Black History Month 2019

At Royal Holloway

Royal Holloway Black History Month 2019 programme of events:


1. Black History Month Presents: Black Students and Career Success

Monday 7th October 1-2pm, Windsor Building room 0-03

An opportunity to discuss what graduate success looks like, what steps you can take and what support is available. Come along and speak to Renee Landell, founder of the Beyond Margins project, about career opportunities available for BAME students.


2. BAME Achievement: Careers Celebration Panel

Monday 7th October 6-7.30pm, Event Space, Davison Building

Celebrating success! Come along and meet inspirational academics and alumni from a wide variety of backgrounds as they discuss their journey to success! Speakers include:

  • Audric Tchouani, Managing Director of Quinton Novus Solutions
  • Leah Davis, Capital Xtra Presenter
  • Dr Shzr Ee Tan, Senior Lecturer in Music, Royal Holloway
  • Dr Vandana Desai, Senior Lecturer in Geography, Royal Holloway
  • Mary Pierre-Harvey, Director of Estates and Campus Services at Oxford Brookes University


3. Black History Month Archives Workshop.

Wednesday 16th October 1-2.30, Archive Reading Room, Lower Ground Floor, Emily Wilding Davison Building.

Join the College Archivist in this hands-on workshop to help to uncover the history of BAME students and staff at Royal Holloway.

Participants will be asked to look through material from the College archives to identify sources which reveal insights into the history of BAME students at Royal Holloway and its predecessor institutions. While there is some knowledge of the contributions BAME students have made to the College throughout its history, there are gaps in our understanding and this workshop is a pilot project to begin to correct that and expand on the knowledge we have. 

The workshop is open to everyone, no previous archives experience is necessary. Please book a place here.

If you are interested in a career in archives, our archivist Annabel will be happy to talk to you about her role and opportunities to gain voluntary experience with our collections.


4. The BAME Awarding Gap in HE

Tuesday 29th of October, 12-1.30, Moore 0-08 Please RSVP as limited numbers

The phrase ‘attainment gap’ refers to the difference in ‘top degrees’ (a First or 2:1 classification) awarded to different groups of students, with the biggest differences found by ethnic background. This event consists of two talks which focus on the BAME awarding gap in HE. Dr Mhlanga will explore the underlying reasons behind underachievement in the HE sector in general, and Dr O’Connell will proceed to talk about a project taking place within the Department of Law and Criminology designed to address degree-awarding gaps in the department.


a) ‘Contextualisation of the BAME Awarding Gap’

Dr Thanda Mhlanga, Teaching Fellow, Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS), Royal Holloway

 Drawing on my childhood experiences in a former British colony and on ‘lived experiences’ in the UK Further Education and Higher Education sectors, I present university as a political space that facilitates the production, reproduction, normalisation and perpetuation of prejudice in modern society. I argue that in spite of the rhetoric about social inclusion, the UK education system is still inherently elitist: it reflects the underlying logic of Eurocentric enlightenment, and thus needs decolonisation. This presentation critically engages with the ideological reasons behind the under-representation of young people from BAME and lower socio-economic neighbourhoods in HE. Also, it contextualises the high drop-out rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and why those who complete their programmes underachieve. 


b) ‘Exploring the Attainment Gap through Belonging Initiatives’

Dr Aislinn O’Connell, Lecturer in Law

 This talk presents the methodology of an investigation into the attainment gap in a School of Law which offers undergraduate degree programmes spanning law, criminology, sociology, and psychology. Qualitative and quantitative data from a student survey as well as focus group discussions with students from across the School will be drawn upon. The talk discusses how programme and school identity can impact on student attitudes towards belonging and community in their department and how a lack of identity in these areas might negatively impact on student outcomes. Students’ feeling of disconnection was closely tied to their personal experiences, circumstances and socio-demographic characteristics, as well as to their programme of study within the school.


5. Diversity in reading lists (Library)

Look out for our special twitter promotion for Black History Month, starting with an interview with Renee Landell, SU BAME rep. If that piques your interest, then why not check out some of the recommended titles on the Black History Month Reading list. This highlights some of the areas of the collection which focuses on ethnic minority research, notable figures in black history and diversity in our collection.

There is always more that can be done to help diversify our collection, so if there is anything you think would be particularly interesting for us to add, then why not complete the book suggestion form on the library pages.

Further Links

Equality and Diversity News

Black History Month 2021

Black History Month 2020

Black History Month 2018

Black and Global Majority Staff Network

Equality and Diversity Guides

Mandala Programme

Equality and Diversity Homepage