April

Equality Week 2022

For Equality Week 2022 we explored the theme of ‘Compassion in Action’ with a programme of free events. Equality Officer Blaze Wade reflects on what we learned.

For this year’s Equality Week, we explored the importance of compassion, solidarity, and building communities in a range of contexts, challenging participants to get involved in the conversation and think about equality from new perspectives.

To continue the conversation after the events were over, we asked attendees:

  • “What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?”
  • “What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?”

The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice with Shon Faye

To open the week, we were joined by author Shon Faye to discuss her book The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice. The book was written as an accessible introduction for anyone who may be confused or unsure about the current conversations about trans people in the UK, and covers a huge range of topics including social class, employment and housing insecurity, police violence and prisons, and sex work. On the week’s theme of compassion, Shon described how she believes the current media focus on trans people is a distraction from the bigger inequalities that affect us all.

As might be expected from an author Q&A, the main action attendees wanted to take was to read the book, or to gift it to family members. If you missed the talk and want to hear Shon speaking on these topics, we recommend this interview for Channel 4.

International Women's Day Roundtable: Kindness, Compassion, and Making an Impact

For International Women’s Day, we were joined by a panel of staff and students to have a conversation about kindness and compassion with Professor Christina Hughes, founder of Women-Space.

Our amazing panelists shared their own ideas and sparked a huge variety of inspiring conversations, exploring topics such as the rewards of creating altruistic and caring environments; the negative connotations of the word ‘kindness’ as meaning passive, weak or vulnerable; and the strength, stamina and bravery needed to continue being compassionate and considered, especially when society and institutions are stacked against you.

What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?

  • "I hadn’t thought about challenging the idea of going ‘above and beyond’, when it’s often women in the workplace who are expected to be caretakers, and to support their colleagues."

"It made me think about 'kindness' and 'compassion' in a different way – how can we make these ideas less gendered and more positive?"

What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?

  • "I will practise self-compassion, and look after myself in order to be better able to support others."
  • "I'm going to find out about community action events and connect with others through the Women’s Staff network."

Changing Bath Spa's Culture: An equality strategy session with Ama Afrifa-Tchie

For the Changing Bath Spa’s Culture session, a panel of students and staff discussed their experiences of belonging and inclusion, and what they thought some of the biggest current equality challenges are at Bath Spa, with Inclusion and Culture consultant Ama Afrifa-Tchie. This event was intended to be an introduction to how a student and staff centered Equality Strategy will be created in future. If you're a current student or member of staff, you can register your interest in getting involved.

What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?

  • "How our curriculum also acts as a communication tool for prospective students."
  • "There were lots of different takes on the word inclusion."

"It was good to hear the students' feedback on how included (or not) they felt."

What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?

  • "Centering more student voices when considering how we can improve our outreach to students and their sense of belonging. I think they provide a critical lens that is refreshing and needs hearing more often."
  • "I will keep equality, diversity and inclusion strategies and values in mind when assisting with any policy or strategy changes."

"I’m going to push my team and managers to give us more feedback from the Equality and Diversity Steering Group, we don't get to hear what’s been discussed!"

Disability, Solidarity, and Difficult Conversations with Cathy Reay

On Thursday we were joined by writer and influencer Cathy Reay, for a thoughtful and refreshingly honest discussion about disability and difficult conversations.

Reflecting on her own experiences following the murder of George Floyd, Cathy told us about her decision to “cut out every person in her life” who had “ever made a racist comment”, and the subsequent realisation that this had only been about making herself feel better instead of really changing anything. She then explained how she feels that non-disabled people have an important responsibility to talk to their friends when they make ableist or offensive jokes or comments. The jokes might seem like a harmless one-off, but it feeds into a wider context of disabled people being dehumanised. What hurts one of us, hurts all of us.

What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?

  • "An interesting point was made about using 'online and offline' rather than 'online and in real life'".
  • "The importance of being open with children about disability and racism, and not shushing them if they say anything wrong, but explaining our differences to them."

"I loved their focus on the self versus societal expectations. There are lots of things I questioned about myself in terms of whether I do things for me, or because society tells me to."

What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?

  • "I'm going to consider how I've educated my children on disability and what I can do to help them continue to learn."
  • "I’ll be thinking more about how to advocate and educate in different environments, and how to speak to different age groups differently."

"I'm going to really reflect over the next few days and weeks about why I do things, and who I do things for: is it really helping me, or am I just doing things to please others?"

Roundtable: Is sustainability an equality issue?

In this interactive roundtable event, we were joined by environmental activists, researchers, and creatives to explore the connections between equality and sustainability, and building solidarity in the climate justice movement. You can watch the discussion on YouTube.

What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?

  • "How the coasts of the UK are affected by climate change and not just places like Florida, which we hear more about in the media."
  • "I hadn't realised how much eco-anxiety is affecting individuals from all backgrounds."

What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?

  • "I'll look up the speakers and consider getting in contact directly to discuss further."
  • "I'm going to change my lifestyle to be even more eco-friendly."

"I've become a member of Greenpeace as well as making daily lifestyle choices to reduce plastic and carbon intake/emissions."

Roundtable: Can compassionate education lead the way for equality?

In this interactive roundtable event, we were joined by activists, educators, and researchers to explore how alternative approaches to education and how we engage children in equality issues can form the basis for creating a more equal, sustainable, and compassionate future. You can watch the discussion on YouTube.

What's one thing you hadn't thought about before attending this event?

  • "I wasn't aware of some of the organisations mentioned by the speakers, or Ken Robinson's books."

"I resonated with pretty much everything that was said. But the term "sociocratic" was new to me."

What action are you going to take forward after attending this event?

  • "I will order Ken's books and look up organisations mentioned."
  • "I'm going to watch some of the videos and potentially share at our Inclusive Learning Network."

Equality, diversity and inclusion at Bath Spa

Our event series for Equality Week is just one of many activities we organise to support and develop equality and diversity at the University. Visit our equality, diversity and inclusion pages to find out more!

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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