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Union Black


Union Black: Britain's black cultures and steps to anti-racism

Union Black V2 (Facebook)

As a College, we seek to be inclusive and we are working to address the racial inequalities that exist across the College and the higher education sector. We have a number of initiatives in place, such as Conversations About Race, work on awarding gaps, widening the access to education for Black students and improving their experience when Black students study with us.

In addition to these, we are introducing a course called Union Black, from Santander created in partnership with the Open University, and with contributions from Ayo Akinwolere, Shami Chakrabarti, David James, David Lammy, Kwame Kwei-Armah and David Olusoga. The course has been designed for any and all students and staff who wish to find out more, and engage with, the often hidden history of Black people in Britain, and understand more about Black students' experience.

The course explores Black cultures in Britain and provides an understanding of Black British history, dispelling myths in order to inform, challenge and contribute to the anti-racism agenda. The course is delivered through a mixture of online learning content, discussion forums, reading materials and interactive activities which can be completed in your own time and pace.

If you complete the course before Monday 2 May, you will have the chance of being awarded one of 50 Santander Development Grants of £500 each, to support your studies as well as being invited to take part in a live thought leadership event in London which will bring together high-profile ambassadors for a curated panel discussion.

Union Black directly supports all of the initiatives we have in place to address the racial inequalities that exist across the College and the higher education sector. To contextualise the course and reflect on some of the issues it raises, please also take the opportunity to explore our own critical resource 'Debates around Antiracism and Being British' and enjoy 'Exploring Black British Cultures'. These are collections of novels, poetry, plays, films and TV programmes that have all been suggested by students and staff.

Complete the Union Black course here.

Second year Law and Criminology student, Daniel Phillips, completed the Union Black course in Novermber 2021. Read their thoughts about the course below

I took part in the Union Black course in November 2021, having seen it advertised across the College’s newsletters, as I wanted to deepen my understanding of Black British Cultures. An essential part I have taken away from the course is that raising awareness is evident. It is crucial to be educated on the roots of social problems we face within society for effective change to happen. As a Criminology and Sociology student, this course complements many topics discussed within the social science disciplines taught at Royal Holloway, which is one of the reasons I took part. Still, the course is also adapted for anyone to learn regardless of their degree discipline.

One thing I love about FutureLearn is the optional interactive elements, where you can discuss your views on each topic whilst engaging with others and hearing from like-minded individuals, learning how everyone makes their pledges to change and reflect on overcoming these barriers. It is also a self-paced course, meaning it can work around your studies and any other commitments you may have, and you will be awarded a certificate of completion at the end to put on LinkedIn and your CV.

If you haven’t already considered it, I strongly recommend signing up today!

Santander Union Black FAQs

What is Union Black?

Union Black: Britain's black cultures and steps to anti-racism, explores Black cultures in Britain and provides an understanding of Black British history, removing myths in order to inform, challenge and contribute to the anti-racism agenda.

Santander Universities UK have developed the course in partnership with The Open University and leading social learning platform, FutureLearn. The programme responds to Universities UK’s ‘Tackling racial harassment in higher education’ report which shone a stark light on the racial inequalities that exist across the higher education sector. The report called on universities to improve racial literacy among senior leaders, staff and students and issued a set of recommendations for institutions to implement including “training developed from an anti-racist perspective”. 

Who developed the course?

The Santander course has been developed by leading academics including Professor Marcia Wilson, Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The Open University, along with contributions from (amongst many others):

  • David Olusoga, BAFTA-award-winning film-maker
  • David Lammy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
  • Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, human rights activist
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of The Young Vic
  • David James MBE, former England goalkeeper

The presenter of the course is TV host and former Blue Peter presenter Ayo Akinwolere. 

How do I access the course?

You can access and complete the course using this link. Once you have signed up to the Santander Scholarship Platform and registered, you will receive an email with the link to the course on FutureLearn. Click on this link and you will be able to start the course immediately.

How long is the course open for?

The course is available online until Monday 2 May. It is six hours in total and can be accessed online at any time. You can complete the course at your own pace and in stages.

What will I receive at the end of the course?

Everyone who completes the course will receive a certificate of performance.

If you complete the course before Monday 2 May, you will have the chance of being awarded one of 50 Santander Development Grants of £500 each, to support your studies as well as being invited to take part in a live thought leadership event in London which will bring together high-profile ambassadors for a curated panel discussion.

To enable everyone who has completed the Union Black course to engage and discuss the course itself and what you learnt, as a College, we will be delivering a feedback session in late April – more details and information about how to join this session will be available over the coming weeks.

How can I find out more?

If you have any questions about the course or how to take part, please contact Rebecca Johns from our Student Engagement team.

 

 

 

Feedback session once you have completed the Union Black course

On Thursday 28 April, from 3.30-5pm, as a College, we will be holding a feedback session, to enable everyone who has completed the Union Black course with the ability to engage and discuss the course itself and everything that you have learnt. Please sign up to attend the session here

Be in with a chance of winning a £25 Sodexo voucher

All students who complete the course before 2 May, will be in with the chance of winning a £25 Sodexo voucher