Activism, Critique

Now published – The Business School is Racist: Act Up!

Dear friends, comrades, and colleagues,

We write this message in the midst of a state of emergency that has galvanized anti-racist organizing led by Black communities in the United States and internationally, in parallel with a multi-regional politics of survival led by Indigenous, Muslim and Dalit communities across all continents. 

In this wretched yet dynamic state, we share with you a piece of writing that we started almost a year ago. We could not have foretold the acute context in which our polemic would appear when published, but it is clear to us that it is as relevant today as it was last year and will be for future crises to come.

In our collective essay, The Business School is Racist: Act Up!, we outline the contours of institutional whiteness and racism as it configures in our places of work and learning. Although we speak from, and remain rooted in our local national contexts, our critique also aims to foreground the global nature of racialised oppression. We use the platform we have in this piece to call our fellow scholars of colour to recognise the ways Business Schools are not only structured by white supremacy, but actively de-value the knowledge and experiences of people of colour (PoC)*.

Alongside this recognition, we centre the need for collective action led by scholars of colour to build intergenerational support systems to dismantle racialised power structures and destabilise racist knowledge production as they appear locally and transnationally. We honour and build upon the tradition of Black, Indigenous and PoC scholarship that has laid the foundation for such critique. White scholars are invited to listen and learn from this call.

The practice of writing collectively has been structured by our experiences and knowledge of BARC organising. And so, it is with gratitude to you and your contribution to our collective work that we invite you to read the piece.

You can access the essay online here.

If you do not have institutional access to this essay, then please let us know and we can share the final version of the paper with you via email.

In solidarity,

The BARC collective

* We note that the phrase “people of colour” / “scholars of colour” is a contested term; we use it here in a solidaristic way to include Black, Indigenous and people of colour, recognising that the acronym BIPOC commonly used in the US is entering usage but is still poorly understood in the U.K. context, and that the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) term typically used in the U.K. is unhelpful for creating alliances.

Workshops

Register now: Organising for Liberation Weekender, 15-16 June 2019 #org4lib #barcworkshop

15-16 June 2019 – REGISTER HERE

9.30am-5pm, Saturday 15 June – Sunday 16 June 2019
Carnegie Hall, Leeds Beckett University, Headlingley Campus

Co-hosted by BARC and Prof Shirley Anne Tate of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University.

Decolonising work within higher education has been gaining profile and momentum in both national and international universities.

But the discussion can often be confined to the re-working of course curricula which, whilst valuable, leaves unchallenged other important ways in which the learning environment are structured by the privileged norms of whiteness. Moreover, this approach can mean the decolonising project falls foul of becoming a tick-box audit exercise.

Over the course of this two day workshop, we invite participants to engage with us in re-imagining the classroom as a broader set of embodied relations and dynamics that have the power to perpetuate or to disrupt racism:

What is an anti-racist space? We will reflect deeply on this simple yet provocative question as we move forward in our work that develops the theoretical tools for our times that can be used to dismantle white supremacy in the classroom.

We build on Tate and Bagguley’s (2017) conceptualisation of the anti-racist university as a ‘contact zone’ where different people and ideas might be brought together in non-hierarchical relations to (re)form one another. We ask:

  • What does an anti-racist classroom look like? What does it feel like?
  • Who is understood to be a ‘good’ student, and how do they transform over the course of their degrees?
  • What alternative philosophies can we draw on to envisage and embody anti-racist spaces, practices, and relations to one another?
  • Do we have the language to imagine it, construct it, demand it?
We will work with an artistic, participative methodology to develop a programme of activity that promotes reflexive thinking, discussion, and community-building.

Fees: We propose, for those who are able to access funds, an optional sliding scale solidarity fee (£20, £40 or £60) which will be used subsidise costs – please email us at to let us know you would like to contribute and we will send you details.

Participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation but we do have a limited number of £50 bursaries available for attendees from NARTI institutions (see below). To apply for a bursary please email Joanne Garrick.

Daytime meals are included (Saturday: Breakfast, lunch; Sunday: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea). On Saturday night we will plan to go out somewhere for dinner together.

Spaces are limited to 30 participants. The event is sponsored by the Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI) and thus targeted at business and management staff and students from NARTI institutions, but all scholars and students involved in decolonising and anti-racist work are encouraged to apply.

NARTI institutions: Keele University, Durham University, University of Hull, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds University, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, University of Huddersfield, University of Manchester, York Management School, Lancaster University, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield University, University of Salford, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Lincoln. 

We aim to make this event as accessible as possible; please contact us with any accessibility needs that would support or enable your participation. 

To register for the event, please click here.

Follow updates on Twitter: @CollectiveBARC #org4lib #barcworkshop

Thank you and we hope to see you there!