Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion cards

EDI Cards page - WEBBANNERV1


Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) cards were developed by Peter Craigon, Debra Fearnshaw, Oliver Fisher and Emma Hadfield-Hudson at the University of Nottingham. The development of the EDI cards is an ongoing research project lead by Peter Craigon.  For details on the original development of the EDI cards you can view a recording of a workshop that explained the EDI cards in June 2022.

The 11 guide cards were created by Research Consulting during 2023, and the information on each card is described in the sections below. We hope these cards will help facilitate discussion and support engagement with EDI. Improving issues of EDI is a constant ongoing process which is never done.


On this page:

Start here - this is not a rulebook

These cards are here to be used flexibly, as an aid for discussion and reflection on EDI in a variety of settings.

You do not need to use all the cards.

This guide is not a rulebook. Rather, it provides prompts and suggestions for you to use in your own way, in your own workplace, organisation or context.

EDI Cards - pack of three

Key principles

We hope these cards will be helpful to your engagement with EDI. To help you use the cards, we suggest:

  • Familiarise yourself with the cards. How might they meet your needs?
  • What is the context that you are using them in? Which categories are most useful in this context?
  • Conversations about  EDI can be sensitive. Any activities you do with the cards need to be considerate of everyone’s lived experiences.

More ideas to consider

  • These cards can be used in any way which suits those using them – there are no rules!
  • Developing your own card activities will best help you meet your needs.
  • Other people using the cards may have different lived experiences from yourself and may or may not choose to share them.
  • Ensuring a safe, respectful and welcoming environment during a card activity is important.

EDI Card Themes


The cards contain 12 categories, which can be sorted into four broad themes. These are:


Definitions, Legal definitions 


Protected Characteristics†, Other characteristics, Activity or context†, Inclusion or exclusion†, Industrial digital technologies*

What am I going to do?

Approach†, Measures of success

Complications and Practicalities

Complications, Uncomfortable questions, Digital manufacturing challenges*


† Reduced deck for first introduction, see the introductory exercise card.

* These are for a specific research area and may be put aside.

More ideas to consider:

  • It may be helpful to consider these four themes when designing and carrying out activities and exercises. For example, pick one random card from each theme and discuss.
  • You may also consider using the individual categories separately depending on what you need.
  • You do not need to use the full set of cards. A first step could be to consider which categories are most useful for you. For example, only use the Protected Characteristics, Activity or context, Inclusion or Exclusion and Approach categories. 

Starting objectives and how to get there

Everyone starts from a different place, with different experience, skills, objectives and needs.

Key things to think about when using the cards are:

  • What do you want to get out of the session?
  • What results would you like?
  • What would you like the take home message to be from the session?

Additional factors to consider when using the cards, such as the nature of the attendees and session, can be viewed on the website.

More ideas to consider:

  • When using the cards, you may want to think about:
  • Why do you want to use the cards? What are your needs?
  • Who is using the cards? What experience do they have?
  • What do you want people to do? Discuss? Design? Reflect?
  • How will the session be carried out? e.g., individually, collectively, face-to-face, online, etc.
  • How and when will the sessions take place?

Think about what you want to get out of the session:

  • Education or awareness - e.g., considerations of EDI generally
  • Project or research related - e.g., viewing a piece of work from an EDI perspective

What results would you like?

  • Is a discussion enough?
  • What influence or change would you like to have?
  • How do you measure success?

What would you like the take home message to be from the session? You could encourage people to:

  • Do something different
  • Find something out
  • Ask somebody
  • Consult with others

Introductory exercise


  1. Start with piles of the ‘Activity or context’ and ‘Inclusion or exclusion’ categories, face down.
  2. Draw one card from the top of each pile.
  3. Discuss how these may be related (or not).

Progression steps

  1. Additionally draw a card from the ‘Protected characteristics’ pile.
  2. Consider how this characteristic may or may not be impacted by the other two cards

More ideas to consider:

Further Progression steps

  • Additionally draw a card from the ‘Approach’ category.
  • Consider how this approach may be used to address or may hinder any improvements to scenarios raised by the first three cards.
  • Choose another category you believe may be relevant for your context/team/project and do the same with this.

Alternative ways to play:

  • Deal hands of the additionally chosen categories (Protected Characteristics, Approach etc.) and have team members propose cards they think are relevant or important and discuss.
  • Draw 5 cards of additional categories and collectively rank these by relevance or importance to scenario

Suggested activities 

There are many different actions that you can do with cards that could be used or combined, such as:

  • Pick a card – at random? From a selection?
  • Rank – importance, significance, relevance
  • Discard – Select cards to consider further, discard others
  • Cluster – does a combination of cards mean something different – e.g intersectionality
  • Deal – this is a way of distributing the cards at the beginning of the activity
  • Hands – who’s got the most appropriate card, play from a hand
  • Categorise/ group
  • Start from a project – select cards relevant to a project
  • Start from a card or principle – think of a project relevant to a card
  • Collective – discuss a group of cards
  • Align spatially – where the layout means something along the axis, e.g., rank, alignment



Example activities using the cards

Random Draw 

Pick card(s) at random (from each of the four themes) – with each card that is drawn discuss how this in combination with the others relates to experiences of EDI:

  • Can be shorter or longer session depending on number of cards picked.
  • Consider pre-selecting cards prior to the activity to focus on specific areas that are most important for the session

You can see an example of a Random Draw game in the short video below:

You can find a subtitled version of this video on YouTube

‘EDI by Design’

Define a project or context.

