Session #14 - 13.45 - 14.45

Title of Panel: ‘Decolonising the university: Theory and practice ’.

Summary: The recent public execution of George Floyd by the police in the US coupled with the global COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact it is having on BAME communities and indigenous people, has given new impetus to ongoing demands for eradicating institutional racism. The trashing of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston, has reenergised the debate around decolonisation the role of university. Symbolic moments like these are important as they motivate people to act, but  we need to begin to dismantle the racist dehumanising myths we harbour in our minds and everyday practices. This aim of this session is to highlight some of the current thinking in decolonising the university and also to explore pedagogical strategies for confronting institutional racism.

Chair: Gurnam Singh, Associate professor for Equity of Attainment. 


Annette Hay: Senior Research Delivery Support Partner and BME Staff Network Co-ordinator – Role of leaders in decolonising the university.

 Title: Dismantling myths and legacies of leadership:  for leaders of present and the future

Summary:  Institutions could be described as being built in a historical context of a selective collection of myths, legends and customs, which subsequently evolve into complex and regulated organisational values, behaviours and practices.   And whilst decolonising the curriculum, pedagogy and research methodology are critically important for more equitable learning experiences and exchanges of knowledge.  It is equally important to address how and why we should seek to decolonise leadership models and practices  if we want to effect real and lasting change. 

Priya Rajasekar: Lecture in Multi-Platform Journalism - The devil is in the detail: Placing the University under the decolonisation scanner.

 Title: The devil is in the detail: Placing the University under the decolonisation scanner

Summary: In examining the challenge of decolonisation and dismantling of institutional racism, this presentation will critique  a selection of macro and micro processes and systems that the university currently adopts as building blocks to promote its larger vision in the areas of teaching and learning, research, scholarship, enterprise and leadership. In doing so the presentation will  draw attention to facets of the everyday enactment of the geopolitics of knowledge as it impacts student experience and learning.

Saba Hussain: Lecturer in Sociology

 Title: Decolonising pedagogy: developing a new dynamic world view.

Summary: This presentation will suggest that decolonising pedagogy calls for a dynamic worldview and a set of values that make it anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic. It is informed by theoretical approach that seeks to un-mask the logics, workings and effects of colonial domination, both in the past and in the present. This approach rejects neoliberal approaches and in doing so seeks to  facilitate conditions for different kinds of encounters between students and teacher, among students and among teachers. The presentation will identify how might those encounters look like?

Janice Smith: Assistant Professor in Sociology

 Title: Seizing the momentum: How might decolonising the curriculum impact upon the university culture?

Summary: Though demands for decolonising the university are not new, the murder of George Floyd in the US has reenergised the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK . This has resulting in some important symbolic moves, such as the removal of statues, and statements of solidarity from University vice chancellors. This can only be the start and this presentation will focus on what a decolonised curriculum might look and what needs to change in the university to enable this to happen.