Anti-racism, Diversity and Inclusion
Programme statement, action plan and key external links concerning Anti-racism, Diversity and Inclusion.
The University of Edinburgh has had a long-standing commitment to promoting equality and diversity, and has actioned this through a number of different initiatives. The School of Health in Social Science has also been very active in this area, and information about this activity can be viewed at The School of Health in Social Science Equality and Diversity webpage. As one example of this agenda, the School of Health in Social Science is very proud to be the recipient of the Athena Swan Silver Award. Another example is the School’s commitment to widening participation. Related to this, the DClinPsychol programme team, in conjunction with its various stakeholders, has for some considerable time committed to addressing the representativeness of our profession through the work of the Selection Subcommittee. In more recent times, the University of Edinburgh, School of Health and Social Science and the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology have all taken action to escalate this work, including a more specific focus on anti-racism.
Over the past academic year, the programme team for clinical psychology training have been ensuring that our work on promoting anti-racism, diversity and inclusivity has been given greater priority. We continue to liaise with the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology (GTiCP) who have set up an Anti-Racism Task and Finish group. This group have established 6 domains of activity: curriculum, placements, selection, relationships within the training community, evidence production and assessment practices and is expected to report by November 2020. There is also a BPS Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. Any work carried out by the programme team and their stakeholders is and will be informed by the recommendations made by these and associated workstreams. However, we have also begun work at a local level. This work has been severely disrupted by Covid-19 and the amount of time required to make immediate adjustments necessary to ensure the ongoing delivery of training in this context. This disruption has been particularly unfortunate given the evidence that coronavirus has disproportionately affected black and minority ethnic people and others from marginalized communities, including in the UK. Over this period, there has also been worldwide protest over the killing of George Floyd in the USA, broad media coverage of other acts of institutional racism including here in the UK and a foregrounding of the issues raised by Black Lives Matter.
These, and other, events have highlighted the prevalence and problems associated with systemic inequity. It is clear that these problems are significant and deep rooted, in broader society as well as within the profession and the University of Edinburgh. Different discriminations – on the basis of race, class, gender, religion, sexuality to name but a few – intersect to create barriers and obstacles to bringing about meaningful progress towards reducing inequalities. Psychological and other forms of research already demonstrate that diverse social inequalities increase the risk for psychological distress and a broad range of poorer mental and physical health outcomes via experiences such as humiliation and shame, fear and distrust, instability and insecurity, isolation and loneliness, being trapped and powerless. The debate should not be about whether or not marginalisation occurs or about the impact of such marginalisation, but about how steps can be taken to bring about change.
There will be no easy fix. Although as psychologists we may claim to have some understanding of how disempowering dynamics operate, the nature of deeply ingrained, systemic biases will mean that many discourses and practices will appear resistant to change. As highlighted above, the programme has worked towards increasing the representativeness of the profession for some years now. However, we recognize that this work needs to go further and that focusing on representativeness is insufficient. We also need to focus on ways to bring about systemic change, not least to ensure that our training community is an inclusive and safe place for all trainees and staff. All too often our society has had a tendency to silence marginalized narratives. Careful thought will need to be given as to how dominant discourses within our training community can be identified and challenged. We need to find space to allow awareness-raising and thoughtful discussions to take place, recognizing that the responsibility for raising issues about marginalization should not solely lie with those experiencing marginalization. It is likely that discomfort and anxiety will be an inherent part of this process. Nonetheless, we do not believe that the status quo can remain unchallenged.
It seems that we are now at a defining moment in our collective social history, but change will not occur overnight. However, we have already started this process. Our training community is committed to challenging inequity, highlighting its impact and promoting anti-racism, equality, diversity and inclusivity. We need to ensure that steady progress is made towards progressing change in line with this commitment. We have already engaged in a number of presentations and initial awareness raising sessions, and begun to collate a wide range of resources in order to educate ourselves and our training community. Many programme team members have also been engaging in specific activities at an individual level.
At the August 2020, the Joint Training Committee for the University of Edinburgh/NHS Scotland clinical psychology training programme approved the Anti-racism, Diversity and Inclusion action plan. This has now been made publicly available below, so that there is transparency about the actions that we are taking and the progress made. The action plan is not proposed as an end-point. Rather, we intend that the broader changes will occur as an iterative process, based on wide-ranging discussions with our stakeholder groups. We commit to progressing these and to continuing to identify actions in all areas of the programme. The action plan will continue to be updated to provide a mechanism of accountability
Dr Helen Griffiths
External links to key organisational responses to Anti-racism