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3.9 Aisha and Barbara - listen now

Guests Aisha Janki Akinola and Barbara Becnel talk about Black Lives Matter, speaking up and the mystery of time.

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Transcript for 3.9 Aisha and Barbara.

About our guests

Aisha and Barbara

Aisha Janki Akinola

Chosen object: her clock

Aisha is an architecture student and a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from a small town called Ede in Osun State, Nigeria.

She is Co-Director at BlackED Movement, which was established to work with the University of Edinburgh to improve support for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) students. BlackED was birthed in 2020 by seven Black female students following a successful petition to update the University’s anti-discrimination policy.  

Aisha is a Student Ambassador at Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES), a project funded by the Scottish Funding Council which provides support and information for pupils from groups traditionally under-represented in higher education, who wish to apply to art and design based courses.

She is involved in Nigerian Society, Islamic Society and African Caribbean Society. Her other interests include henna art and jewellery making.   

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

BlackED Movement on Linktree

Aisha's YouTube channel

Barbara Becnel

Alarm clock and t-shirt saying ' I am my ancestors' wildest dreams'
Aisha's clock and Barbara's t-shirt

Chosen object: a piece of mail and a t-shirt saying 'I am my ancestors' wildest dreams', gifted by her granddaughter

Barbara is a social justice activist and author who was runner-up for the inaugural Being Edinburgh Award, which recognises Edinburgh alumni who make our University community proud.

Barbara has over 20 years of experience working for prison reform in the state of California and has written 11 award-winning gang- and drug-prevention books.

From leading an international media campaign aimed at preventing the judicial execution of reformed black gang leader Stanley Williams, to organising an ‘Occupy San Quentin’ rally attended by hundreds in front of the state prison that houses California’s death chamber, she has often shown inspiring leadership and tenacity.

A graduate of the University's online MSc in Social Justice and Community Action, Barbara has returned to Edinburgh to pursue a PhD. Her thesis explores the culture of the condemned and how death row became a symbol of heroism for America’s street-gang generation. Integral to this is her collaboration with three former gangsters who are co-researchers on the project.

Barbara serves on Scotland's Expert Steering Group for tackling racial harassment in higher education.

Barbara's article for AdvanceHE: 'Reflections of an advocate for social justice...'

Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbarabecnel

Being Edinburgh Award

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Host: Richenda Rae

Theme music: Nathan Webb

Producer: Kate Stewart