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Leeds Trinity to bring international race equality experts together for third annual conference

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Race, Equity and Social Justice: Decoloniality of the Academy will take place online on Thursday 24 March, from 9.00am – 4.15pm.

Graphic for Race Equality Conference.

The conference will bring together a wide range of race equality leaders and stakeholders to focus on the impact of colonisation on the student and staff experience, wider communities, and curriculum.

In a significant move for the region, the free event will include a comprehensive mix of keynote talks, workshops and a panel discussion chaired by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Egbu.

Keynote speakers include Professor Heidi Safia Mirza, Professor Emerita of Equality Studies in Education at University College London. Professor Mirza is internationally known for her pioneering intersectional academic research on race, gender and identity. She is author of several best-selling books including Black British Feminism and Young Female and Black, which was voted in the top 40 most influential educational studies in Britain.

Delivered in collaboration with Go Higher West Yorkshire, the conference will also feature Professor Shirley Anne Tate, Professor and Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Feminism and Intersectionality from the University of Alberta in Canada – who was previously appointed the UK's first Professor of Race and Education in 2017 – and Professor of Psychology Mark Mon-Williams from the University of Leeds, in addition to race equality experts from Leeds Trinity University.

Leeds Trinity is the first University in Yorkshire to achieve the Race Equality Charter (REC) Bronze award. It received the award in November 2020 in recognition of its commitment to improving the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff. The institution is now preparing for the Silver award submission in the coming years.

Professor Charles Egbu, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said: “We are delighted to be hosting our third annual race equality conference at Leeds Trinity University. This year’s theme focuses on decoloniality and we are excited to bring together a range of eminent speakers and leaders in this way for the first time in our region.

“As the first and only University in Yorkshire to achieve the Race Equality Charter Bronze Award, we have taken positive steps forward towards race equality in higher education but recognise the progress we still need to make. Conferences like Race, Equity and Social Justice are an important part of continuing the conversation, and we hope that it will be an insightful event that encourages discussion and challenges racial inequity.”

Dr Nadira Mirza, co-chair of the Leeds Trinity University Race Equality Charter Partnership (REC-P), said: “The Race Equality Charter Partnership team at Leeds Trinity is focused on supporting the comprehensive action plan that has been developed to promote inclusion and keep race equality high on the agenda at our University. We are proud to be leading this conversation and encouraging reflection in the sector and look forward to welcoming such a wide range of impressive speakers to the conference.”

Shames Maskeen, Operational Lead for the Race Equality Charter and Postgraduate Researcher (PhD) at Leeds Trinity University, who has organised the conference with Dr Mirza, said: “Institutions like Universities have to be held to account if Black and Minoritised students and staff are to reach their full potential. This conference recognises that race, equity and social justice should be our core business and not negotiable. The mixture of keynotes and workshops will highlight that it is not just hearing the lived experience but to eliminate racial inequity then we should focus on the applied lived experience.”

Following the REC Bronze Award in 2020, Leeds Trinity University received the gold Whatuni Student Choice Award in 2021 for Diversity and Inclusion and was shortlisted for Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Times Higher Education (THE) awards 2021.

As part of its ongoing race equality action plan, the University’s focus over the next three years will be on eliminating the attainment gap for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students, increasing the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic academic staff and supporting their progression, especially to senior roles.

For more information about Race, Equity and Social Justice: Decoloniality of the Academy, visit the Leeds Trinity website.

Register for the conference here.