Black History Month offers a space in which we can celebrate the contributions of minority ethnic people to Scotland and beyond. It also offers a space in which to recognise the historical racism of which Black people have been victims, and the racism still experienced today.
At Queen Margaret University, we are joining with others to celebrate Black History Month over the month of October, and taking time to reflect upon what it actually means by digging deeper, looking closer and thinking bigger, both at an individual and at a wider organisational level. Below are listed a number of events being offered during October, as well as details of how we are delivering on our underpinning commitment to advance race equality.
Social justice is at the core of our Values – it underpins our world view. We embrace equality, diversity, inclusion, respect, and supporting our communities. We are committed to providing an inclusive, open and supportive study and working environment that enables each of our students and staff to reach their full potential.
At an individual and collective level, we stand firmly against any form of racism and discrimination and are committed to identifying and challenging any form of racism across our institution. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/we-stand-united-against-racism
As part of our commitment to the above statement, we are offering a number of events throughout October, and progressing a number of institutional developments.
Events in October
Throughout October, there will be a number of events organised by a small team of colleagues in the School of ASSaM that engage with Black History Month through arts, personal experience, and teaching. There will be film screenings, book readings, lectures and roundtables that create a space for everyone at QMU to recognise the significance of this month and of the implications, and as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi expressed so eloquently in her famous TED Talk – the dangers of the single story. You can register for any of these screenings online. A special thank you to Caralyn Blaisdell, Geetha Marcus, Bianca Mastrominico, Stefanie Van de Peer and Emma Wood, the organisers of these events.
The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights in Scotland (CRER) is curating a wide-ranging Black History Month programme of talks, concerts, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions and more. As part of that programme, the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) have joined forces to deliver a series of free ‘Lunchtime Talks’ for researcher communities and beyond, celebrating the history, achievements and contributions of Black and minority ethnic people across and beyond Scotland. To book onto these talks, see the online programme from the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights.
Broader work at QMU to address race inequality
Beyond Black History Month, our work to address race inequality at an institutional level is being advanced by the establishment of the Race Equality Steering Group, under the convenership of Sir Paul Grice, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. The Group’s work will assist the University in current and future work to foster an anti-racist culture of understanding, support an anti-racist curriculum, invest in a diverse workforce, record and respond effectively to racist incidents, and monitor and review institutional race data. In advancing its work, the group will incorporate the lived experience of staff and students. If you are interested in contributing to the work of the Group, as a member or as a contributor, you are invited to contact the Principal’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
The work of the Race Equality Group will build on initiatives already in place. This includes the short online course ‘Union Black: Britain’s Black Cultures and steps to anti-racism’. The online course takes around six hours to complete and covers three topics: The Origins of the Black Story, Anti-Racist and Intersectionality, Understanding your Own Biases/Empowering you for Change. You can find out more on the Santander website (the course is fully funded by Santander Universities UK).
Our HR team is also working with Advance HE to develop Race Equality e-learning training for staff, along with working on a staff recruitment strategy focused on diversity.
Finally, we are launching ‘Report and Support’, the successor to our current online reporting tool for reporting sexual violence or harassment. In the context of our race equality work, ‘Report and Support’ will offer a route for those who wish to report incidences of bullying and harassment, discrimination, hate crime, violence and assault and online abuse. Further details will be published later this semester.
Sir Paul Grice
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
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