- Number of attendees – approximately 37 out of 40
- Approximate Ethnic breakdown – 60% Black; 20% Asian; 10% White; 10% Ethnic Minority
- Year of study – 1st Year – 21.4%; 2nd year – 39.3%, 3rd Year – 32.1%; Post grad – 3.6%
- Majority female
- Venue – DMU The Gallery
Initial aims of the event:
- To raise awareness around Decolonising DMU and to get students perspectives on the what a decolonised university would look like for them – This was achieved. Students were introduced to the project, and the journey it is on towards building an anti-racist university and students were able to express their views on the project
- To encourage students to have conversation around race – This was achieved, as students had conversations around race centred around experiences of institutional racism, white privilege and micro-aggressions. The venue added to the conversation as it had great ambiance (With coloured lighting) and the setting felt more like places were students usually have such conversation (e.g. Student accommodation). This made the conversation less awkward and more natural.
- To find students who want to engage in student led activism and want to work with the decolonising DMU team in building an anti-racist university. This was achieved as I was able to get a mailing list and a number of students who are keen on working with me and the team on the Decolonising DMU project.
- Food –The money from the BARC funding (extra funding came from the Decolonising DMU project) ended being used for the food (Pizza, wings and drinks) as I decide I wanted to make my first event just about the experiences of DMU student and what they want to see and do. Therefore, I did not end up get students from other universities (this still in consideration for a future event). The choice of getting pizza worked really well, and the students enjoyed it.
Outline of the Night
- We started the night with an ice breaker/getting to know each other activity which helped students to become more relaxed. This was followed by an introduction to the DDMU (Decolonising DMU) project. Students were given postcards with the Decolonising DMU working definition and an opportunity to review the working definition.
- The main conversation started by asking students about their experiences about how race has affected their education? We heard perspectives from BAME students and white students. Students found this to be almost therapeutic and some felt they were being heard and understood for the first time within the university.
- One aspect of the conversation that went really well was when we went round the room and asked everyone to share either in a few words how race has affected them or to share an experiences. This was a really powerful exercise and everyone participated. From this point the conversation really took off and the conversation became organic.
Overall, the event was a success and students are really keen on continuing the conversation and bringing the conversation to those with the mandate for change. As result I am in the process of planning the next couple of events where students will get to speak to the staff on the Decolonising DMU project and bring their questions and ideas for a decolonised university. Following that I plan to hold a meeting with the university Executives board for them to hear the experiences of BAME students and what they as student want from them.