Decolonising HE Academic Practice - Lectures, Provocations, and Roundtables

Lectures, Provocations, and Roundtables Schedule

Please see below the schedule for the lecture series. All times are in British Summer Time (BST):

Introductory Round Table on Decolonising Academic Practice – What is it? - 3 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

Chaired by Prof. Peter Francis – Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at BCU.

Speakers:

The following colleagues will be speakers:

Prof. Peter Francis – Chair, DVC Academic, BCU
James Boston – Institutional lead for Race Equality Charter at BCU
Dr Harsahd Keval – Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University
Dr Talia Esnard - Head, Department of Behavioral Sciences, UWI, Trinidad


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Decolonising Engineering - Is it possible? - 5 May 2022 (12:30 - 13:15)

Dr Tosha Nembhard

Dr Tosha Nembhard

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Nembhard is an Assistant Professor in Aerospace Systems Engineering at Coventry University, with 8 years of aerospace industry experience.  She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has been Course Director for both BEng and MEng aerospace programmes at Coventry University.  Dr Nembhard is passionate about diversifying the engineering work force and inspiring the next generation of engineers as a STEM ambassador, a member of Women in Engineering Society and a mentor with the Association for BME Engineers.

About the session:

Dr Nembhard will be looking at what decolonising engineering means and the challenges faced by Lecturers or Module Leaders when decolonising engineering curricula, more specifically Aerospace Engineering. Dr Nembard will also provide some tips on how one can start this journey in their own module/course.

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The library is not neutral: reading lists, academic publishing and decolonising (Lecture) - 24 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

Caroline Ball

Caroline Ball, Curriculum Imagination Speaker

Speaker Bio:

Caroline Ball is an Academic Librarian at the University of Derby. Ms Ball is actively involved in the development of anti-racist pedagogy and curricula and in highlighting the importance of the library and its resources in supporting this work.

About the session:

This session will explore how development and enhancement of reading lists can contribute towards a university’s goals of decolonisation and reducing the student awarding gap.

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The Decolonial Student Voice Loop - 10 May 2022 (12:30 - 13:15)

Christina Vassell and Melanie Welaratne

Speaker Bio:

Christina Vassell is pursuing a master’s degree in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Melanie Welaratne is currently completing her master’s degree in Development Education and Global Learning part-time at University College London. Alongside her degree, she works full time as an Educational Developer for Nottingham Trent University where she explores how curriculum, assessment and teaching practices can support students who are structurally disadvantaged by oppressive systems.

About the session:

The lecture will explore how their student experiences and work were different and somewhat unconventional, but coalesced into a mobilising effort that would go on to affect the institution beyond their short student lifespan. Also, it will focus on their different student journeys and approaches to decolonising the curriculum and student experience within one institution.

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Reimagining Political Theory (Lecture) - 10 May 2022 (12:30 - 14:00)

Dr Simon Choat and Manjeet Ramgotra

Speaker Bio:

Dr Simon Choat is an Associate Professor & Head of the Department of Economics at Kingston University London. Dr Manjeet Ramgotra is a Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at SOAS University of London.

About the session:

In this lecture, we aim to share how we have changed our teaching practices at two UK universities (SOAS and Kingston University) to decolonise the curriculum. In our teaching, we have introduced students to ideas and thinkers who do not usually form part of the canon.  Rather than include diverse voices at the end of the curriculum, we have integrated marginalised authors who not only present different understandings of core concepts, but also who challenge and critique mainstream voices. This approach allows us to not only diversify the curriculum, but also to show how ideas are theorised from different positionalities and how these conceptions often push for greater inclusion, equality and democracy. This session seeks to facilitate discussion on the importance of pedagogical tools to change and decolonise teaching practices.

Please note that this will be an interactive session and that we would like participants to bring along a module outline that they would like to decolonise.

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Provocation: The role of learning design in decolonisation in academic practice - 10 May 2022 (17:00 - 17:45)

Melissa Coley

Speaker Bio:

Melissa Coley is a Learning Designer: Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment Lead at the University of Coventry Online.

About the session:

In this session Melissa will explore the role of learning design practice in the attainment of decolonisation of the curriculum in academic practice. In this session we ask the question ‘can learning design strategies decolonise the curriculum?’

