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On Tuesday 25th October, the Decolonial Conversations Panel and Discussion took place in the Mandela Auditorium. The panel consisted of Dr Esperanza Miyake (Journalism, Media & Communications) and Dr Navan Govender (Applied Language and Literacy Education). Strath Union’s VP Inclusion, Yu-Chu (Kathy) Doong was a panel member and facilitated the conversation.
Decolonial Conversations provided a safe and comfortable space for Strathclyde students and staff to share their thoughts, concerns, and opinions on the important matter of decolonisation. For those who do not already know, decolonising the curriculum is concerned with identifying, acknowledging, and questioning the ways in which colonialism has influenced perceived knowledge and learning.
Pictured: Panelist Dr Navan Govender and VP Inclusion Yu-Chu (Kathy) Doong
If you wish to read more about decolonising the curriculum, Manchester Metropolitan University has a Decolonising the Curriculum Toolkit which is especially useful in providing further insight and guidance.
To start off the conversation, the question “how do we feel about the topic of decolonization?” was posed. The group suggested that culture, society, and relations are impacted by decolonization, not just reading lists and course materials. It was highlighted that there is a requirement to take action to undo the history of colonization and this will require “hyperconsciousness.”
At present there are huge discrepancies between what institutions and groups are saying and what they are doing to contribute towards decolonization. For example, there is limited access to resources and research on minority and ethnic groups in universities across the UK. This can be particularly detrimental for international students for when they wish to carry out research that will benefit them as well as their home country.
Institutions must recognise the need for a holistic approach towards decolonizing the curriculum.
It must be said that decolonization is not just an issue which should be tackled by universities and educational institutions, but something that should be addressed through all aspects of life and society, to ensure the fair representation and inclusion of minority and ethnic groups.
Thanks to Charlotte Eastwood for the great pictures captured at this event!
The marginalized group is always expected to step up, working twice as hard to get recognition or change, in return for little reward or praise. “When you aren't gaining as much as you're giving, that is when power and balances become problematic.” This is embedded in the colonial narrative.
Educating yourself on diversity and inclusion is a great start, as this is not only a requirement in workplaces nowadays, but it is also essential we are conscious of being diverse and inclusive in our everyday lives and decision making.
As students we can get involved by carrying out research on decolonization, invaluable contributions which could make a difference to help educational institutions tackle this hugely important topic. One of the attendees, a fourth-year social work student, did an internship during the summer. They contributed to a zine on the topic of decolonising the curriculum, this is due to be released in the coming months.
There is a newly created Signal chat group for Strathclyde students and staff. This is a safe space for anyone to join, allowing you to share your thoughts and opinions, as well as hear about opportunities to get involved with making change.