
  • Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others. Join the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
  • Talk about nature: find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit the Mental Health Awareness website or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Every day during mental health awareness,  find information on how you can support your own and others mental health – via Staff communications articles, T&OD Channel and EDI Forum Channel

Within the Themes of:

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Keep Learning
  • Give

On Monday 10 May – why not show your support by:

  • Changing your team’s background to one of these images below:

  • Attend the Training session on Monday 10 May 10.00 – 13.00 – Mental health training for line managers – bookable via staff connect or become a mental health ally (details to follow next week)
University of Kent logo

Are Unis Racist Documentary : University of Kent Response

Last night’s BBC documentary Are Unis Racist highlighted powerful and deeply troubling examples of students experiencing systemic racism at universities across the countryWe fully acknowledge the justified hurt and anger behind the issues raised in the programme, and we recognise that we, both as an institution and a wider sector, are institutionally racist and need to do more to tackle this. 

We know we have a significant role to play in ensuring that we challenge and deconstruct systemic racism and all forms of discrimination at the University and beyond. We will continue to address these issues at Kent, and encourage all members of our community to learn more about them so we can ensure we are a place where all individuals feel welcome, supported and proud of who we are. The resources put together on this by our BAME Staff Network  are available to everyone to further their understanding of their role in challenging racist behaviour and structures.  

We fully support our students and staff to report incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination Students can do this via our Inform Kent reporting tool which will ensure that you gain access to support available after any incidentwith a separate formal process for staff.  

We also encourage anyone affected by the documentary to seek support from those around you, including contacting Student Support directly at any time via wellbeing@kent.ac.uk.  Staff are also encouraged to talk to their manager or a colleague, or to contact our Employee Assistance Programme.    

Find out more about Challenging Racism at Kent

 

Virtual roundtable on Medical Racism – 29 April

All staff are invited to join a virtual roundtable on Medical Racism: Protecting Ourselves, Our Families and Our Communities on Thursday 29 April, from 17.30-19.00.

Structural racism has increased mistrust and hesitancy to engage with the medical system among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Historical examples of unethical experimentation and medical mistreatment of Black people has heightened suspicion of endeavours to promote public health.

This virtual roundtable, organised by the universities of Kent and Oxford BAME/BME Staff Networks, will feature a panel of expert medical practitioners and scholars, including:

  • Dr Winston Morgan, Reader in toxicology and clinical biochemistry, Medicines Research Group, University of East London.
  • Dr Mohammed Sakel, Director NeuroRehabilitation, Consultant Physician, Director Research & Development, East Kent Hospital University
  • Dr Roberta Babb, Chartered Psychologist, Registered Clinical Psychologist, Registered Forensic Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, Media Psychologist, Life Coach and Organisational Consultant, The Hanover Center
  • Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, Patron of Sickle Cell UK
  • Dr Aadil El-Turabi, Vaccinologist specialising in Virus-Like Particles, Jenner Institute

To sign-up for the roundtable, click on this Eventbrite link. We look forward to seeing you there.

Bridget, Dave, Barbara and Vanisha, Co-Chairs of the BAME Staff Network

Challenging Racism – Live Webinar 19 April and Inclusion Circle 22 April

Continuing with our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign, staff are invited to join us at two key events – a Live Webinar on 19 April and an Inclusion Circle session on 22 April.

For our final Live Webinar on Monday 19 April at 13.00, we are delighted to welcome Dr Jason Arday on ‘Let’s talk about race’.  The 90-minute online webinar is facilitated by Inclusive Employers, with a guest speaker, panel discussion and Q&A session.

We will be looking at why talking about race is difficult and why silence is so damaging to all of us, including:

  • What we can all do to encourage and improve conversations around race
  • Language and saying the ‘wrong’ thing
  • Top tips for starting conversations about race

Dr Jason Arday is an Associate Professor in Sociology at Durham University and Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Science and Health. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an Adjunct Professor at Nelson Mandela University and a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading Race Equality think tank. He is a presenter, with Heidi Mirza, of a podcast on Dismantling Race in Higher Education. 

Book your place today via Eventbrite. You can listen to our two previous live webinars on the Challenging Racism Together webpages (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Inclusion Circle

Our next Inclusion Circle ‘Taking action on race inequality and inclusion’ will take place on Thursday 22 April at 10.00, and is open to staff from all ethnic backgrounds.

The aim of the Inclusion Circles is to create a safe environment to listen to staff concerns, shared lived experiences, discuss a variety of topics, and show solidarity. The 90-minute session is facilitated by Inclusive Employers consultants Aminata Pungi and Addison Barnett, and will include:

  • An open discussion on how to tackle racial inequality.
  • A facilitated conversation focusing on the problems and ideas for solutions.

