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In Conversation With Christine Ennew

Name: Christine Ennew.

Role: Provost.

 

How would you describe yourself in terms of the LGBTQUA+ community?

I'm a happily married gay woman - and while we've been married for around 6 years we are close to celebrating 25 years together.

 

We recognise that multiple identities and diverse experiences are not always acknowledged. Quite the opposite, we want to celebrate how intersectionality factors in your experience.

Maybe I've been fortunate in terms of my experiences and maybe I'm just benefitting from the tolerance that comes with status, but I get the distinct impression that no one is terribly interested in my sexual orientation. And thats probably how it should be. I'd like to think that the fact that I am a gay woman is the least interesting thing about me. And while over my careeer, I have been very aware of the challenges of being female in what was (and still is to a degree) a working environment which is quite male dominated, my experience has that been most people have judged me on my ability and not my personal characteristics. That doesn't mean that I haven't experienced behaviour thats probably inappropriate, but mostly I've found that its been easy to laugh it off and to rely on informality and humour to deal with difficult situations. It won't and doesn't work for everyone but it did for me!

 

How would you describe your journey?

Pragmatic - and tolerant. I've been lucky to have great friends and great colleagues who have valued me for who I am (not what I am). When I came out (in the late 1980s) there was much less awareness and understanding than is the case now; but friends and colleagues were relaxed and easy going. And I was never particularly inclined to make a big public statment - I just got on with things. Universities were (and I think still are) mostly liberal and open minded and are easy places to be.... (and its easy to forget this). I have worked in environments that are far more challenging and where I have had to "hide" my relationship. Thats never been necessary in the UK and for that i'm grateful.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Lots - but most of it isn't terribly relevant to my gender or sexual orientation. Most of it would be about being more self-confident, more honest about my goals and ambition and about putting more time and effort into understanding some of the detail about how Universities work and how they engage with the policy environment.

 

How long have you been at Warwick and in what context?

I've been at Warwick for 5 years - and all that time in the role of Provost.

 

How are you active in the LGBTQUA+ community at Warwick?

I'm the UEB Champion for the LGBTQUA+ community (and I attend the Rainbow Taskforce). I'm also Chair of the Social Inclusion Committee.

 

What is good about being LGBTQUA+ at Warwick?

Warwick is generally a good place to be - its freindly, welcoming and people care about their colleagues.

 

What could/should be improved?

I'm probably not the best placed to comment - at a personal level, I have never felt anything other than included, comfortable and welcome. But I know there will be many others whose experiences are different and who will have constructive suggestions - and I look forward to hearing about these.