Brought to you by the Pedagogies for Social justice project at the University of Westminster, the ‘Decolonisation and Anti-Racism’ Study Group aims to foster the learning and dialogue that is needed in our efforts towards social change in higher education. By facilitating the analysis and discussion of certain texts and media which in turn encourages us to question our own ideas and practices, this group can help members develop their understanding of race, coloniality, and the educational systems that continue to disadvantage underrepresented groups and erase their knowledges. From that point, we might begin to engage in the collaborative process of dreaming alternative futures where we can co-exist and succeed. By learning, critiquing, and dreaming together, we hope to foster new, genuine relationships and fruitful discussions, as a means of challenging the ways academia has come to be understood and at times, taken for granted.
This open up this study group to both students and staff from all levels of understanding of decolonial and anti-racist work. In welcoming faces from across the schools and departments, we hope to create and maintain a multidisciplinary safe space in which members can express themselves, but also be supported when unlearning and rethinking is necessary. In accepting this invitation, you are accepting an opportunity to ask questions, share critiques and exchange ideas with like-minded individuals, but also be a part of a transformative project that aims to develop new and critical ways of understanding our institution.
Please ensure you are using your University of Westminster email to sign up to each session via Eventbrite. We cannot accept external emails or guests at this time.
The sessions are led by the following students:
Kyra Araneta – International Relations MA
Having recently completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology at Westminster, Kyra has continued her studies for a Master’s in International Relations. As a woman of mixed African-Asian descent, identity work has been a complex task for Kyra, but nevertheless a process that has also inspired her efforts towards creating decolonial and anti-racist tools and spaces in the academy. Approaching her final years in education, she hopes that her work on the project can help to transform the ways we think about and engage with pedagogy at Westminster.
Tino Rwodzi – Biomedical Science BSc
In her final year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Westminster, Tino intends to continue her career in the world of biomedicine and healthcare. Tino has a keen interest in merging all disciplines and a belief that multiple perspectives are key for social progress. Born in Zimbabwe; she has been inspired by the voices of black writers and academics, taking inspiration to make science anti-racist and accesible. As a young woman navigating identity, in her final year she aims to draw on her own personal experience to create tools that forge a safe, open and de-colonial space at Westminster.
Shivangi Sen – Multimedia Journalism (Broadcast) MA
Pursuing her Master’s degree in Journalism, Shivangi has always been interested in the fine workings of society and how different communities interact with each other. She believes that the histories and cultural differences do not create a divide but can actually facilitate bringing everyone together to build a better functioning and more tolerant world. Through her work she hopes to bring forth the stories of Asian communities, their sufferings and how marginalisation has changed the course of their lives in order to promote a deeper understanding of the intricacies of their history and culture. Coming from India and being a former student of Literature, she understands the power of narration and the importance of stories in creating an environment that is conducive to growth and positive change. By sharing the experience of her community, Shivangi aims to help build a space in Westminster that will be more appreciative of the differences of various cultures and will serve as an example to inspire students of all ethnicities and social groups.
This study group session was dedicated to questions concerning Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, but a concept explored by many Black feminist writers and freedom fighters. We discussed the multiple forms of oppression (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, islamophobia etc.) and how they create different modes of discrimination and disadvantage as they are not only important to our understanding of injustice, but how we understand and navigate our own identities within the university and wider society.
2. On “Insta-activism” — Social media and political activism
This study group session was dedicated to “Insta-activism” to focus on how the Instagram platform has emerged as a new space for political activism and consider the implications.