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Anti-Racist Curriculum Project

A new collaborative research project funded by SFC and in collaboration with QAA Scotland that aims to understand and support the development of an anti-racist curriculum for universities and colleges in Scotland.
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The Anti-Racist Curriculum Project presents an exciting opportunity to further capitalise on the current sector wide commitment to tackle racism in the Scottish HE and FE sector. This will build on the excellent work of the SFC funded ‘Tackling Racism on Campus project and involve a strategic collaboration between Advance HE and the next Enhancement Themes programme of activity (managed on behalf of the sector by QAA Scotland).

Embedding consideration of race equality in university and college curricula is a core part of a ‘whole institution’ approach to race equality and addressing the BAME degree awarding gap. It is a significant component of the Race Statement that the Race Project Steering Group is co-developing with the Scottish sector, underpinning the Race Declaration the sector has collectively signed up to.

This is the first time we have attempted such a task across Scotland and its tertiary institutions. The ARC team have been galvanised by the positivity and interest expressed by colleagues around our remit, and energised by the commitment to, and opportunity for, supporting collective change that this project affords. We recognise that there are existing pockets of good ARC practice across Scotland, as well as colleagues who are keen but unsure where or how to begin. We appreciate that this work can be challenging and feel uncomfortable at times. We want to support all colleagues and students whether ‘new to’ or ‘further along’ in their ARC journey, and provide Scottish FE and HE focused guidance on how to embed race equality in curricula to ensure Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students are valued, supported and enabled to succeed in Scottish institutions.

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What we mean by Anti-Racist Curriculum

In the Anti-Racist Curriculum (ARC) spirit of encouraging and embracing a plurality of voices and narratives and a broadening of our curricula horizons many words, terms, and lived experiences will naturally emerge. We have produced a piece to help navigate the terms of our project leaving the rest open for interpretation to ignite dialogue and in respect of the myriad of perspectives within your own learning communities. The piece includes the soundbite below plus further explanation which can be found via the link below

See the full piece
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Project Executive Group

Khadija Mohammed
Senior Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland (Chair)

Khadija Mohammed Picture FrameKhadija is a Senior Lecturer and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the School of Education and Social Sciences. Her PhD centres on race equality by exploring the lived experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic teachers in Scotland with a focus on celebrating their cultural, linguistic and religious identities. Khadija is the co-founder and Chair of SAMEE. This is a community-led organisation providing support to educators and those in support and guidance roles across the Scottish Education system – nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. Khadija received the Scottish Trade Union Congress Equality Award in 2019. Khadija is the first BAME Muslim educator to be elected as the Vice-Convenor of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).



Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal Education, The University of Aberdeen (Vice-Chair)

Ruth Taylor Picture FrameProfessor Ruth Taylor took up the role of Vice-Principal Education at The University of Aberdeen in November 2019. She is responsible for leading the effective delivery of the University’s strategic objectives for Education. Areas of responsibility include: quality and innovation in learning, teaching and assessment; student experience and engagement, including student support; student success; employability and entrepreneurship; quality assurance and enhancement across the provision. Ruth is also responsible for leading the University’s work on race equality and the Race Equality Charter.

Ruth’s research interests include student retention, the first-year student experience, social capital in the context of the student experience, compassion in healthcare practice, and student leadership in healthcare practice.


Professor Clare Peddie
Vice Principal Education (Proctor), University of St Andrews (Vice-Chair)

Clare Peddie Picture FrameProfessor Clare Peddie is a graduate of the University of St Andrews. Her career has been focussed on education in biology and she was the first education-focussed Professor appointed at her university. Her undergraduate degree and PhD were both in Marine Biology; her research career moved into medical research before she returned to take an education-focused position at St Andrews. She has held roles as Director of Teaching for the School of Biology, ProDean for Undergraduates, ProDean for Taught Postgraduates and Head of School. She was promoted to Professor and was appointed to the role of Vice-Principal Education (Proctor) at the University of St Andrews in May 2019. External to her University, she has a depth of experience as an external examiner, an institutional reviewer for the QAA in Scotland and often conducts subject-based and degree-accreditation reviews of other institutions. She is the sector lead of the current Enhancement Theme: Resilient Learning Communities. When the pandemic allows she still teaches marine biology in the field at undergraduate and masters level and has interests in the role of experiential learning in effective teaching.


