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Student Engagement Conference 2021

Tackling structural race inequality in higher education

Activities, discussions, tools and resources to support our members in understanding and addressing structural race inequalities in all aspects of higher education.

Now, perhaps more than ever, higher education is being challenged to become accessible, inclusive and representative of the society we live in. The voices calling for change are many and strong, the opportunities, energy and urgency likewise.

Issues of race equality are at the top of the higher education agenda with increased scrutiny from students, staff, and regulatory bodies. Our members, need to remove barriers to education, employment and success, create strategies that identify and address racism and racial inequalities, engage with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, inspire sustainable change and create an institutional culture that values diversity and fosters inclusion.

Our aim is to support institutions to understand and address the structural race inequality in all aspects of higher education. To do so, we are having a renewed focus on ‘Tackling structural race inequality in HE’ which will run through our member benefits for 20-21.

We recognise that addressing deep-seated structural issues will be a stepped process. Throughout the year, we will produce a number of outputs to support our members to understand and interrogate their own structural issues.

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Tackling structural race inequality in higher education

"Higher education has a critical role to play in addressing structural racism, through really understanding the lived experience, through making our curriculum and education reflect the society we are, and the society we want to be."

Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE

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Gary Loke
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What do we mean by structural race inequality?

Racism manifests itself in different forms. There is the personal, where individuals have prejudices, ideas and beliefs about different ethnic groups, often attribution superiority to one group over another. It can manifest itself in overt or covert ways.

There is institutional racism, which is where racism is embedded in policies and practices of an institution. It routinely leads to differential opportunities and outcomes for different ethnic groups.

Structural racism refers to the systems in which the policies and practices are located, interacting with, institutional culture, environment, curriculum, and other ‘norms’, compounded by history, culture and systemic privilege, that perpetuate race inequality.

"...where personal and institutional racism are compounded by systemic privilege that therefore allows race inequality to perpetuate."

Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE

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How do we address this?

Through 20-21 we will be delivering a range of member benefit activities aligned specifically to tackling structural racial inequalities. Divided into a series of strands, the activities make use of blogs, reports, debates, artwork/video, roundtable discussions podcasts and webinars.

Additionally, to embed addressing structural racism, each of our monthly member benefit series topics have also been asked how it will address tackling structural race inequality in HE.

Race, the curriculum and leadership

Professor Paul Miller shares his thoughts on creating diversity in the curriculum and the role leaders in HE can play to address systemic race iniquities.

Read the blog

Tackling structural race inequality in higher education member benefit activities

The activities in support of this member benefit have been divided into four strands, these are:

Understanding structural inequality: theory, evidence, data and storytelling

Will help to explore the concepts structural inequality and to look at the evidence behind this, foregrounding further discussions of action suitable to address this.

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Decolonising identity

Will focus on how people of colour identify in different spaces – personal familiar space; in the institutional space; and in wider society. It will interrogate how identity changes in different spaces, and how structural inequality forces people to mask their authentic identity and reinforces white privilege.
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Honest, brave and open conversations about race

Will explore the journey required to have open and honest conversations about race. What are the tensions? Why such conversations are so difficult, yet so invaluable? What can we learn from the process as well as the conversations?
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Meeting the challenge: supporting senior leaders in conversation, change and accountability in addressing race

Having the skills and confidence to navigate issues of race and racism with sensitivity, insight and humility is a necessary competence for leaders in higher education. This strand is designed to support senior leaders to develop their readiness to tackle specific current issues.
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Guest contributions

By the end of 20-21, our members will have access to a set of tools/materials to use that will help understanding and interrogating structural racism.

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Additional support from Advance HE

Woman in meeting
Programmes + events

Race equality in HE

Development to support the improvement of representation, progression and success
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Governors and EDI
Consultancy + Enhancement

EDI support for institutions

Supporting institutions to tackle inequalities
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Group in discussion
Equality Charters

Race Equality Charter

Supporting the improvement of representation, progression and success
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Register your interest in our Tackling structural race inequality in higher education theme

Enter your details below to register your interest in our member benefits Tackling structural race inequality in higher education theme, to receive further updates and information. .

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