Select cards to:

  • Identify potential positive and negative impacts of the project which relate to EDI
  • Determine ways of maximising positives and minimising negatives
  • Identify practical challenges of implementing these steps

Before = Design
During project = Reflection
After = Review

Case studies and examples of use

‘We used the EDI cards at a diversity event for students, it was great to see how much students engaged with these cards and the room was full of discussion. By randomly choosing cards students were talking not necessarily about issues they faced but were empathetically thinking about problems others face and how they can help address these problems.’ 

Dr Katie SevernAssistant Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences


"We used the cards as a learning reinforcement activity, exploring inclusion by design as well as responding to individual needs in a range of people management contexts. We ran it similar to an ‘in-tray’ exercise. We started by giving groups a couple of context / activity cards to discuss. We then invited them to pick randomly from a pile of Characteristics cards to add to their discussions, and a few minutes later we threw in a few Complications cards. During the debrief, we were pleased that delegates recognised the importance of considering these issues well in advance. As a national organisation, I’m looking forward to being able to deliver similar sessions online using the digital platform".

Lou Silver, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Health Research Authority


See more examples of use

Prepare in advance

Things to think about when preparing your session might include:

  • Ground rules for the discussion.
  • Which cards you want to use? All? Some categories? Selected few?
  • Keeping the activities simple and appropriate.
  • Do you need extra equipment e.g., pens, sticky notes etc. 
  • How are you going to record the activity and what will participants take away?
  • Preparing a short presentation with instructions.
  • How does this activity fit in with others you might do?
  • Will the activity be spread over multiple sessions?


More ideas to consider:

  • Prepare yourself in advance for how you will appropriately deal with potentially difficult discussions and disagreements. It may be useful to research some strategies ahead of the session
  • Prepare information about internal and external sources of support following the session, should participants need this
  • Keep the activities simple and appropriate – can you adapt an already existing activity or process?
  • Extra equipment you might need could include sticky notes, flipchart, pens, etc. These may help structure the task
  • Think about ways you can record the task. This could be done through notes, card selections or recordings. Make sure you have the group's permission to record
  • Preparing a short presentation is a helpful way to start the project – make copies for your participants to independently refer back to
  • It may be helpful to run through a worked example of an activity, for example, the short demonstration video above
  • Can you fit your activity in with others to make them complementary?
  • Think about what is essential to your session and what is less so

Facilitation support

Each session will be different, and the confidence to facilitate discussion will come with experience. Using the cards is similar to other discussion-based activities.

Some tips for facilitating discussion include:

  • Set expectations for a respectful discussion.
  • Provide structure but be flexible.
  • Be comfortable with silences.
  • Provide multiple ways of contributing to the session.
  • Provide a goal or take home message for participants.
  • Embrace the unexpected.
  • Reflect and learn from your experiences for next time

More ideas to consider:

  • Set clear ground rules to create a safe and supportive space for discussion, ensuring that everyone in the room feels comfortable and will be respectful of each other.
  • Everybody should have an equal voice and be encouraged to share as much or as little of their own experiences as they feel comfortable with.
  • Structure the session in advance so you know what to cover but be flexible in allowing time for reflection and questions.
  • Silences do not necessarily mean that people are not listening, thinking or engaged. People may get value out of the sessions without saying much.
  • People don’t always find it easy to contribute to sessions like this. Some people may be quieter but will be listening, thinking and reflecting on the discussions.

  • Provide multiple ways to contribute to the discussion (e.g., written, spoken, anonymously online?).
  • Bring discussion back to the cards if it's going off at a tangent.
  • Questions may come up that you can't answer. That's fine. You are there to facilitate, not to have all the answers.
  • Having a take home message or action is important to ensuring that participants have learnt something.
  • It might be useful to provide statements as jumping off points and then ask people to expand on them.

Take home message

Using the cards should lead to valuable discussions, but how can this be used to progress EDI?

  • What are you and your participants going to do differently as a result?
  • How will you and your participants record and follow up on this?

See this example on how to record some actions [Word file download] as a result of using the EDI cards.

Further resources

Other useful websites:

You may want to discuss with the participants where they can find more support if conversations raise certain issues. BBC Action Line may offer good suggestions for support as well as your university services. 

Share your feedback here

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

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