Racial Justice Fellows
In 2020, technē’s Training Group Committee swiftly recognised the need for a racial justice initiative to support its Black and global majority students after the heinous murder of George Floyd.
In 2021, the RJF team collaborated with Prof Ted Vallance (University of Roehampton) to create the ‘Diversity Hub’. The Hub was initially designed to address the under-representation of students of colour in PGR programmes, especially in Arts and Humanities disciplines. Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) data on studentships from 2013-2021 showed that only 3.46% of awards went to “BAME” applicants. Additionally, a 2020 survey found that under 4% of staff in Classics identified as being from an ethnic minority. Working with academics, students and industry professionals from across the technē consortium and beyond, the RJF team wanted to build the Hub as a digital space to support prospective and current doctoral students of colour, academics and mentors, by offering services such as the Application Surgery, mentoring, academic and non-academic resources, subject-specific directories of Arts and Humanities organisations, networks and communities, and safe-space forums for students and academics alike.
In 2022, as the RJF team prepared to launch the Diversity Hub, they ran racial justice streams at the technē summer congress, at Royal Holloway, University of London, to hear from and raise awareness about the experiences of students and academics of colour in Higher Education. In one of the streams, the RJF team invited three incredible academics of colour, Dr Shzr Ee Tan (RHUL), Professor Ravinder Barn (RHUL) and Professor Dibyesh Anand (University of Westminster), to share their experiences. The discussion was invaluable. They urged institutions to practically support applicants of colour to enter academia through awarding studentships, application support and mentorship. Universities discussing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion issues without implementing lasting, material, systemic change is no longer an option.
The work of RJFs is diverse and crucial, and we thoroughly enjoy it though it is very challenging at times! Ultimately, the RJF team wants the Diversity Hub to genuinely support you, students and academics of colour, with your technē applications, mentoring or just a safe place to chat. The Hub is yours.
Meet the team:
Nour El Gazzaz is a PhD Candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her doctoral research combines Premodern Critical Race Studies and Material Culture Studies to examine the intersectionality of foreign peoples and foreign objects in early English commercial theatre. She is the founding member of the Racial Justice Fellows, a technē EDI committee member and a steering committee member of the Early Modern Scholars of Colour Network, UK.
Khadijah Na'eem is a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research focuses on the Grenfell Tower fire, which she is framing as a state-corporate crime.
Victoria Burgher is an artist and PhD candidate at the University of Westminster. Her practice-based research uses porcelain to expose and challenge whiteness as an interrogation of anti-racist art activism.
Ted Vallance is Professor of History and Director of the Graduate School at the University of Roehampton. He is a member of technē's Management Group and its EDI committee and is the academic lead for the Diversity Hub.
If you would like to find out more about the RJF role, join the team or just chat to us, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org