With a persistent 18% attainment gap between white students and all other ethnic groups at UK universities, and with 80 black professors (17 of them women) out of the UK's 18,510 professorial staff, projects that address entrenched Eurocentricity in university pedagogy are sorely needed. This project will promote and support students as leaders in challenging the "whiteness" of mainstream pedagogy at Warwick, across disciplines, through a wide range of student-led talks, seminars, activities and events throughout Black History Month and beyond.
An NUS study found 16% of black respondents said they had experienced racism at their institution, and many linked those experiences with a drop in confidence and motivation, reporting that they felt marginalised and socially excluded. Studies have also indicated that non-white students are more likely to drop out of higher education institutions, and this drop-out rate is often linked to feelings of exclusion and the unique experience of living as an ethnic, religious or cultural minority (Singh, G 2012)*. This project is designed to offer a greatly increased sense of inclusion to many ethnic minority students at Warwick. Events will also be illuminating and inspiring to students of all backgrounds.
The project will work to make Warwick one of the most proactive universities in the Russell Group on inclusivity and diversity and will allow our university to function as a premiere hub for students to engage with race theory in their extra-curricular activities, giving students an opportunity to learn about, investigate and discuss important issues of race, ethnicity and history, as well as allowing for opportunities to socialise and celebrate. In Warwick's 50th anniversary year, it would be fitting to have Warwick recognise and celebrate the histories of its diverse student population and act as a space for students to engage with past and contemporary civil rights struggles.
The project's events will be very appealing to the international community, and will offer crucial international perspectives to home students. Events have been designed with a focus on including world histories, and will allow for these students to see the issues of their countries discussed. We have included foreign films on the programme, ensuring that students of different backgrounds are targeted in social activities and in talks, and have designed campaigns that target a range of histories.
The project comes from student-raised issues, responds to the local and national student campaign "Why is my curriculum white?" and will consist almost entirely of student-led events and activities.