Diversity Festival and Race Equality Charter (REC) Update

Students chatting and smiling

The Diversity Festival has been an amazing opportunity for us to fully celebrate our diverse university community and city and to acknowledge the breadth of work that is happening to ensure that we embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the heart of everything that we do.

In the past two weeks there have been fantastic events, exhibitions, displays, interesting and challenging conversations, and an ongoing commitment to encourage our staff, students and wider community to truly be their authentic selves whilst they work and study with us.

The festival demonstrates the multifarious ways in which Equality, Diversity and Inclusion touches peoples’ lives from their own lived experiences, or from the experiences of colleagues, friends or family. Whereas traditional equalities work has tended to focus on just one single protected characteristic, the Diversity Festival highlights the intersectional nature of equality work as no one person is just one protected characteristic.

My aim in establishing the Intersectional and Inclusion Oversight Group is to ensure that the thematic nature of equalities has a central point in which to report progress and build on the intersectional nature and connections of their work. In addition, the Intersectional and Inclusion Oversight Group will be able to focus attention on work, initiatives, and ideas that may not fit within these more well-established equality thematic areas – which reflects the aspirations of the Diversity Festival. My hope is that the Intersectional and Inclusion Oversight Group becomes a beacon for new innovative equality work that leads on best practice within Higher Education.

Over the course of my next few blogs, I will be introducing the Theme Leads for each of the steering groups. However, as it is a year since the University of Nottingham achieved Bronze status from AdvanceHE, I wanted to reflect on what has happened with the Race Equality Charter (REC) since the announcement and to introduce the Race Equality Theme Leads as Professor Jasmeet Kaler, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Director of Equality Diversity and Inclusion, and Eli Todorova, EDI Coordinator.

As the Race Equality theme Leads, Jasmeet stated ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to be the theme lead for Race. As a member of REC successful bronze submission self-assessment team, I am aware of challenges around racism and inequality within the university that we need to address. I am committed to work with colleagues to deliver our action plan and believe that thematic approach for EDI will advance our progress in delivering those actions by allowing us to work more collaboratively and by setting clear priorities’.

Eli added, ‘I am excited to have this new structure in place and I hope it helps us focus and accelerate our university-wide race equality work. This is a topic I am hugely passionate about, and I hope that we can harness the existing expertise and commitment across the institution to make progress and deliver our action plan.’

Jasmeet and Eli are leading some work, alongside other theme leads, to review and define our themed priorities for 2022/2023.

In the past year, the Bronze REC Implementation Group was established, which is co-chaired by Professor Todd Landman, UEB member and Professor Emmanuel Adegbite, staff representative. The group has 17 members that represent different faculties, schools, departments, and job families as well as five ex-officio roles that support the group. The group is responsible for ensuring the implementation and delivery of the REC Action Plan and that they capture intersectional actions. The focus of the group over the last year has been establishing some of the foundational activities that will help to embed change in the university over the next five years. Todd Landman stated:

‘As Co-Chairs of the Bronze REC Implementation Group, Emmanuel Adegbite and I are proud to lead this work for the university, but we recognise that to become an anti-racist university it is not one single action which will change our culture, but multiple sustained actions that happen as business as usual to embed significant change in our organisation. As we reach this one-year anniversary, we are delighted with the excellent work that the group is doing to achieve racial equality and we will continue to ensure that we capture all race equality work and activities that may sit outside the REC Action Plan while paying attention to the intersectionality and cross-cutting nature of our EDI actions.’

In addition, Eli Todorova was also appointed as a member of AdvanceHE’s Race Equality Charter Governance Committee. This is an important link for the university as Eli will be able to provide the Bronze REC Implementation Group with assurance and guidance of AdvanceHE’s vision for REC.

The university has appointed Dr Nagamani Bora as the academic lead for both the Degree Awarding Gap, and Student On Boarding Module Convenor roles. These are two key roles which will help the university understand and tackle the degree awarding gap for racially minoritised students and introduce a new introductory student module on anti-racism. Since her appointment Nagamani has been working with faculties and students to explore the degree awarding gap for racially minoritised students and preparing a trial module for on-boarding of new students to be launched in 2022/23.

In addition, we have also appointed Kam Bhupla as a HR Project Officer to help facilitate the HR Actions within the REC Action Plan. Kam and the HR team are working on recruitment actions which will help the university progress it’s inclusive recruitment agenda, incorporating actions from both REC and Athena Swan.

Activity includes development of recruitment panel guidelines which are aimed at improving the diversity of our recruitment panels and progress towards developing an inclusive recruitment brand which better reflects the inclusive aims of the university. We have also made system improvements which facilitate anonymised recruitment as the default for all of our professional services roles and we will be actively working on approaches to enable the same principles to be applied to academic recruitment in due course.  

Through the Sphere Programme Board, REC funded the following projects:

  • How and what should we teach about ethnicity in pharmacology?
  • The faculty of medicine and health sciences inclusive curriculum toolkit 
  • Crowns: an exhibition celebrating hair and head coverings (which was part of the Diversity Festival)
  • Improving the research career pathway for BAME in the Centre for Children and Young People’s Health Research (CYPHR)
  • Ghost empire: British colonial laws & LGBTQ+ rights

As part of REC Action Plan, the university has also agreed Key Performance Indicators that will measure ethnicity at an institutional and faculty level.

I want to extend an enormous thank you to everyone involved in the Diversity Festival for their time and commitment and to everyone who is doing work within the REC space. 

Keynote Events from this year's festival are now available to watch on the festival hub for those who missed out on the live events.


Katherine Linehan

Monday 4 July 2022


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Trent Building
University Park Campus