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Colonialism, Decolonising, Past and Present (Lecture) - 10 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

Rita Pemberton

Speaker Bio:

Rita Pemberton is a former Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of History at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine. She has taught the History of Trinidad and Tobago, Imperialism and various aspects of Caribbean History at UWI St. Augustine from 1990-2013. She is a former Deputy Dean Student Affairs in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI, St. Augustine and she has served the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) as a member of the CSEC Caribbean History Examining Team since 2000 and as Chief Examiner Caribbean History from 2008-2016. She was a Visiting Scholar at JNU University New Delhi, India and a Visiting Researcher at Warwick University in the United Kingdom. She was a member of a collaborative research team with researchers from Benin, Africa and Brazil which examined the Cholera pandemic outbreak of the 1850s.  Her research focus is on health, environment and culture in Caribbean History and the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

About the session:

Centuries of colonial rule have resulted in unabated exploitation of the resources of the former colonies, the persistence of discriminatory practices against their peoples and with the attainment of independence, the inability of the governments of these countries to exercise full control over their economies. Colonial rule has also ensured the continued misrepresentation of non-European knowledge systems to facilitate the continued hegemony of western knowledge systems which has permitted the domination of life to the present day.  To be effective, the decolonisation process must devise a strategy to eliminate the vestiges of colonialism in teaching research and knowledge production.

This presentation will provide a discussion on the factors that impede process of decolonisation.

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Inclusive Practice Partnerships at the University of Brighton (Lecture) - 12 May 2022 (12:30 - 14:00)

Dr Jo Hall and Neesha Sivaratnam

Speaker Bios:

Dr Joanna Hall is an Inclusive Practice Lead at the University of Brighton. She will be presenting alongside Neesha Sivaratnam, a student partner (Inclusive Practice Partner for the School of Applied Sciences). In this presentation, they will discuss the approach used at the University of Brighton for decolonising the undergraduate curriculum. Inclusive Practice Partnerships Scheme teams review the representation of racial, ethnic and cultural identities and their histories in selected modules and then make recommendations that will diversify and decolonise the curriculum. As part of the presentation, we will highlight the challenges and successes of using an institutional and partnership approach to this work, from both student and staff perspectives.

About the session:

In this presentation, we discuss the approach used at the University of Brighton for decolonising the undergraduate curriculum. The Inclusive Practice Partnerships Scheme was launched in November 2020 and currently employs 54 students to work in partnership with staff in each of the 8 Schools across the University. Inclusive Practice Partnerships Scheme teams review the representation of racial, ethnic and cultural identities and their histories in selected modules and then make recommendations that will diversify and decolonise the curriculum. As part of the presentation, we will highlight the challenges and successes of using an institutional and partnership approach to this work, from both student and staff perspectives.

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Decolonising academic development at the University of Warwick: Travelling without a map (Provocation) - 12 May 2022 (12:30 - 13:00)

Speakers:

Dr Letizia Gramaglia - Head of Academic Development

Dr Jennie Mills - Associate Professor

Sara Hattersley - Associate Professor

Jess Humphreys - Assistant Professor

Dr John Kirkman - Assistant Professor

Dr Peter Fossey - Assistant Professor

Dr Kerry Dobbins - Assistant Professor

Oliver Turner - Teaching Fellow

About the session:

Decolonising academic development is a daunting task. Even those university departments committed to understanding decolonisation, exploring the implications and transforming practice face many challenges. In this provocation we will use the metaphor of a journey to show how in the Academic Development Centre we have embarked on a decolonising agenda. Without a map available to guide us we started meeting and discussing decolonisation in our practice as academic developers, in our professional knowledge base and in our institution. After a confident departure we quickly realised some of the significant implications of the agenda for us personally and professionally. In this provocation you are invited to travel with us for a while, understand the decision we have made so far about which direction to go and help us to take our next steps. Towards the end of the provocation we will set out possible different paths and invite you to help us to make good decisions about which way to go. Perhaps telling the story of our journeying might help other fellow travellers.

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Decolonising Development studies Curricula with students as partners (Lecture) - 12 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

Marie Xypaki

Marie Xypaki

Speaker Bio:

Marie Xypaki is an Educational Developer at SOAS University London. This practical and interactive session aims to share the learnings from a staff-student partnership project at SOAS university that aims to enhance understanding of decolonising Development studies curricula. Colleagues will get the opportunity to engage with some key decolonising principles in the curriculum and reflect on their own teaching practice and how it can be decolonised.

About the session:

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team at SOAS University has partnered with six Graduate Associates (MA students) from the Department of Development Studies with an aim to develop a Curriculum Design Framework that draws on decolonisation principles and reflections.  The Curriculum Framework (content, learning and teaching strategies and assessment) will be used to audit two mandatory modules of the Development studies curriculum with an idea to be used for auditing all the Department's modules in the future. To develop the Framework, the students have been working with an Educational Developer on a weekly basis. The students have received training on curriculum design and decolonisation theories and have been engaging in peer discussions and reflections every week. The students have developed the Curriculum Framework (drawing on existing practice and their reflections) and they have tested it during two focus groups with their wider student cohort. The students are currently using the tested Curriculum Framework to audit two modules and make recommendations to their module convenors. Both the Curriculum Framework and the student recommendations will inform the Development Studies curricula as well as the advice and CPD training that is offered to SOAS module convenors by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Team.

