Writtn by Ayan Artan
University of Leicester’s students say it is the responsibility of the university to counter previous learning by providing ‘genuine backing’ for student-led programmes like Represent on campus.
Programme creator Heena Karavadra started the Represent campaign in 2019 in response to the lack of representation in curated reading lists across various schools at the university, with the programme entered its second year this September.
The campaign’s work comes at an opportune time at the University, with the national discourse surrounding diversity in education forming a backdrop to the Library’s work.
Decolonising the curriculum was a popular mantra of Black Lives Matter protesters around the world, following protests after the murder of George Floyd on the 25th of May 2020.
Dr Paul Campbell, lecturer in Sociology at Leicester, said:
“Programmes like Represent help to create a more open, equality-driven, relevant and inspiring curriculum, one which provides for study of a much more plural, critical and globalised canon of knowledge. One that is aimed at ensuring that higher education works for all.”
His sentiments were echoed by Caitlin Hanna, a student at Leicester university, who said: “It is the responsibility of all to help create space for others, and instil pride in all groups to see themselves mirrored in all fields.
“Represent should be a priority at the university, seeing as the access to funding is there, and to embrace changes like this to learning in order to encourage other academic institutions to do the same.”
Hamza Badshah, another student at the university, said he believes the literature “helps build bridges between people’s stories and legitimises experiences.”
However, the question of identity is seen by him as an “individual endeavour, with the University’s job being primarily to facilitate learning”
In the meantime, though the ‘Represent’ campaign continues its work, other services like the Academic Skills Centre are also still ongoing alongside the University Libraries usual services.
Ayan Artan is a proud Somali-born and Leicester-bred pop culture, politics and social justice writer who is into her first-year Journalism with Creative Writing Degree. She hopes to use her creativity to tell the stories of the marginalised and to correct previously perpetuated narratives through her art.
Feature image by Dollar Gill, from Unsplash.