Black History Month: Education and Learning

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As Black History Month draws to a close, we are continuing our celebrations, spotlighting Black history, arts and culture throughout the UK. This year we are exploring the theme of “Actions not Words” by reflecting on the roles of education and learning in allyship and building long-term cultural change.

We’ve caught up with Professor Gavin Brown, PVC for Education, to discuss Education and Learning; Professor Brown reflects on the importance of furthering our own understanding of racial inequalities in the UK.

In my role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, I really enjoy the challenge of providing oversight of our teaching and learning offer. With 33,000 students studying more than 450 programmes at the University of Liverpool there’s a lot to consider! But, overall, I’m committed to ensuring that developing knowledge of racial inequalities and considering how racism manifests itself is firmly at the centre of our teaching and learning. Education and broadening understanding are, ultimately, key to us creating a fairer society, which I want our University to be instrumental in.

Widening participation, improving access to Higher Education and diversifying curricula can’t be achieved overnight but we’re committed to taking decisive, far-reaching action for as long as necessary. As we come to the end of Black History Month, I want to share on some examples of how tackling racial inequalities is at the heart of our teaching and learning.

My colleague, Fiona Beveridge, has previously written about our Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS) which works with our partners at National Museums Liverpool to understand historic and contemporary slavery. This academic year, we re-launched our MA in International Slavery. The redesigned programme addresses a growing interest, nationally and internationally, in the histories and afterlives of transatlantic slavery and considers key questions of activism, resistance and protest. This MA allows students to learn more about the way our history changes how we view the present and shape the future, gaining invaluable insights.

I’m delighted that our Management School’s successful partnership with Sky and charity, Kick It Out is continuing for its second year. This provides four fully-funded scholarships for students from Black and other under-represented ethnic minorities in the UK who applying to our prestigious Football Industries MBA programme. Current scholarship-holder, Zain Shaffi, reflecting on his time on the MBA so far said:

“The course so far has brought a new dimension to my football knowledge and passion, learning from lecturers who are both lecturers and professionals in the football industry. The blend of academic work and meeting professionals still in industry, which I feel is invaluable.”

Even outside of the lecture theatre and seminar room, as individuals, we can all take steps to enhance our own understanding of racial inequalities. As we learn from the past, our responsibility in the present is committing to continuously growing our own knowledge by learning from those impacted by racial inequalities. That’s why, every week, throughout Black History Month, our Diversity and Equality Team have been running a prize draw to allow our students and staff to win books which explore key themes in Black History. For example, Consumed by Aja Barber, examines the links between consumerism and climate change, which is already disproportionately impacting the Global South. There’s still time for you to enter the prize draw here.

Finally, a reminder to follow @LivUniEquality for ideas and inspiration on books to read and events to attend for Black History Month – and beyond.