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A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens

Throughout 2018/19, seven students studying literature and languages took part in a project titled ‘A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens’. The project investigated the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at the University, in order to better understand the challenges they face and to generate suggestions for how to make the University more inclusive.

Project participants were tasked with taking photographs that reflected their experiences of student life at UoR, as well as preparing a short accompanying commentary.

Project participants’ images and commentaries are on display for four weeks in an exhibition in the University Library foyer, until Friday 5 July 2019. You can also view the images and join the conversation online at www.instagram.com/uor_life_through_a_lens

In three focus groups held throughout the year, participants reflected on their own and others’ images and experiences. They reported a strong feeling of isolation and lack of integration prior to the project, and that there were not enough activities at UoR promoting awareness of cultural diversity among staff or students, or enough BAME role-models.

Participants recommended a range of actions, including diversifying the curriculum and mainstreaming diversity, developing stronger connections with BAME professionals through the University’s Careers service, highlighting cultural events throughout the year, and improving BAME representation at the University and the Students’ Union.

As a result of participating in the project, students reported an increased feeling of group identity, a better ability to express themselves, and a sense that their voices had been heard.

This project was led by Dr Nicola Abram, Katy Green, and Professor Jane Setter (School of Literature and Languages), and funded by the UoR Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Fund.

For the full project report please contact Dr Nicola Abram: n.l.abram@reading.ac.uk

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