Refugee Week 2021 (14th – 20th June)

by
Dr Allán Laville, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion & Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Alice Mpofu-Coles, Honorary MUniv (OU), PhD candidate Human Geography/Refugee Champion, Community Engagement EDI
Dr Charlotte Newey, Lecturer in Philosophy
Hatty Taylor, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Nozomi Tolworthy, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Associate Professor 

 

 

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It was first celebrated in 1998, designed to coincide with UN World Refugee Day which is marked on 20th June.
At the University of Reading, we want to raise awareness and develop understanding of the lived experience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.  

The theme of this year is We Cannot Walk Alone

Refugee Week’s vision is:

“for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, and anyone can get involved by holding or joining an event or activity. Refugee Week events happen in all kinds of different spaces and range from arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools.”

 

 

City of Sanctuary and the University of Reading

City of Sanctuary is a national movement of local people and community groups committed to creating a culture of welcome and safety, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. The University of Reading first signed the Reading-specific City of Sanctuary pledge in April 2017. The University pledged to support the ‘City of Sanctuary‘ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. Reading was awarded City of Sanctuary status in July 2017. 

This year, we have relaunched the Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme, details of which can be found in this article – University shows support to sanctuary seekers

In addition to the scholarship scheme, we have recently launched the Buy a coffee and support a sanctuary seeker, which means that instead of ordering your usual cappuccino, buy two drinks and leave one in the bank to support local sanctuary seekers and Reading City of Sanctuary! , local sanctuary seekers can visit the cafe, receive a hot drink from the bank and participate in the same café culture we can all enjoy and benefit from at the University.

As refugee week coincides with Pride Month, it is high time to reflect on the discrimination, violence, and persecution that LGBT+ persons face in all corners of the world (70 countries still criminalise consensual sexual relations between men!) causing them to flee and seek safety and freedom elsewhere, including in the UK. The University of Reading is committed to helping refugees and asylum seekers of all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, and religions. Tolerance and acceptance are fundamental to our values, and we feel a deep responsibility to protect and welcome those who have historically been discriminated against, including LGBT+ refugees.

 

 

Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG) 

RRSG are Reading’s local charity dedicated to supporting refugees and asylum seekers. They have been supporting people in the Berkshire area for over 25 years. This year, RRSG are launching a campaign asking individuals and groups to complete seven actions for seven days, which centre around supporting RRSG, joining a national campaign to demand ’Safe routes now’, attending a film screening, making donations, as well as other ways to support the charity, and refugees in the Berkshire area.

They told us: 

“For Refugee Week, we are challenging you to take on  Seven Actions For Seven Days to help refugees living in Berkshire.  We also proudly present a Programme of Special Refugee Week Events celebrating all aspects of refugee strength, culture and creativity. 

Find out more about the challenge and our programme of events here: https://rrsg.org.uk/refugee-week-2021/ 

Please help spread the word and share this far and wide!”

 

 

Activities and Events 

There are also plenty of online events that you can attend to celebrate the contribution of  refugees and people seeking sanctuary, and learn about their journeys:
  • Moving Worlds

Monday 14th June – Sunday 20th June 2021

A programme of films available to watch at home during Refugee Week, produced by Counterpoints Arts, which coordinates Refugee Week nationally.

https://movingworlds.info/ 

 

  • Together Workshops 

Sunday 7th June – Sunday 21st June 2021, 16:30-18:00

Together Workshops from theatre company PSYCHEdelighton the theme of Imagine. 

Refugee Week Drama Workshops 

 

  • Walk with MIRIAM 

Tuesday 1st June – Wednesday 30th June 2021

Join the Walk with MIRIAM challenge in solidarity with refugee and migrant women and girls. 

Sign Up To Walk With MIRIAM 

 

  • Walk ‘n’ Talk Group on Campus 

Wednesday 23rd June, 14:00-15:30 

To book your place, please email cheryl.woodhouse@reading.ac.uk

 

  • Fragments 

A recording of a recent evening of theatre, written and performed by refugees in Berkshire.  

  • Supposed To Be 

A UK Refugee based in Reading who teamed up with @iamjermainebless_official, a spoken word / rapper in Reading to help tell his story.

Click here to watch

 

 

 

  • Reading Community Cup – World Refugee Day Football Tournament 

Sunday 20th June, 10:00-15:00

Venue: D Pitches (located behind the dome), Madjeski Stadium, Shooters Way, Reading, RG2 0FL 

In celebration of International Refugee Day, RRSG are launching Reading’s first Community Cup! Participants will be: Berkshire’s only refugee football team, Sanctuary Strikers FC, along with teams from University of Reading, Thames Valley Police and Reading West, the competition aims: “to promote unity and integration through the international language of football.” 

