Diversifying the Ivory Tower Part 2: Beyond Breaking the Glass Ceiling
On Tuesday 13th November from 5pm - 8pm, the Student Success Project held the event ‘Diversifying the Ivory Tower Part 2: Beyond Breaking the Glass Ceiling’ as part of the official launch of the third Liberated Library campaign. The event started with a keynote speech from the Dr Jason Arday, a presentation on racism in higher education; a roundtable discussion featuring notable guest speakers and we closed with spoken word performances from Brunel students.
Dr Jason Arday, Senior Lecturer in Education at Roehampton University, School of Education opened the event with a keynote speech on The Persistence of Racism in Higher Education: Understanding the BME Attainment Gap. He also discussed the efforts Brunel University London is making to tackle the BME attainment gap and the work of Student Success Project.
Coming up next was a panel discussion chaired by Brunel University Professor - Bernardine Evaristo, an award-winning author. The panel included Dr Alicia Spencer-Hall, the vanguard of research into the historical study of chronic health conditions; Roianne Nedd a Diversity and Inclusion expert, author, speaker and life coach; Leticia 'Layla' Rodrigues talented author, poet and the founder of Women2Women Market and Suma Din, a freelance researcher and educator. Our final two panellists were Brunel students, Iris, a BA Creative Writing graduate who is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing and our keynote speaker, Jason Arday.
The discussion included a range of engaging topics, which the audience found beneficial. The panel shared their personal experiences navigating through higher education, academia and the workplace as people of colour, women or with disabilities (visible or not). Students in attendance asked for advice in surviving through these spaces, what they wish they would have known and situations they would have handled differently. The panel briefly touched onto each of the books they have recently written.
Finally, we closed with spoken word performances by panellists Layla Rodrigues Iris Mauricio and Brunel students Tejiri Okagbare, Sola Janet Browne and Cecil “Nativ” De Sousa. Their respective spoken word performances covered identity, race, culture and upbringing.
The Liberated Library campaign continues to drive the Student Success Project’s goal of increasing student engagement through an inclusive and diverse curriculum. The event concluded with networking amongst the students, staff and members of the public in attendance. This event covered two of our four key areas - awareness and support and a sense of belonging. We also increased awareness of the attainment gap and the cultural backgrounds of our students in order to understand our student body. The campaign itself builds on existing structures to increase meaningful interactions between staff and students, increasing their sense of ‘belonging’.