Alison Eales
Quality Enhancement Specialist, QAA Scotland (QAAS Representation)

Alison Eales Picture FrameAlison is a Quality Enhancement Specialist at QAA Scotland, where she supports the Enhancement Themes and related projects. Much of her recent work has been on accessibility and inclusion relating to online and blended learning. She has also managed projects about support for care experienced students, and has a longstanding interest in LGBTQ+ equality. Alison is delighted to be involved with this project, not only because of its likely impact in the sector, but also because it is an opportunity to develop personally as an ally.


Mia Liyanage
Associate Researcher for the Project

Mia Liyanage Picture FrameMia is the author of Miseducation: decolonising curricula, culture and pedagogy in UK universities, published HEPI in July 2020, and has just completed a master's in US History at Balliol College, Oxford, and graduated with a BA in History from Oxford in 2019. Her research specialism is queer history. She has held a variety of access roles and was previously Co-Chair of Common Ground Oxford, a student movement challenging systemic racism and classism and advocating for decolonisation. Mia is committed to tackling educational inequality and now works as London Programme Officer at CoachBright, a social mobility organisation dedicated to educational equity for disadvantaged young people.


Nighet Riaz
Programme Advisor - Scotland, Advance HE (Specialist Insight / Link to Main Race project)

Nighet Riaz Picture FrameNighet leads the race equality project at Advance HE, launched in response to the EHRC report on racial harassment. She is an associate lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), teaching on the topic of equality and inclusion. Nighet is an active member of the British Educational Research Association, where she co-convenes the Special Interest Group on Race, Ethnicity and Education. She is also a training and development partner in the Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), a member of the education subgroup of the ‘Tackling Islamophobia’ cross party group at Holyrood, and the Equality Officer at her local SNP branch.


Dr Catriona Bell
Head of Membership (Scotland) and Senior Advisor (Learning and Teaching)

Catriona Bell Picture FrameCatriona is the key strategic liaison between Scottish institutions and Advance HE, and leads the development, planning and delivery of Advance HE’s Scottish National Priorities Programme. She joined Advance HE in February 2019 and brings more than 20 years of experience working as an academic in Scottish universities (latterly as a Reader in Veterinary Education). She is a qualified veterinary surgeon who has particular expertise in learning and teaching, becoming a Principal Fellow (PFHEA) in 2015 and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) in 2018.


Melanie Smith
Policy and Programmes Adviser - Scotland, Advance HE (Project Lead)

Melanie Smith Picture FrameMelanie joined Advance HE in December 2020 to lead the anti-racist curriculum project. With a background in widening participation, she has thirteen years' experience in leading transformative widening access and student support programmes led by a personal and professional conviction in social inclusion and the life-changing nature of educational opportunity. Having worked in both the College and University sector, Melanie brings extensive experience of the Scottish tertiary sector, stakeholder engagement, partnership working and co-creation. Melanie is also a qualified coach with years of mentoring experience, as well as designing and delivering professional development and training around widening participation and equality & diversity.

NEW Podcast Series: Decolonising Identity

Mia Liyanage and Khadija Mohammed were guests on the first episode of our new podcast series on Decolonising Identity. The episode is titled 'What's in a name?', hosted by Sukhi Kainth, Senior Adviser at Advance HE and welcoming Professor Binna Kandola OBE, (Business Psychologist, Senior Partner and co-founder Pearn Kandola) as a guest alongside Mia and Khadija.

Find out more
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Working Groups

The Anti-Racist Curriculum (ARC) Project comprises four working groups with a total of 24 members, covering the following areas:

  • Language Matters
  • Current and Best Practice
  • Curriculum Considerations
  • Student and Staff Experience

Profiles for members in the working groups can be accessed via the link below.

See the working group members