Our community has been coming together throughout October to celebrate Black History Month through a wide programme of events and there are still many events planned for the rest of this month and into November. Through these events we hope to make a contribution to sharing, recognising and celebrating the value and impact of black heritage and culture.

It is also an opportunity for us to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. As a University community we have done so much over the last year to focus on and try to understand the lived experience of our Black staff and students, to acknowledge that racism exists, to identify what needs to change and to take action to tackle racism.

The work of the Tackling Racism Working Group, bringing together staff and students from across the University, resulted in Council approving a University Anti-Racism Action Plan and specific action plans relating to East 15 Acting School and the School of Health and Social Care which are currently being implemented. But the plans are only part of tackling racism. We are determined to maintain the momentum and continue to take actions that are meaningful and impactful, that improve the lived experience of our staff and students and that will bring about long-term sustainable change.

We are working on preparing our Advance HE Race Equality Charter application. The Race Equality Charter aims to improve the representation, progression and success of Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students within Higher Education and focuses on: academic staff, professional and support staff, student progression and awarding, and diversity of the curriculum. It provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students. There is currently a survey taking place asking members of our community for their views on racial inequality on our campuses and seeking suggestions for things we can do to advance race equality. We want to encourage everyone to get involved and complete the survey. The responses will help shape and inform our four-year institutional action plan which we will submit as part of our institutional application in July 2022. The survey is open to staff and students and the more members of our community complete it, the more we can take effective actions that will make change happen.