Call for Living Black in halls focus group attendees!

Two students laughing together.

PAID focus group opportunity for Black students! Our RUSU Black Students’ Officer – Oluwaseun Tijani, Inclusion and Communities Officer – Jem McKenzie, and Postgraduate Research Students’ Officer – Raheem Aminu are running a series of focus groups to research the Black experience in halls. You will be reimbursed for your time and opinions at £13.20 p/h and there will be tea, coffee, and snacks provided. Each focus group will be 2 hours and we are looking to recruit students able to attend all 5 sessions.

Keep on reading for more information!

What is the Living Black in Halls project?

Living in halls can be great fun, you get the chance to meet new people, work out how to live independently, and make some long-lasting friends. However, this is not the case for everyone. We’re aware that there is a lot of work to do in order to make living in halls a positive and safe experience for everybody. This is why we are launching our Living Black in Halls project based off of the Living Black at University report from Unite.

The Living Black at University report detailed 10 recommendations to be taken forward to improve the experience of Black students living in halls. We want to investigate these suggestions and review ways to implement in a way that would benefit Black students. To do this we will be running 5 focus groups at the start of the Spring Term. If you are interested in being a part of this then use the form below to sign up for a focus group session. This is a PAID opportunity (£13.20 p/h) and there will be tea, coffee, and biscuits provided.

How do focus groups work?

We are looking to recruit 10 students to take part in this series of focus groups. Each session will be a group discussion led by Oluwaseun, Jem, or Raheem based off of the Unite research and recommendations, previous research at the University of Reading

What are we going to do with your responses?

The information from these focus groups will be written up in a report by the Living Black working group to be presented to UPP (University Partnerships Programme) and the University. We are also hoping to offer Black students some authorial credits for a separate piece of research from the student perspective to tie in with this work. This secondary project will be dependent on the attendance and outcome of the focus groups.

What are the Unite recommendations?

Unite’s 10 Recommendations:

  • Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to eliminate racism from all areas of the student experience, including student accommodation.
  • Improve acclimatisation and integration activities for all new students and extend the period over which these take place.
  • Introduce meaningful race training for peers and staff.
  • Accommodation providers should confirm a commitment to tackling racism, both in their internal policies and in their student behavioural agreement or charter.
  • Improve the representation of Black people as employees to reflect the diversity of students.
  • Universities and accommodation providers should work together to create intentionally diverse and inclusive student accommodation.
  • Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to ensure mental health and wellbeing support is available, accessible and appropriate for Black students.
  • Ensure there are clear and accessible policies and procedures (including anonymous reporting) that deal explicitly with racism in accommodation.
  • Accommodation providers should routinely collect, analyse and publish relevant data on the racial diversity of their residents and employees, as well as outcomes of reporting and investigation of complaints.
  • Accommodation providers should work to build a relationship of trust with Black students.

How to apply:

If you are a Black student, in any year, who currently or has previously lived in halls, we want to hear from you. For this arc of focus groups we are prioritising students who are currently living in halls. Fill out this application form and we will get back to you ASAP with confirmation.

Apply here: Living Black in Halls Focus Group Application Form

If you have any questions please contact Jem, your Inclusion and Communities Officer, at or Kayleigh, the Student Engagement Coordinator – Welfare and Development facilitating this project, at

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