Let the photographs on display in the University Library foyer tell you ‘a thousand words’ about student life for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at the University of Reading … and how it could become more inclusive. You can also view the images and join the conversation online on Instagram at UoR Life Through a Lens.
Throughout 2018/19, seven BAME students studying literature and languages took part in the project ‘A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens’, commissioned to better understand their challenges and generate suggestions for how to make the University more inclusive. Project participants were tasked with taking photographs that reflected their experiences of UoR student life, as well as preparing a short accompanying commentary. These are now on display in the University Library foyer until Friday 5 July 2019.
Participants reflected at focus groups on their own and others’ images and experiences. They reported a strong feeling of isolation and lack of integration prior to the project, and that there were not enough activities at Reading promoting awareness of cultural diversity among staff or students, or enough BAME role-models. Participants recommended a range of actions, including:
- diversifying the curriculum and mainstreaming diversity,
- developing stronger connections with BAME professionals through the University’s Careers service,
- highlighting cultural events throughout the year, and
- improving BAME representation at the University and the Students’ Union.
As a result of participating in the project, students reported an increased feeling of group identity, a better ability to express themselves, and a sense that their voices had been heard.
For the full project report please contact Dr Nicola Abram, who led the project with Katy Green, and Professor Jane Setter (School of Literature and Languages). It was funded by the UoR Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Fund.
Rachel Redrup, Library