EDI Events Strategy

As the University starts to reopen and prepare for students to join or return to us in September, we all recognise that this autumn term will be like no other following not only lockdown but also the protests and actions of the Black Lives Matter movement. I have spoken before about the need to continue our active dialogue around Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) during this challenging time, and our strategic delivery plan provides a clear focus for our work.


I’m more conscious than ever that the current challenges we are all experiencing emphasise the need to continue to engage a wider audience with EDI. This means finding new ways to facilitate the sharing of EDI experiences, ideas and learning and also to encourage challenging conversations and equip our staff and students to have these conversations respectfully in line with our university values. It also means that our events need to reach everyone – not just those who are already engaging in discussion and action in support of EDI. We have invested in and facilitated EDI events for many years. In a ‘normal’ academic year we have been able to meet face to face. 2020/2021 presents different challenges and opportunities to how we might do this. We have shown, as a university, our ability to adapt and embrace new technology to continue to deliver more high-quality interactions, to build relationships and provide experiences and learning in new and novel ways.

I’m delighted to share that the UoN has developed an EDI events strategy to help us to deliver future EDI events in a systematic way whilst being mindful that not all staff or students can or will join face to face events. I’d like to personally thank the many staff and students who have contributed to developing this strategy and am keen for their involvement to continue as we plan and deliver our EDI events in 2020/2021. Whilst developing the strategy, some clear aspirations emerged. We have and will continue to deliver local EDI events to enable departments and faculties to focus on their areas of specialism and need. We will continue to celebrate our recognition months such as Black History Month which shine a spotlight on the issues and experiences of minority groups.

During our discussions we identified the need to do more. We agreed that it is important to deliver a university wide diversity festival for staff and students and alumni to celebrate diversity, build awareness and promote ideas and behaviours to make our university more inclusive. We also wanted to help staff and students to design and deliver local EDI events by developing an EDI events toolkit and better promote key EDI events and dates via an EDI calendar. Our EDI events strategy recognises the principles, themes and practices to achieve this whilst balancing local and central EDI events delivery across the university.

 On 23 June 2020 our BME staff network hosted a virtual discussion with journalist and author Angela Saini who discussed her book Superior: The Return of Race Science The legacy of scientific racism – and how we tackle it. This was very well attended and demonstrated how online events can help us reach a wider and more diverse audience!In October 2020, we will be celebrating Black History Month, as well as supporting National Hate Crime Awareness Week, with a series of events and activities which will be promoted in the coming months. In the light of the recent events surrounding the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, many members of our staff and student community expressed a wish to be more engaged in planning and delivery of Black History Month events, ensuring that we have a diverse set of activities, that include both education, discussions of difficult topics, and celebration of black history. This blog is therefore accompanied by a call for participation for people to join our Black History Month planning committee.

Our first diversity festival will be a two-week ‘light and virtual’ festival in March 2021. I’m keen to involve and engage staff and students in the naming of the festival and the scoping of the events and encourage you to contact Victoria.WaringHR@nottingham.ac.uk, who will be leading the delivery of the festival in 2021, with your ideas and suggestions.Developing a strategy takes time and effort but the real work begins in delivering it. I am delighted that we now have an agreed way forward but very clear that we need to work together in new and novel ways to bring EDI to life.

Sarah Sharples

Pro Vice-Chancelor for Eqaulity, Diversity and Inclusion and People

06 June 2020

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Trent Building
University Park Campus