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Why transforming learning content needs political will and less rhetoric? (Lecture) - 17 May 2022 (12:30 - 14:00)

Dr Rothney Tshaka

Dr Rothney Tshaka

Speaker Bio:

Dr Rothney Tshaka is a professor at the University of South Africa. He is one of the founding convenors for the Trans-Atlantic Round Table on Religion and Race, as well as an editorial board member of Black Theology: An International Journal. His current research interests are in the fields of Black and African studies, Reformed Theology, Black and African Theologies and Critical Race theories. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on the intersections of theology, race and politics.

About the session:

Political will is required to see a genuine transformation of knowledge realised.

The transformation of knowledge production has become a common fiat in academic institutions across South Africa. Whether this decree is seen through is a total different matter. In my experience as Director of a School in the College of Human Sciences, I have come to believe that it is vital that we have multiple pronged approaches to the matter. To this end it is vital that departments, schools, colleges, university management as well as university councils have complete buy-in into the matter. The matter of curriculum transformation should not be reserved to only those who are enthused by the subject but must in fact become common conversations at all the identified levels. In the context of the University of South Africa, we have come to see that translation into the indigenous languages is not necessarily the transformation of knowledge production. A political will to bring marginalised knowledge to the fore is required for the effective transformation of knowledge production.

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Provocation: Decolonising academic development – “Decolonising the Curriculum through Reflexive Practice” - 19 May 2022 (12:30 - 14:00)

Sami Safadi

Sami Safadi

Speaker Bio:

Sami Safadi is an Academic Support Tutor (International) and BAME Inclusivity Lead at the University of Salford. This session will unpack the importance of decolonising the curriculum as a form of academic development. During this session, Sami will explore what has led to the creation of the “Decolonising the Curriculum through Reflexive Practice” pack, what work and theories have influenced it, the aims of this resource, and how it sits within the wider University of Salford efforts to decolonise.

About the session:

Decolonising the Curriculum through Reflexive Practice: After attending various events, reading through toolkits, and listening to colleagues I noticed three key common trends about the direction of decolonising the curriculum:

  1. A heavy focus on content changes: Whilst there is no single correct way to decolonise curricula, DTC that mainly focuses on content could lead to quick wins and surface level reform.
  2. Often tied to EDI agendas: Decolonising the curriculum is about pedagogic reform and liberation rather than an EDI agenda, and whilst this link may be due to resourcing, it may not be the right way forward.
  3. Colleagues need more support and guidance: Whilst materials are shared and people talk about DTC, there is often little or no structured support for actual academic educational development which presents challenges for many colleagues.

If DTC continues to be approached in this way, whilst content may change, and toolkits may be created, long-term reform may never occur. Based on this, I decided to develop what I hope is an approach that supports DTC through educational development by starting with the practitioner and using literature to inform reflections and learning around shifting narratives, delinking from false universalisms, and relating DTC to discipline specific areas. Informed by the Tran’s work (2021), I designed a resource pack for colleagues to engage with. I have framed it as a resource pack because I am not comfortable with some of the terminology and connotations around ‘toolkits’. The pack consists of three elements: - a resource/staff guide which is to be read through - an activity sheet based on sections of the resource and to focus the reflections - a checklist to guide some of the engagement and suggest actions for after colleagues finish with the reflective activities.

My intention is for colleagues to build on familiar concepts around practitioner development and reflective practice for decolonising whilst expanding their understanding of DTC from the literature. Although designed for colleagues to engage with individually, I have come to realise that providing a supportive structured framework to deliver this resource, such as a workshop course, may lead to more successful outcomes for colleagues and institutions. However, we have yet to trial this approach and resource properly and do not have feedback or impact to review currently.

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Moving Towards Decolonising Music Education (Lecture) - 19 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

Professor Nathan Holder

Professor Nate Holder

Speaker Bio:

Prof Nate Holder BA (Hons), MMus is a Musician, Author, Speaker and Music Education Consultant based in London. He is an advocate for decolonising music education and has been speaking, writing and consulting on the subject internationally for the past few years.

About the session:

Music forms an important part of cultures from around the world, connecting us with people, ideas and emotions across time. Engaging students in a wide range of different styles of music and pedagogies can be key in encouraging feelings of belonging and increasing representation for an increasingly diverse student body. Music education is not immune from the effects of colonialism, with Eurocentric perspectives informing much of what is taught, and how information is disseminated. How can higher education institutions respond to the challenge?

