Through our services and collections, we can play a part in engaging our students and staff to challenge and broaden individual’s perspectives of what constitutes knowledge and truth.
This work supports UWE Bristol’s position on decolonising the curriculum. It also supports and reinforces UWE Bristol’s wider inclusivity aims to embed inclusive pedagogies (methods and principles of teaching), practices and culture through an institution-wide approach to building an inclusive university.
What do we mean by diversifying and decolonising?
"Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance."
- Diversity is the presence of difference. It is “about recognising, valuing and respecting all forms of difference in individuals” (CYLYX, 2020), whether these differences are visible or invisible.
- Inclusion is “about all the ways we can embrace and harness these differences in order to create cohesive communities and effective workplaces.” (CYLYX, 2020)
- Decolonisation, at its most basic, is the undoing of colonialism, meaning institutionally and individually acknowledging that the impacts of colonialism are prevalent and taking action. Colonisation and resultant white privilege are about structures and power. In that dance analogy, whose party is it? Remaining colonial thinking is about who gets to choose the guests and the music to play.
What are we doing within Library Services?
- We support inclusive reading lists and collections, by providing advice and guidance to faculty colleagues and by engaging students in these discussions.
- We work towards diversifying and decolonising our teaching material to expose our students to different perspectives and issues, whilst developing their critical thinking.
- We support training and development of our staff in their understanding of decolonisation, diversity, and inclusion.
- We explore and share best practice at UWE Bristol and beyond.
- We support internal dialogue about the understanding of, and shared values in addressing white privilege, seeking to eradicate attainment gaps, and calling out misguided practices.
Decolonising my reading list campaign
The 'Decolonising my reading list' campaign is brought to you by the Library and Students' Union. We aim to ensure that the library collection and reading lists speak to all voices, particularly those that are traditionally underrepresented in curricula and on reading lists. We are inviting everyone at UWE Bristol to suggest diverse authors that can be added to the library collection and reading lists.
This is a collaborative project between students, teaching staff and the library team to create decolonised and inclusive reading lists to better represent the identities and experiences of our student body.
This campaign doesn’t aim to eliminate white men from your curriculum, instead, it focuses on challenging the longstanding bias which limits how we understand learning, politics, society and the world around us. When the reading lists offered to our students are white male dominated, this exposes our students to a skewed perspective on who is an intellectual authority and who deserves attention. Our aim is to ensure all students can see themselves reflected in the curriculum they are being taught and to be able to identify with sector leaders regardless of their background and from all backgrounds.
- This will contribute to the University's strategy to eliminate the BAME attainment gap.
- Involves students as partners in co-creating their reading list.
- Helps staff who don't know how or where to start decolonising their reading lists.
How can I suggest a title for my reading list?
- Research diverse authors you would like to see on your reading list. Authors must be highly-knowledgeable in their field.
- Consult with your Faculty Librarian and lecturers.
- Complete the request form
Once approved by your module leader or lecturer, the book will be added to your reading list.
The Zine Project
What is it?
The Students’ Union and the Library at UWE Bristol are working together to create a platform for students to share their experiences and thoughts related to the topics of decolonisation and diversity. This zine project will represent the students’ voice for the Attainment Gap project, addressing the different themes of the project such as Talking about Race and Decolonising the Curriculum.
The zine will provide a cross-disciplinary platform for students and staff to share their stories, comments, views on diversity at UWE Bristol and beyond, with a strong focus on decolonisation. Being cross-disciplinary will allow readers to gain awareness of how diversity (or the lack of it) affects all parts of our society. The content will not be restricted to standard articles but is open to creativity using different forms (eg photos, poems, stories, illustrations, podcasts, etc.).
Launched at Black History Month, students will be able to submit their entries during the Autumn term, until Saturday 5 December 2020.
Support for teaching staff
If you're a staff member interested in decolonising and diversifying your module reading lists, you can find more information on the staff intranet in the Inclusive Curriculum and Practice toolkit collection.
You can also contact your Subject Librarian for support.