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BAME Summit 2020: Leading Race Equality in Higher Education

This summit aimed to empower agents of change and key decision makers in HE to take action within their institution and advance the race equality agenda.

Participants discussed, debated and shared good practice around advancing this agenda within their institutions and the sector more generally. This summit built on the work of the Race Equality Charter, and institutional activity around BAME attainment and progression, exploring examples of leading practice. 

The BAME Leadership Summit 2020: Leading Race Equality in HE focused on how institutions develop senior leaders who wish to achieve systemic change around BAME staff progression and achievement in higher education. The summit discussed what it takes to effectively lead this area of work both across and throughout an institution. Binna Kandola once again joined us as one of our keynote speakers and focussed on the leadership skills and behaviours needed to effectively lead this work bringing in his 5 rules for leaders. We particularly wanted to consider leadership qualities for all leaders of this work whatever their gender, race and background as we acknowledge that many leaders within HEIs are still white and the majority are still white men. Recognising that while we want to change this we also need to work with the current HE leaders to ensure they are equipped and passionate about making the changes so that we do see more diverse leadership teams in the future as well as diversity throughout the HE sector.

The summit considered the steps that institutions need to take to recruit, develop, motivate and value leaders who will achieve embedded, sustained, systemic change and ensure all progression opportunities are open to all. We then used our collective insight and experience to create 'a road map for change' that will be shared with senior leaders across institutions.

Join the conversation at #BAMESum20

Benefits of joining us online

  • Our Thematic workshops allowed delegates to discuss various themes and topics in smaller groups. The sessions were facilitated by a member of the Advance HE team
  • the virtual chat facility allowed delegates from across the world to engage with each other, contact Advance HE and post questions for the presenters ahead of the Q&A sessions
  • delegates had the ability to drop in and out of the conference live stream at their leisure and a recording of the session will be sent to delegates after the event.

Summit programme 

BAME Leadership Summit 2020: Leading Race Equality in Higher Education

Download programme


Thematic workshops

Our four concurrent thematic workshops provided an opportunity to explore the actions that institutions may need to take in order to develop leaders who are actively and effectively working to improve race equality.

The intention was to co-create a ‘road map for change’ document that will be shared with Vice Chancellors and senior leadership teams. Each workshop contributed to this by reflecting on the question “what actions do institutions need to take in this area (e.g. HR processes, learning and development etc) to develop leaders who are equipped to tackle racism and improve race equality?”.

The workshops will explore the following themes:

HR processes

Actions: to improve recruitment and selection, performance management, promotion, talent identification

Learning and development

Actions: to ensure that all staff in leadership positions are equipped to identify and address racial inequality

Developing BAME leaders

Actions: to create effective processes that result in a greater diversity of leaders in the institution and in the sector

Creating an inclusive culture

Actions: to embed race equity as a core value and lived reality in institutional culture

Allies and Partnership

A case study by Tinashe Verhaeghe, Linda Peka and Rachel Winzer, University of Exeter

Tina is one of the founders and current convenors of the BME Network for, students and allies at the University of Exeter and delivered this session with colleagues from the University Management Team.

Ally-ship presents an opportunity to go further and faster to progress race equality. This case study is an example of a productive relationship between a leader of the BME community and allies to the community who are senior managers in HE. The team shared tips on successes, as well as challenges faced, in the hopes of inspiring colleagues in HE to combine their social and political power in addressing issues of Race in HE.


Gary Loke

Gary is Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE where he is responsible for leading on research, thought leadership and content delivery. Prior to his current role, Gary was Deputy Chief Executive at Equality Challenge Unit where he led on numerous projects, including joint guidance with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Universities UK on the intersection of equality legislation and the Prevent duty.

Gary Loke

Keynote speakers

Lord Simon Woolley CBE

Lord Simon Woolley CBE is the director and founder of Operation Black Vote (OBV), a commissioner for race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and chair of the government's Race Disparity Unit’s advisory group.

OBV is non-partisan and not-for-profit national organisation that was established in 1996 to address the British black and ethnic minority democratic deficit. Focusing on voter registration, lobbying politicians and mentoring schemes, OBV aims to inspire black and minority ethnic communities to engage with public institutions to address the race inequalities in areas including education, health and employment.

Simon's keynote session focussed on how we can respond effectively to the present crisis so that the education gap in race doesn’t widen and how we can use the current climate to not only to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, but to rebuild and remodel what education should be and in this, the critical role of senior leaders, like VCs, as well as leaders of students and the BAME community.

Lord Woolley

Professor Binna Kandola OBE

Professor Binna Kandola is Senior Partner at Pearn Kandola. He is acknowledged as an expert in the topic of unconscious bias having been researching and writing about the topic for nearly 15 years. He has written extensively about bias and most recently published Racism at Work: The Danger of Indifference.

His work challenges orthodox thinking in the field of diversity and inclusion. He is invited to speak at conferences regularly most recently to speak at the Biased Science event at the Royal Institution.

He has worked with senior leadership teams in many organisations including Citigroup, AXA, Rioe Tinto, UBS, Cabinet Office, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Binna Kandola

Case study speakers

Tinashe Verhaeghe

Tinashe Verhaeghe is the Institute Manager at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. She has held roles in various departments including Research Development and Admissions and has an interest in project and process management. Her passion for justice and equality for all led her to start the BME Staff, Students and Allies Network in 2019. She is also the founder of Network eXe, which is a forum for co-ordinators of all Networks at the University aimed at addressing issues of intersectionality as well as increasing the impact of staff networks.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she has now lived in Exeter for over 10 years with her Belgian husband, her 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.


Linda Peka

In her role as Chief College Operations Officer at the University of Exeter, Linda is responsible for the overall leadership of College Operations including Education and Student Support and the Strategic Delivery Unit. As part of that remit, she is responsible for ensuring that the University's professional services resources are fully aligned to Colleges’ strategies and operational priorities. Linda is the University’s executive lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and is responsible for ensuring that strategic objectives are fully embedded at all levels within the institution.

Linda joined the University of Exeter in 2005, returning to her home county of Devon. An accountant with over 30 years’ experience in the health, housing and education sectors, she joined Exeter from King's College London where she held the position of Deputy Head of Internal Audit. Linda is experienced in management, leadership, finance, audit and governance and since joining the University has supported the continuous development and growth of science at Exeter and led the transformation of Technical Services.

Linda holds a lay member position on the Royal Academy of Music's Audit Committee and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting and a member of the Leadership Foundation. 

Linda Peka

Rachel Winzer

As Business Manager for College Operations, Rachel supports Linda Peka, Chief College Operations Officer, with the operation and delivery of projects across three professional services directorates at the University of Exeter. These directorates are Education and Student Support, the Strategic Delivery Unit and College Operations. The latter includes the provision of administrative support to all six of the university’s academic colleges. Previously Rachel worked at the University of Exeter for four years as Business Manager to the Provost where her work included support for equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives. She continues her support of EDI activities in her current post. 

Rachel has worked in higher education for over 10 years in a variety of planning and policy related roles. She started her HE career at the UCL Institute of Education before working at the 1994 Group. Prior to moving to Exeter, she was Deputy Head of Policy and Planning at the University of Stirling. In her spare time Rachel enjoys supporting a variety of community initiatives including being a Beaver Scout Leader and a Trustee of Exeter City Farm.

Rachel Winzer

BAME Summit 2019: Highlights

View the BAME Summit 2019 highlights here