Spaces are limited so please email ChallengingRacism@Kent.ac.uk if you would like to join.

About Challenging Racism

The aim of the ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign is to promote unity, not division and to help understand and develop more inclusive behaviours. To do that, we all need to increase our awareness and understanding of racism and how it can be tackled within Kent, to ensure all staff and students feel safe and empowered.

Please share this and encourage your contacts and teams to sign-up so that we can all work together and take the first steps to address racism at Kent and beyond.  If you have any questions, email challengingracism@kent.ac.uk

#EDI #challengingracismtogether #choosetochallenge

Marking Ramadan 2021

Ramadan begins on the evening of Monday 12 April and ends on the evening of Wednesday 12 May 2021. Muslims follow the lunar calendar, so the exact start and end dates depend on the sighting of the moon so these dates can vary slightly.

Ramadan is followed by the festival of Eid-ul- Fitr, a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan, which will take start on the evening of Wednesday 12 May and the evening of Thursday 13 May 2021.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Muslims believe it is the month during which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) over 1400 years ago. Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims and it is considered that the reward of good deeds during this month are multiplied several fold.

During Ramadan, from dawn until sunset, Muslims are obliged to abstain from all forms of food, drink (including water), smoking and sexual activity. Most Muslims will wake before dawn for a meal before the start of their fast (also known as Suhoor), and break their fast (also known as Iftar) with dates and water at sunset, and then a meal.

This year, fasts in the UK will last around 15-16 hours. The start and end times vary as the month progresses.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The overall purpose of the fast is to gain Taqwa (which means to gain piety or God consciousness). This is achieved through an increase in prayers, reading the Qur’an, self-reflection and self-discipline.

Find out more

For further information and guidance for managers and staff, take a look at the Inclusive employers Ramadan 2021 fact sheet.

Addressing Misogyny in Higher Education

In light of recent national news events, as a University we are re-enforcing our commitment to fostering a positive working environment where all staff and students are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration.

Misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls that manifests in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, belittling of women, disenfranchisement of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification. All of us have a responsibility to create an environment, which is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation.

A new series of Active Bystander training will help ensure that staff can play their part in preventing any inappropriate behaviour.

Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance, comments: ‘As part of our commitment to our staff and student community, I am pleased to support the Active Bystander initiative. We value our community, and therefore it is our responsibility to create and nurture an environment, which is safe, supportive, and free from all forms of bullying and harassment. This initiative is an important step forward.’

About the training

The Active Bystander training sessions will take place on 28 April, 19 May and 23 June, from 14.00-15.30.

Each virtual session will include:
• A video demonstrating bystander apathy
• Specific references for the HE Sector
• High-profile examples of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour
• Decision-making techniques to help people overcome fear and self-doubt when faced with a challenging situation
• Assertiveness techniques to give them the confidence and tools to speak out, whether they are dealing with the challenge directly or calling for help from others.

The session will include group discussion and interactivity and each delegate will receive a ‘Active Bystander’ toolkit booklet. 40 places are available at each session – book your place now via Staff Connect.

Find out more

Kent has a zero tolerance approach to any behaviour that violates an individual in person or online, and encourages the reporting of such instances. You can find out more on our EDI webpages.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion – Updates

EDI Forum 

A new EDI Forum Teams site has been created for all staff and students – join the teams site to start talking Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

What’s it’s Purpose

‘On-the-ground’ group to provide an avenue for staff and students to raise issues, concerns, share best practise and ideas for improving EDI at Kent.Actions can be passed to the most appropriate steering group, or inter-sectional issues reported to the EDI strategy group.Completed and in progress actions should be fed back from the relevant steering group to form an EDI forum report and the start of subsequent meetings.

What are the Ground Rules

Please comply with the University IT Regulations IT Regulations – Information Services – University of Kent

Behave respectfully

  • Don’t waste IT resources or interfere with others’ legitimate use.
  • Don’t behave towards others in a way that isn’t acceptable in the physical world

Active Bystander Staff Training 

Staff Training – 3 dates available

The training will provide the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviour including those that have become  normalised

A 90 minute virtual session which will include:

  • A video demonstrating bystander apathy
  • Specific references for the HE Sector
  • References to high profile examples of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour
  • Decision-making techniques to help people overcome fear and self doubt when faced with a challenging situation
  • Assertiveness techniques to give them the confidence and tools to speak out, whether they are dealing with the challenge directly or calling for help from others.

The session will include group discussion and interactivity and each delegate will receive an PDF  ‘Active Bystander’ toolkit booklet, which contains the main techniques covered in the session.

