Every first-year student at the University of Nottingham will receive a free book on modern slavery this September, as part of a year-long programme by the Rights Lab to help build a slavery-free-campus.
The Nottingham Reading Programme will see students receive a specially designed copy of the book ‘Slave: The True Story of a Girl’s Lost Childhood and her Fight for Survival, by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis. The autobiography tells the story of Mende Nazer’s experiences in modern slavery in Sudan and the UK.
The University’s reading programme was first piloted in 2014 for new students at one of its halls of residence. After a positive response, the programme was rolled out to all of the UK campuses the following year.
The main aim of the programme is for students to learn about something they may not have previously thought about. It also acts as an icebreaker, giving students something to talk about with new friends.
This year’s chosen book will also act as a catalyst to a year-long programme of events hosted by the Rights Lab, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Campus Life office, with the aim of educating students about the issue of modern slavery and empowering them to support the work being done to tackle the issue, and in turn, help make Nottingham’s campus slavery-free.
Organised by final-year undergraduate in Sociology and Social Policy, Amelia Watkins, who is the Rights Lab Slavery-Free Campus Coordinator and Reading Programme Director, the events will be a chance for students to better understand modern slavery and learn how they can contribute to ending it by 2030, which is the target set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There will be opportunities to hear from slavery survivors and world-leading experts.
The events, which are also open to members of the public, will give students the chance to become advocates and get involved in antislavery work.
The first event to kick off the programme will be ‘Survivors in Conversation’ on October 2, where two survivors of modern slavery will talk about how they became antislavery leaders. Places are still available but the event is filling up fast, and registration is necessary.
Beginning in October, there will be a series of lunchtime talks at Lakeside led by experts from the Rights Lab focussing on different areas of modern slavery, a photographic exhibition in the spring, and a campus fun run later in the year.
Professor Zoe Trodd, Director of the Rights Lab said: “By reading this book and engaging with the programme we hope to welcome new students into our University community so that they can feel settled in a place where we push to address those challenges that face the world. This year we will do that by engaging students in the University’s important work to help end global slavery. The Rights Lab and its leadership believe that slavery finally teeters on the brink of extinction, and that we can help to push it over the edge. We are very excited to work with our fantastic student community this year towards that goal of a slavery-free world: including a slavery-free campus and a slavery-free city here in Nottingham.”
Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences said: “The Faculty is pleased to support this innovative year-long programme of events for all students on campus. The Campus Life partnership with the Rights Lab means we can give students immediate access to an existing and continuously developing set of antislavery initiatives. This year, the expanded programme of supporting activities for the Reading Programme includes talks from academics and survivors of slavery, film screenings, workshops, and photography exhibitions. The team has also contacted all schools across the University to ask how they think they might link their academic disciplines to the topic of modern slavery.”
For more information on the upcoming events visit the Nottingham Reading Programme website.
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