Following our posts in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in June, where we acknowledged that as an institution we fell short of where we should be in terms of fostering anti-racist attitudes and behaviour, we wanted to update you about what’s been happening and how we are accelerating the pace of change.
Firstly, we want to thank all of our staff, students and alumni who have shared their messages and experiences with us over the last few months. We don’t underestimate the courage and honesty that it took to contact us.
These insights have helped us to make initial changes in terms of representation, training, the attainment gap and the curriculum. This work provides the foundations from which we can build a safe and welcoming place to study, work and collaborate and ensure that our Black student and staff community always feel supported and valued. Secondly, we will continue to use this space to listen, learn and take the steps that are needed.
- College decision-making is led by a small Executive Group of staff from around the college. We recently changed the makeup of this group to be more diverse, with experts who have worked in student attainment, inclusion and diversity providing expert leadership in these areas.
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion has been added as a standing item to the Executive Group agenda for every fortnightly meeting, ensuring accountability and regular updates on progress.
- We have a local, college specific Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee, which will meet monthly and report against specific targets such as reducing the attainment gap.
- UAL uses an anonymised recruitment process, so that the shortlisting panel does not see the personal characteristics of the applicant including name, address, race, gender, sexuality or whether a person is differently abled. This is to ensure that hiring managers make more objective decisions about a candidate’s skills, experience and suitability for a role, and to lessen the risk of bias, whether conscious or unconscious, affecting the process.
- We are significantly increasing our investment in new teaching roles as a priority for 2020/2021 and will look at not only where we advertise these roles to ensure visibility, but also at how they are written so that we have inclusive language in our advertisements. It is already a requirement that all interviews should have at least one person of colour on the panel, and we will be actively encouraging applicants from all backgrounds to apply for these roles.
- We know that anti-racist behaviour needs to be backed up with regular training and that the work needs to be ongoing. As well as the current mandatory online training course ‘breaking bias’ focusing on unconscious bias, we have launched a new training programme for all staff in Intercultural Competencies for Communication. The first sessions are running this month. This includes training in language and pronunciation, an awareness of understanding when English is not a first language, and intercultural work and collaboration.
- Our EDI committee will be responsible for ensuring all staff take part in the programmes and regularly review what further training and development need implementing.
- Closing the attainment gap is a key focus for LCF and this links in with decolonizing our curriculum, which will take place in all courses.
- We run the Academic Enhancement Model (AEM) on particular courses which have higher attainment gaps. This is an intensive programme which focuses on teaching methods, support, course structure and curriculum content to identify and tackle problems more efficiently.
- Our Head of Attainment has developed ‘Make the Grade’ to support course teams to improve attainment results; this is now going to be rolled out across all courses.
- The College is setting ambitious goals regarding closing the attainment gap – these will be monitored by Executive Group.
- In conjunction with colleagues across UAL decolonizing the curriculum is now a major priority for LCF – this is happening across a range of courses and is already well underway for our postgraduate provision and our Cultural and Historical Studies (CHS) units.
- We are further developing our ‘Better Lives’ Unit which is taught to all first-year undergraduate students. Unit one looks at Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Sustainability and Social Responsibility.
- In October 2019 we ran a successful event in collaboration with Shades of Noir and the Decolonising Arts Institute TrAIN to look at Decolonising the Curriculum through Practice, Research and Dialogue. We are planning similar events in the future.
To find out more about how we are working with colleagues the colleges please see UAL's 10-point action plan, which will enable us to make swift progress across the whole of the university.