ConveRACEions is a project set up by PhD students in the School, in collaboration with Dr Rosie Stenhouse and supported by the School of Health in Social Science Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. This initiative aims to discuss and dismantle barriers to racial equality, as well as ways of moving forward.
ConveRACEions involves a series of monthly talks, where guest speakers are invited to give one-hour-long talks on their research and/or experiences with racial and equality issues within (and outside) academia. In 2021, this project was supported by the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Student Project Grant. In 2022, this project was supported by alumni and friends of the University of Edinburgh through the Student Experience Grants scheme.
The events are open to everyone, and are designed as an accessible, safe and respectful environment to present thoughts and ideas, as a way of actively working towards racial equality and social justice.
Up and coming
This month, ConveRACEions is delighted to invite the EUSA Liberation Officers (of the academic term 2021-22) as our guest speakers. The event will take place via Zoom on Thursday 28th of April 2022, from 4pm - 5:30pm BST.
Further details to follow.
Dr Ibtihal Ramadan’s talk discussed findings from her research undertaken at the University of Edinburgh, along with a paper that is currently under review. The talk focused on the associations between Islamophobia and racism, drawing from the experiences of Muslim academics who are trying to push boundaries in order to break negative stereotypes and to challenge normative ideas of Muslim academics in British academia. Dr Ramadan’s talk drew from the conceptual framework of critical race theory.
While she was completing a research fellowship at Moray House School of Education here at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Ibtihal Ramadan examined the experiences of Muslim academics working in the Arts, Humanities and Social Science disciplines at UK universities.
In this talk, Rayya shared her experience of having a complex national and cultural heritage and how she has been able to understand and navigate the different identities she inhabits. Drawing on the portrayal of Arabs by British colonial ’scholars’ as well as contemporary events in Israel/Palestine, she explored how colonisation and colonially are forces that have shaped both the history and present of the region. Through this journey, she talked about the tensions of being a supporter of Palestinian rights with the anti-racist commitment she holds. This has been particularly challenged in recent time with the escalation of oppression, dispossession, and erasure of East Jerusalem, particularly Silwan, where Rayya’s father was born and the family have lived for centuries.
Rayya Ghul is the academic lead for the Edinburgh Teaching Award. She is the child of two displaced persons with a Palestinian father and Silesian mother and she grew up in Scotland.
This talk was not recorded. If you would like further information, please contact the ConveRACEions team at ConveRACEions@ed.ac.uk
This October, ConveRACEions celebrated Black History Month!
Our guest speaker for Black History Month and ConveRACEions’ first anniversary was Aisha Janki Akinola who talked to us about her engagement for minority students' welfare and BlackED's journey in getting the 40 George Square renamed. This month's event included a live interview followed by an open Q&A session.
Aisha is the current Vice President Welfare of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association. She studied her A levels at an all girls school in Ghana which seeks to empower more young girls from across Africa to enter into STEM fields. Having graduated from the school with a fully funded scholarship to study her dream course; Architecture at Edinburgh University, she continues to engage in conversations around equality, diversity and inclusion. She recently co founded the BlackED movement; an organisation pushing for a truly anti-racist culture at Edinburgh university alongside 6 other ambitious black women.
Please note, this session was not recorded.
In this talk, Dr Ashlee Christoffersen discusses different ways of applying Black feminist theory of intersectionality - that inequalities are mutually constituting and ultimately indivisible from one another - in different fields: empirical research, equality policy and ‘practice’ (particularly the work of third sector organisations). Her talk draws links between these fields since operationalising intersectionality requires work within and across these areas - and illustrates this through thinking about how intersectionality can be applied to considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on her research into understandings and uses of intersectionality, this talk critically considers both its misuses and possibilities.
If you would like to access a copy of the slides from Dr Ashlee Christoffersen’s presentation from this event, please email the ConveRACEions team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Video: ConveRACEions with Dr Ashlee Christoffersen
- ConveRACEions with Dr Ashlee Christoffersen
What enables and what impedes? Too often, action becomes compromised as people fear getting the terminology wrong and become side-tracked with what is the right term to use to describe people. There are also debates about whether concepts like white supremacy or white privilege are used too glibly thereby diminishing important discussions about racism and power. Some would argue that identity politics serve the purpose of distracting from the real issues of systemic discrimination. How important are such debates and how do we ensure pro-action continues as we debate, learn and grow.
Professor Rowena Arshad (CBE, FEIS) is Chair in Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES) Moray House School of Education and Sport at the University of Edinburgh. She is well-known as a race and equality scholar and campaigner.
If you would like to access the recording of Professor Rowena Arshad’s presentation from this event, please email the ConveRACEions team at: email@example.com
Drawing from feminist and critical race theories, this conversation unfolds the experiences of two Yellow migrant women living and working in the U.K. in times of COVID-19. Started with a brief explanation of what it means to be Yellow, we share our experiences of being perceived as hysterical and our fear of being ridiculed and harassed in the beginning of the outbreak. The conversation further examines the racialized discourse surrounding face-covering and anti-Asian racism in both the private and the public spheres. We then conclude by discussing our transformation in times of crisis. We also emphasize the importance of (re)claiming our Yellowness and link such an empowering act to standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now that “decolonising the curriculum” has firmly entered university management speak, it risks being emptied of the history and politics that ground this endeavour. This workshop will be based on the learnings from a research project on “decolonising the business school curriculum” that seeks to return to anti-colonial and decolonial thinking – from which calls to decolonise emerge – to interrogate what can be learned, and must be remembered, in relation to endeavours around curricular transformation.
- Video: ConveRACEions with rashné limki and colleagues
- ConveRACEions with rashné limki, Mini Chandran Kurian, Amira Rahmat & Mally Smith: Decolonising the Curriculum
My aim with this talk is to critique the cultural calculus informing recent events in the United States that involve race, insurrection, and aberrant police behaviour. I explore why the voices of black people, which could have predicted some aspects of what has happened, are often not listened to by mainstream white America. This conundrum, I argue, is entangled in a historically racialized culture that elevates ‘WP’ — a nickname growing in popularity by African Americans for identifying any hint of ‘white privilege’ — as well as emphasizes what I am calling ‘BB,’ an acronym for ‘black bias.’
Barbara is an African American Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh, with extensive activism in social justice issues. She has led a large non-profit social services agency in northern California.
- Video: ConveRACEions with Barbara Becnel
- Recording of the January ConveRACEions Zoom session with Barbara Becnel 'Speaking out about race, insurrection and the police: will you listen now?'
In the summer of 2020, before ConveRACEions evolved to a series of monthly talks with invited guest speakers, the initiative began as a small discussion group and a place to share resources to work towards a more equal and diverse academia. As part of this, we created a working document to share relevant resources (websites, book recommendations, multimedia, articles, podcasts, social media, and more). These resources were originally organised according to the relevant disciplines within the School of Health in Social Science: Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Nursing Studies, and Health in Social Science more generally. We welcome the addition of any new categories or disciplines to the document.
This is a working document, meaning that we welcome everyone to share and add relevant resources in the interest of working together towards a more equal, accessible, anti-racist and diverse academia. Please note, there is no place for racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, or disrespect of any kind in this working document. The ConveRACEions team reserves the right to edit the document where necessary.