There are 40 places available on each session and they are bookable on Staff connect

All sessions will run from 14.00-15.30 on the 28 April , 19 May and the 23 June

Staff EDI Rep Induction

Staff – New to Role or need a refresher
8 April 13.30 – 15.00 
Please contact equalityanddiverisity@kent.ac.uk if you would like to attend 
#The induction will provide 
  • Overview of role
  • EDI Governance and teams at Kent
  • EDI Projects/Networks
  • Online resources
  • Good Practice and Communication Tips
  • EDI website

Inclusive Employers webinars

Free spaces for staff

As part of our membership with Inclusive Employers we are provided with 5 free spaces on each of the Webinars that they deliver – they will be allocated on a first come first served basis – if you are interested in attending any of the following webinars – email equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk

Monthly updates of upcoming webinars will be posted.

University Harassment Contacts – we need you!

Staff – University Harassment Contacts are trained staff members who can be contacted for advice and support. Staff or students can choose to contact any of the Harassment Contacts and may prefer to speak to someone from a different department or section about intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive conduct or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, for example.

The EDI team would like a more diverse group of Harassment Contacts. If you are interested in becoming a harassment contact for the University of Kent please email equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk where we can take you through what it involves.

The next introductory session will take place 30 March 14.00-16.00

White Privilege webinar

Challenging Racism: White Privilege live webinar – 18 March

Article from the Challenging Racism team

Continuing with our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign the next Live Webinar on Thursday 18 March at 12.30. We are delighted to welcome Dr Deborah Gabriel speaking on the topic of White Privilege.  The ‘Live webinar’ is a 90min online webinar facilitated by Inclusive Employers, with a guest speaker, panel discussion and Q&A session.

Dr Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel is the Founder and Director of Black British Academics, a global network of scholars focused on addressing racial inequality in higher education and society, established in 2013. Key areas of focus are transformation in teaching, learning and research, with an emphasis on equity and social justice. She created and leads the Ivory Tower Project on race and gender inequality in academia and developed the 3D Pedagogy Framework to decolonise, democratise and diversify the higher education curriculum.

Her current areas of focus are community empowerment and collaborative social justice. Her intellectual work is interdisciplinary and broadly focused on the dynamics of race, gender and culture in media, communication, and higher education. These areas of inquiry are approached from a critical race and Black feminist standpoint to analyse the relationships between race, power, privilege, and inequality. As a consultant, she specializes in strategic approaches to equity, diversity and inclusion centred on social justice and transformation in higher education and society.

Book Your Place Today: Eventbrite Registration Link. 

The aim of the ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign is to promote unity, not division and to help understand and develop more inclusive behaviours. To do that we all need to increase our awareness and understanding of racism and how it can be tackled within Kent, to ensure all staff and students feel safe and empowered.  

Please share this and encourage your contacts and teams to sign up so that we can all work together and take the first steps to address racism at Kent and beyond.

#EDI #challengingracismtogether #choosetochallenge 

If you have any questions, contact us via challengingracism@kent.ac.uk

Kent Africa Summit 2021: Redefining African Identity

Article by the Kent Africa Summit Team

We would like to warmly welcome you to Kent Africa Summit 2021!

This year, the theme of the summit is “Redefining the African Identity in the 21st Century” – as we seek to have conversations on what it means to be an African today, and use those conversations to build and inform the future of the African continent.

The Kent Africa Summit was borne from a need to create a platform to bring together individuals and generations from differing backgrounds to talk about how we as a community can reflect on our history, analyse current affairs, and discuss matters to push for change and development. It brings together participants from around the globe, and provides exceptional opportunities for individuals to network, engage in conversation, and to leave with a greater understanding of the multi-faceted identity of the African continent.

Year after year, the conference has been a highlight of student-run events on the University of Campus, featuring a full day of talks with a gala dinner afterwards. However, given COVID-19 and its disruption to our everyday lives, we have had to reimagine this year’s summit.

This year, we are welcoming you to the first virtual Kent Africa Summit, in which we will have various panel discussions taking place between 8 – 12 March 2021. A selection of speakers include Nyasha Mugavazi of Kugali Media, and Sena Voncujovi, an African Spirituality Activist.

The topics of discussion will include creative industries in Africa, African spirituality, mental health in black communities and more. Though we have adjusted some aspects of the summit, our core aims remain the same. The summit will still provide participants with the opportunity to hear from inspiring leaders, teachers, and creatives with a passion for African stories.

We welcome you to take this summit, and we hope it will be an enjoyable and insightful experience for all.

Tickets to sign up to the event can be found on the Eventbrite website 

And follow us on our Instagram and Twitter accounts too, where we’ll be sharing updates on the speakers invited for the conference.