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Decolonising the curriculum


Introduction

Decolonising the curriculum actively requires us to consider, and then address, how the values, thinking, beliefs and practices that frame our curriculum might perpetuate white, westernised power and history and position anything non-European and not white as inferior. It means providing an accurate portrayal of history, and providing students and staff with the tools to critically identify [how] universities reproduce colonial hierarchies. This will help students and colleagues to critically discuss the issues and, through action in each course, ensure a more accurate representation of the knowledge production of our diverse society. 

However, decolonising the curriculum goes way beyond just adding black, Asian, minority ethnic or non-western scholars to reading lists.  It should be an approach which helps to reform our curricula and should involve the creation of space and resources for dialogue to help all students "see themselves" in the curriculum. It should enhance the valuing, appreciation and understanding of intersectionality, the needs of minority groups and wider diversity issues. 

Keele University's SU define decolonising the curriculum as 

  "creating spaces and resources for a dialogue among all members of the university on how to imagine and envision all cultures and knowledge systems in the curriculum, and with respect to what is being taught and how it frames the world." (Keele University, NUS)


Leeds Beckett Resources

Voiced presentation by Dr Lisa Long (Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences). Lisa's presentation defines decolonisation of the curriculum. She explores and contextualises its history and explores ways of improving the diversity of what we teach and how we frame our knowledge.  https://leedsbeckettreplay.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=4dc5701a-1516-43f6-a53f-acb70092fb84 

The Inclusive Course Design Tool - Course Directors and their teams should use and complete the Tool to review and reflect on the way in which each course (UG and PG) enables inclusivity. https://teachlearn.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/teaching-and-learning/inclusive-practice/the-inclusive-course-design-tool/ 

Race and equality forum - The forum is managed and organised through the Equality and Inclusion team. 
https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/our-university/equality-and-inclusion/race-equality-forum/

Diversifying reading lists toolkit from LLI. The diversification of our reading lists and resources is a strategic goal within the University’s Access and Participation Plan. These pages have been created as an aid for academic staff in identifying and adopting more diverse information resources onto reading lists, in support of more inclusive curriculum design.  https://teachlearn.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/guides/mybeckett-and-digital-learning-guides/mybeckett/reading-list-diversification/  

Excerpts from Tom Muskett's presentation at DEAP19 - The presentation explores 2 students' personal narratives of their University learning experience.  https://leedsbeckettreplay.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=31f2600b-be02-44dd-a379-acb800bb4086


DEAP Forum resources


Additional Resources

  • These Advance HE videos explore equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education through the eyes of black male staff and students. The first video in the series is Can we decolonise the sciences? - a conversation with Daniel Akinbosede, PhD Student and Doctoral Tutor in Biochemistry at the University of Sussex and in the second video  Dr Winston Morgan discusses academic privilege and teaching through bias and in the final video Nathan Ghann talks cultural competency, racial trauma and decolonising the curriculum with Dave S.P. Thomas from the University of Kent. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/news-and-views/New-video-series-launched-exploring-Black-male-voices-in-HE
  1. Can we decolonise the sciences?
  2. Academic privilege, teaching through bias and the impact of Covid-19
  3. Cultural competency, racial trauma and decolonising the curriculum


Additional Reading

 

  •  This special edition from The University of Brighton  journal offers a wide variety of articles about  teaching and learning approaches and critical theoretical provocations for decolonising the curriculum: Decolonising The Curriculum: Teaching and Learning about Race Equality. Issue 2, December 2019. Available from: Teaching and Learning about Race Equality. Issue 2, December 2019  [accessed Dec 08 2020].

 

Page last updated: 25/03/2021

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