This colloquium will look at decolonising pedagogy and the curriculum within higher education, a topical area of focus for all institutions across the UK and more widely. This area of work is of interest to students, students unions and staff and needs addressing at all levels from individual programmes to entire faculties and cross institutionally involving both academic and professional services staff to really make change.
The current sector-wide focus on decolonisation has arisen largely in response to a number of national and international student-led campaigns condemning the erasure of and / or marginalisation of nonwestern perspectives from and within the academy (Bhambra, Gebrial and Nisancioglu, 2018). In response to student protests and sector research highlighting the importance of an inclusive curriculum in supporting student retention, engagement and success, many universities are undergoing a period of reviewing and reforming their curriculum as part of their overall strategy to eliminate awarding gaps for students of different ethnicities. Decolonising the curriculum is increasingly considered to be an important part of the strategy being undertaken across higher education settings to address the awarding gap for BAME students although all staff and students benefit from a decolonised curriculum.
Decolonising pedagogy and the curriculum looks at the ongoing impact of legacies of colonisation and imperialism on knowledge production in terms of both how we teach and what we teach. A decolonial approach concerns itself with deconstructing existing hierarchies, in favour of drawing on multiple knowledge systems/ways of knowing in order to integrate a range of perspectives, with a particular focus on amplifying the voices currently underrepresented in the curriculum. Decolonisation advocates for the contextualisation of all knowledge within a historical, geographical, cultural framework and re-shaping the curriculum is a key component of culturally responsive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1994). The goal of decolonising the curriculum is to ensure education is structured in a way which gives everyone access to the opportunities they need to thrive (Warner, Arboine, Morrison and Tran, 2020).
Bhambra, G.K., D. Gebrial and K. Nişancıoğlu (eds.) (2018) Decolonizing the University (Pluto Press: London)
Ladson-Billings, G. (1994) The Dreamkeepers, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co.
Warner, C, Arboine, J, Morrison, C and Tran, D, (2020) Decolonising pedagogy and the curriculum, Creative Commons Licence CC BY-NC 4.0, Academic Enhancement Model and Attainment Team, University of the Arts
The colloquium will involve sessions from Prof. Paul Miller and Khadija Mohammed, Senior Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland, alongside contributions from across the sector giving practical examples of work currently underway in this area. During the day we will look at why this is so important and what steps have been taken across the sector so far showcasing some examples of good practice and providing resources to support you when working on this in your institution. The colloquium aims to look specifically at two aspects of this work firstly understanding more about why this is a key focus for the HE sector, what it really means at different levels within the institution and how to start in a meaningful way. Secondly we will look to share resources, tools and practice from across the sector to support further those who are already working in this space but would benefit from collaborating with others. If possible this will also use a subject specific lens to discuss some of the challenges arising in different areas.
Who should attend?
This event is for academic staff, independent researchers and professional services staff working in the fields of EDI and curriculum design. It is open to those at any career level and whose work cuts across research and practice.