UK HE is a prominent sector characterised by a homogeneity that fails to reflect social diversity, particularly in terms of ethnicity, gender and social class. For example, a UCU 2019 report recorded that of a total number of professors in the UK, those self-identifying as ‘Black’ numbered just 85 individuals, and of these a mere 25 were women.
Recent HESA (2020) data confirms that less than 1% of UK professors self-identify as Black. Unsurprisingly, some refer with horror to the overwhelming ‘hideous’ whiteness of academia. This alarming lack of representation among minority ethnic groups in HE not only exemplifies a dereliction of social justice, but is demonstrably counterproductive to the academy across every area of scholarly endeavour, including inclusive pedagogy. The Race Equality Charter under AdvanceHE offers a valuable tool towards remedial action, but without direct debate, will towards and strategies for root-and-branch sector change, such charters are unlikely to create the necessary traction.
This Women’s Academic Network Q&A Panel discussion brings together four eminent women scholars from different minoritised ethnic groups, as well as a representative from the Bournemouth University Student Union (SUBU), who are all working within the broad areas of racialisation/ethnicisation and social inequalities. Each panellist will bring their own particular research expertise and intellectual and experiential understandings to a grounded, candid and in-depth discussion of diversity in contemporary HE.
- Professor Kalwant Bhopal is Professor of Education and Social Justice Professor of Education and Social Justice Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham
- Professor Ann Phoenix is Professor of Psychosocial Studies, at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education
- Dr Samantha Iwowo is the Programme Leader of MA Directing, Film and TV at Bournemouth University
- Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London
- Ms Chiko Bwalya is the Education Vice President of SUBU, the Bournemouth University Student Union
- Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Professor of Social & Cultural Diversity, WAN Convenor, Bournemouth University