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Decolonising Programmes and Modules - 24 May 2022 (12:30 - 14:00)

Professor Charlie Reis

Professor Charlie Reis

Speaker Bio:

Charlie Reis is an Associate Professor and Director of the Educational Development Unit at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), Director of XJTLU’s Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Founder of the China-based Association for Partnership in Educational Development (CAPED). His primary area of research is the incorporation of classical Chinese knowledge into contemporary learning and teaching. Other areas of focus are: transnational education, motivation and engagement, online and hybrid learning, academic identity, leadership, and science fiction.

About the session:

This one-hour interactive session will take the form of an online workshop. The structure will be to: ask what decolonisation is to participants; review ideas about decolonised and internationalised curriculum design; look at some of the metaphors we use in discussing inclusion and diversity (Zygaldo , 2018); consider Leask’s (2009) definition of internationalising the curriculum as a guide to the main loci of change: preparation, instruction, and outcomes asking participants to share ideas about each; review and personalise ‘best practices’ and principles to making changes in curriculum following Leask’s work (2009 & 2021) and incorporating the necessity of including students in co-creation of curriculum (Bovill, 2019); consider a process for making assessments internationalised/decolonised looking at both QAA guidance (2018) and Campbell et. al. (2021); problemitise the very notion of assessment as inherently misaligned with equality (Baume, 2022) and provoke participants with the notion that the very notion of ‘academic integrity’ involves hegemonic discourse policing; present larger ethos of design for inclusivity; show how we have tried to decolonise the UKPSF (HEA 2016) for a Chinese context; and ask attendees to reflect towards future practice.

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Radical Curriculum Decolonisation through Coalition and Conscious Practice - 24 May 2022 (17:00 - 18:30)

John Boddy

John Boddy

Speaker Bio:

John Boddy is the head of Fashion & Textiles at Falmouth University.

About the session:

This lecture will explore the experience of online, nationwide collaboration, de-learning and de-centering of practice, emerging conscious practice and decolonisation work that has been undertaken in Falmouth University’s Fashion & Textiles Institute.This lecture will explore Radical Curriculum Decolonisation through Coalition and Conscious Practice: An exploration of cross-institutional anti-racism approaches to holistic curriculum development.

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Black Heritage Walks - 26 May 2022 (12:30 – 14:00)

Ms Marcia Dunkley

Speaker Bio:

Ms Marcia Dunkley has a college based teaching career spanning over 20 years. Ms Dunkley is managing an independent inner city supplementary school alongside co-ordinating and managing an Afro-centric Holiday Club for children. She is also one of the directors of Black Heritage Walks Network.

About the outdoor walk:

We invite colleagues to a third space education experience where we will be taking trips around Birmingham to experience black heritage first hand.

The Black Heritage Walks Network was set up in 2018 to highlight the achievements of the African Caribbean community in the UK. The initial aim was to capture the stories and history of the Windrush generation in Handsworth to mark the 70th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush carrying passengers from the Caribbean. The organisation has expended to developed numerous walks, exhibitions, film festivals and educational workshops.

Black Heritage Walks are very prominent in USA, however despite the UK having a large black population and rich heritage, there is a lack of black heritage walks on offer. So I (Marcia Dunkley) (researcher and teacher) visited Liverpool Slavery Museum and was inspired by the walk showcasing buildings, landmarks and sculptures depicting a prominent black presence since the 12th century. There was a realisation that Birmingham did not recognise or celebrate any of its black heritage or history. Birmingham is the second city in the UK and is steeped in heritage, yet this is not reflected in its cultural offerings, despite having the largest Black population, outside of London.

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Basic Principles of Decolonising Academic Practice (Roundtable) - 26 May 2022 (17:00 – 18:30)

Chair:

Professor Julie McLeod, Pro Vice Chancellor Teaching & Learning, Birmingham City University (BCU)

Professor Julie McLeod joined Birmingham City University in January 2020 as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) leading on the teaching and learning strategy and responsible for the Directorates of; Quality Standards & Inclusion, Education Development Service and Library & Learning Resources. Prior to that Professor McLeod was interim Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Bucks New University and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Oxford Brookes University since 2014. Professor McLeod has been a QAA assessor and was an assessor for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) subject plots for the Medical Health subject panel. She has worked with the Department of Health in implementing Modernising Scientific Careers and was an executive member of the Heads of Biomedical Sciences. She has been invited to speak on a range of aspects related to enhancing the student experience.

Panel

Marva De La Coudray – Director, Teaching & Learning, London Metropolitan University

Dr Leroy Hill – Director, Centre for Excellence in Teaching, University of the West Indies

Dr Martin Glynn

Dr Martin Glynn is a criminologist and Winston Churchill Fellow with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and educational settings. As a writer Dr Martin Glynn has written for theatre, television, radio drama, children’s writing, and data storytelling. Dr Glynn is currently a lecturer in criminology at Birmingham City University


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