“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers 1963
Yesterday signified a heroic day. I submitted by dissertation, which marks end of my studenthood at University of the Arts London (UAL) – after over 4 and a half years… It’s been a roller-coaster journey to say the least!
When I started UAL in 2012, my attitude was to get a degree and leave. No extra curricular engagement, no intention of using the vast facilities available to students. It was seeing a students’ union poster that read “who represents you?” to which my immediate response was, well none of you do, none of you look like me!, that the awakening that Baldwin speaks of inspired a change of attitude. I took up the challenge of advocating on behalf of other black and marginalised students at UAL, through elected roles such as the African Caribbean Society President, LCC Officer and recently setting up Diversity Matters.
Whereas these extra curricular roles have been therapeutic for channeling my own frustrations regarding representation, taking on the role of the activist for a largely marginalised group (black and minority ethnic students are +20% less likely to gain a 1st or 2:1 at UAL) whilst studying fill time took a toll on my wellbeing and studies. The balance between suggesting to the university things they can do to support students like myself, and taking on the role to implement them single-handedly (which frankly is a full-time paid role someone – or more – in university), was almost none existent.
That said, I’ve developed skills and experiences outside my course I most certainly wouldn’t have had, had I passed the first year round (perhaps my only reassurance!) My dissertation ‘Diversity Matters “Let’s Talk About Race: Evaluating the use of videography as a platform for discussing race matters of BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) students and staff at the University of the Arts London‘ will be available upon request once marked and the results released. In the meantime please feel free to watch and share the supporting artefact to the dissertation “Diversity Matters: Let’s Talk About Race” pt1 & pt2 (Draft, final edit available upon request).
From January 2016 I will be available for diversity related projects, videography project commissions, collaborations or related opportunities. Please email me at email@example.com
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Thank for your support,
Diversity Matters founder and events organiser
We’re looking for creatives to join our team! CLICK HERE to find out more