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The Unlearn series at ARU

Because race equality sits with you

The word unlearn with 'un' crossed out

ARU’s Diversity and Cultural Change Team (Student and Library Services) invites you to our upcoming Lightbulb sessions. Part of the Unlearn Series at ARU, the Lightbulb events bring experts from a range of fields to speak on the theme Race on the Intersection.

Lightbulbs are open to students, staff and the wider public.

Upcoming Lightbulb sessions

Race, Gender and Class Intersectionality 

Celebrating Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month

Please note that the sessions include reference to lived experience of racism and racialised harassment.

Given the sensitive nature of the topics we will be covering, and inspired by the ARU Inclusivity Reading Group, we offer the following ground rules:

  1. Be willing to acknowledge that racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression exist.
  2. Recognise that we all have different starting points in learning about racism and structures of oppression. No one is an expert. People at all points of the learning journey are welcome.
  3. Practice empathetic listening.
  4. There is no pressure to speak or to share your lived experience.

At ARU, we are committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and encourages allyship, whilst maintaining a supportive working, learning and social environment for all students and staff.

We welcome you to #unlearn with us.

Since 2022, ARU’s Diversity and Cultural Change Team (Student and Library Services) has been running the #unlearn series; developed to explore topics related to race equality with the aim to achieve genuine cultural and institutional change.

"We’re committed to securing racial equality at ARU. Nothing less is acceptable."
Roderick Watkins
Vice Chancellor, ARU

The Unlearn series includes a range of offerings including Lightbulb sessions, which are open to ARU students, staff, and now, the wider community. These sessions are designed to encourage racial literacy and improve our cognizance of the ways in which racism manifests. The events are organised and funded collaboratively by teams across the University including the Race Equality Advocates, Faculty Race Equality Leads, Anglia Learning & Teaching, Staff Inclusivity Networks and more.

In its first year, the Unlearn series reached over 2,000 staff and students, attending at least one of the four types of sessions on offer:

  1. Lightbulb: Awakening to the reality of structural racism with external and internal experts.
  2. Contextualise: Understanding how institutional racism works at ARU.
  3. Educate: Understanding the different forms racism takes, fostering a desire to catalyse change.
  4. Diversify: Developing skills and tools to diversify courses and delivery at ARU.

The Unlearn Series was designed to fulfil commitments within our Race Equality Strategy and Bronze Race Equality Charter Award.

If you are interested in learning more about our commitments to this work, you can view our dedicated page on Race Equality at ARU.

International Cultural Competence
21 May 2024
Speaker and internationally educated nurse Patience Bamisaye spoke to the international student experience and the issues they may face such as communication struggles and culture shock. Patience also highlighted the importance of preparing managers, mentors and lecturers to facilitate adequate adaptation through cultural awareness, knowledge and sensitivity. The talk touched on various strategies to support international students and nurses. The event featured a panel consisting of a combination of international students and internationally educated nurses.

Anti-Racism's Lightbulb Moment: Institutions, Reform and Radical Change
30 April 2024
In this exciting and thought-provoking talk, Dr Adam Elliot Cooper discussed his recently published book, Black Resistance to British Policing. Dr Cooper detailed the poignant activism that laid the foundations for political movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement. He analysed racism beyond prejudice and the interpersonal – arguing that Black resistance confronts a global system of racial classification, exploitation, and violence.

Unlearn: Race on the Intersection - Black Women of Faith as Activists
24 January 2024
Reverend Canon Gale Richards explored the 'diversity of beliefs within and between faith groups.' Following that, Gale delved into UnLearning, examining it through the lens of the stories of Black women of faith who have been at the forefront of race equality activism. Gale also shared research findings from her own study on the lives of Black British Christian women, touching on womanist theory and its impact on Black British Christian women.

Additional Lightbulb events delivered for staff and students at ARU (internal events delivered in 2022/23)

  • Aisha Richards, 28 June 2022: Awakening to the reality of structural racism in our society.
  • Nathan Ghann, 8 June 2022: Tools for enhancing the curriculum to increase racial inclusion, engagement and reduce gaps.
  • Dr Gurnam Singh, 16 December 2022: Awakening to the reality of structural racism in our society.
  • Dr Marie Stewart, 7 June 2022: Understanding the barriers faced by students of colour in STEM subjects.
  • Professor Jason Arday, 12 October 2022: Awakening to the reality of structural racism in our society.
  • Dr Marie Stewart, 22 November 2022:Institutional racism in higher education and its impact.
  • Dr Marie Stewart, 22 March 2023: Institutional racism in higher education and its impact.
  • Professor Jason Arday, 12 May 2023: The ways structural racism manifest in our society.
  • Dr Marie Stewart, 26 October 2023: The intersection of race and gender in higher education.