Teams: Giving Back United (UoR), Reading  West, Sanctuary Strikers FC, Thames Valley Police 

The Reading Community Cup is created in partnership with Reading FC Community Trust, University of Reading, Reading City of Sanctuary and Reading Refugee Support Group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Barriers and Facilitators to University Entry in Disadvantaged Students by Ethnicity

by Dr Ciara McCabe, Director of Outreach and the Reading Scholars Programme in Psychology at the University of Reading.

 

University graduates on average earn more money over their lifetime, spend less time in unemployment and even live longer than their non-university educated peers [1-3]. Therefore the Office for students states that ‘All students, from all backgrounds, with the ability and desire to undertake higher education, should be supported to access, succeed in, and progress from higher education’ [4]. Data taken from the 2020 Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS a UK-based organisation that operates the application process for British universities) reports that those with low socio-economic backgrounds, with a disability, mature students, care leavers and ethnic minorities, are all underrepresented at UK universities [5].

Outreach and widening participation work aims to close this gap by increasing applications from those considered most disadvantaged in society. In line with this, the University of Reading has outlined in its 5-year plan (2020/21 to 2024/5) that access for full-time first-degree entrants from disadvantaged backgrounds is their main focus.

 

 

Previous studies have tried to explain the student experience in those that are underrepresented in higher education but this has been mostly at the undergraduate and postgraduate level[6-10]. Less studies have focused on access to university for those in disadvantaged groups. One large survey ran by UCAS in 2016 on 16,000 UK domiciled applicants found that many students worry about financial implications of attending university and that advantaged students worried more about “fitting in”. Also disadvantaged students worried more about practical things like transport and accommodation [11]. The study also found that more advantaged than disadvantaged applicants said that ‘nowadays, almost everyone goes to university’. Applicants also reported limited access to widening participation programmes in general. There is much less qualitative data on the views of disadvantaged young people about university and even less, about how this might differ between ethnicities.

 

Therefore, we set out to examine views on access through the Reading Scholars Programme, a Widening participation programme for year 12 students at the University of Reading[12]. The programme aims to increase the number of university applications from disadvantaged students (Read the full selection criteria for the programme). As part of a scholars Psychology research project, we asked students about their views on university access and examined if this differed by ethnicity.

We found that Black, Asian, ethnic minorities (BAME) and White adolescents reported similar barriers (financial worries) and facilitators (getting a good qualification) to applying to University. However, there were some differences for example BAME participants stated that ‘having no choice’ was a reason they would apply to university while White participants did not mention this. When asked about studying close by or far away ~60% of BAME students said they would prefer to study close by, compared to 46% of White participants. Plus, only BAME students mentioned studying close by because of financial reasons.

 

This work extends previous studies by reporting the differences between disadvantaged students by ethnicity. Knowing how underrepresented groups differ in their views on the barriers and facilitators to university entry can help us to develop more targeted outreach and widening participation activities.

 

 

 

This blog refers to:
McCabe C, Keast, K and Kaya, SM. Barriers and Facilitators to University Access in Disadvantaged UK Adolescents by Ethnicity: A Qualitative study. Under Review.
Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Whiteknights campus, Global Recruitment and Admissions Advancement Group, London Road Campus, University of Reading, Reading.

 

Referen­­­ces:
  1. Hummer, R.A. and E.M. Hernandez, The Effect of Educational Attainment on Adult Mortality in the United States. Popul Bull, 2013. 68(1): p. 1-16.
  2. Krueger, P.M., I.A. Dehry, and V.W. Chang, The Economic Value of Education for Longer Lives and Reduced Disability. Milbank Q, 2019. 97(1): p. 48-73.
  3. Pfeffer, F.T., Growing Wealth Gaps in Education. Demography, 2018. 55(3): p. 1033-1068.
  4. Office for Students (OFS), Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England. 2018.
  5. Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), 15th January Deadline Analysis. 2020.
  6. Morrison, N., M. Machado, and C. Blackburn, Student perspectives on barriers to performance for black and minority ethnic graduate-entry medical students: a qualitative study in a West Midlands medical school. BMJ open, 2019. 9(11).
  7. Stegers‐Jager, K.M., et al., Ethnic disparities in undergraduate pre‐clinical and clinical performance. Medical education, 2012. 46(6): p. 575-585.
  8. Lynam, S., et al., The experiences of postgraduate research students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic background: an exploratory study. 2019.
  9. Woolf, K., et al., Perceived causes of differential attainment in UK postgraduate medical training: a national qualitative study. BMJ open, 2016. 6(11).
  10. Woolf, K., et al., The mediators of minority ethnic underperformance in final medical school examinations. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 2013. 83(1): p. 135-159.
  11. Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, Through the lens of students: how perceptions of higher education influence applicants’ choices. 2016.
  12. University of Reading, The Reading Scholars Programme, in https://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/ta/Reading_Scholars_Yr12_Brochure_2021.pdf. 2020.
Images sourced from:
https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/advantages-disadvantages-remote-jobs/
https://www.rawpixel.com/image/140559/premium-photo-image-college-students-group-study-academic