Student-Led Anti-Racism Projects and Network

Since December 2020, the Education Incubator has been working to support Student-Led Anti-Racism (#SLAR) projects, developed in partnership with the Provost’s Office, the Unlearn Collective, and different departments across the University. The SLAR projects have been designed to empower students to solve problems relating to racial equality, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Exeter and beyond.

In the spring and summer of 2021, the Education Incubator is supporting the delivery of these #SLAR projects by empowering five teams of students to run a series of events and activities, as well as lobby for lasting changes at the University.

On February 24th 2021, we hosted the first #SLAR Network meeting, where we invited staff and students to join to learn about the projects that the students had developed, and hear about how they could get involved. All who attended the meeting would have been struck by how good the projects are, including their scope, vision, and plans for impact and legacy. What perhaps is most notable is how far these projects have progressed since they first received their funding in January.

To put it simply, the student projects are incredible, so we decided we needed to share the videos of their presentations with you, as well as the links to their projects for how you can get more involved. There are also a whole host of blogs already on this site written by these students about the projects and experiences of racism.

The five #SLAR projects include:

  • Decolonise the Politics Curriculum – Alex Westlake, Rachel Appiah, and Sarah Hachem

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We are a student-led initiative that aims to liberate the curriculum from western centricity and potential unconscious bias. We believe this has alienated students and produced graduates whose education failed to represent the diversity of society and academia. Inspired by the work of Penryn students and other universities, in addition to our own experiences, we have identified the need to open a new dialogue to create a catalyst for change on our own campus. This project will evaluate the Politics curriculum: analysing the consideration and inclusion of ethnically diverse academics and perspectives. We believe that education at the University of Exeter should reflect the diversity of its body, it is essential to create an academic space that embraces global thinking. For more information on the project, check out our Instagram account here: @decolonise.exeter.

  • Exeter Policy Clinic – Sundus Quereshi

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Exeter University plans to establish a Policy Clinic. This clinic will focus on key areas of reform – providing students with the platform to engage with the real-world law and policy issues. As part of initiating the Clinic, our team is hosting a series of Immigration Policy seminars. These seminars will feature guest speakers delivering talks related to immigration law/policy. The Clinic also aims to touch upon areas that are either related to or directly influence racism. The aim of these seminars is to educate the students of Exeter about policy issues and provide them with a platform which they can use to get involved in policy reforms.

  • Creative Switch Exeter – Hanife Hursit and Andrea de Jong

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The Creative Switch (@creativeswitchexeter) is a community that spotlights BIPOC creatives, their work, and their experiences at university. Our project challenges the predominantly white spaces within Exeter’s creative circles by sharing the experiences of the minorities within them. We aim to create a diverse arts network whilst simultaneously promoting inclusivity within Guild-affiliated societies. Our page currently provides visual and written accounts of student experiences at Exeter, but we hope to expand our community reach through speaker-based events which will benefit those looking to access creative industries. 

  • Active Together Exeter – Rhianna Garrett, Nina Cunningham, and Manan Shah

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Our project ‘Active Together’ aims to create long-lasting positive effects on the way Exeter students approach discussions about racial diversity within sports societies. We urge the student body to recognise both aggressions and daily microaggression towards students of colour and no longer accept silence as an option. Our mains goals are to provide compulsory diversity training for AU/Guild staff members, create sports inclusivity badges that establish a zero-tolerance policy on all forms of racism to provide safe spaces and promote the voices of students of colour in both sports societies and the university campus. It is essential to make students feel supported and secure when participating in activities that are so crucial to students physical and mental wellbeing.

  • The Roots Resistance – Asha Ali, Clara El-Akiki, Mishaal Javed, Roman Ibrahim, and Arthur Dart

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Last year, the postgraduate drama department created the one-of-a-kind online magazine ‘The Rest of Us, Stories’. Seeking to highlight true expression and experience, The Rest of Us is a collection of articles, poetry, videos and photography of Exeter’s students of colour. This year, we want to continue and expand ROU’s legacy. Once again, we hope to see Exeter’s creative community of people of colour thrive. With a philosophy grounded in anti-racism and decolonial knowledge production, the Roots Resistance is a student-led project that seeks to support the POC community in Exeter. In order to do so, our platform will include a multitude of creative projects from photography, music performance, poetry, storytelling and film. In collaboration with students of colour at Exeter who share our vision, we aim to build a hub of expression limited only by an exclusive commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive community for all. We hope to amplify the voices of our community and ensure due recognition for efforts is provided. The arts is not only a radical and transformative form of expression, but work that takes time, labour and resources. Therefore, we will be paying all artists that contribute. In addition to the creative projects, of which there will be approximately ten in total, The Rest of Us 2021 will be hosting speakers aimed to inspire and inform; creating written content such as research articles and blog posts; and finally hosting a podcast that will verbally articulate experiences and opinions of the current student body and staff. Our goal is to explore how students and staff navigate the space around them. Through creativity, discussion and the exchange of ideas, we hope to share the experience of people of colour at the University in an honest, inclusive and transformative way. Please keep an eye out soon for our upcoming content. In the meantime, should you be inspired to get involved by whatever means, through the creative projects, blog, or podcast, please do not hesitate to contact us

#SLAR Network

Alongside supporting these new projects, the Incubator has also set up a #SLAR Network. The network is a space for students and staff interested in anti-racism projects to meet and discuss current and future opportunities to collaborate and make changes at the University.

The Incubator also has a series of funding opportunities coming up, both for year-long projects and shorter innovation opportunities. We will be opening up the second round of #SLAR funding in April for students to run short events and projects before the end of the summer term, so please do join the network if you would like to meet a group of peers who will help you develop your ideas.

The next network meeting will take place in May, so if you are interested in joining, or to learn more about these projects, please email us at educationincubator@exeter.ac.uk

Decolonising Education Hidden Curriculum Higher Education Incubator Online Learning Project SLAR Projects Students

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The University of Exeter’s Education Incubator scheme. Promoting pedagogic innovation and collaboration with an aim to enhance learning across the University and beyond.

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