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Slides for a presentation on decolonising and the PGR experience at the first Decolonising the Research degree, network event. The aim of the session was: to situate work on decolonising the PGR experience, inside an institutional programme of work (DDMU) that has not previously prioritised research.

Slides for a presentation on decolonising and the PGR experience at the first Decolonising the Research degree, network event. The aim of the session was: to situate work on decolonising the PGR experience, inside an institutional programme of work (DDMU) that has not previously prioritised research.

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Decolonising DMU and the PGR Experience

  1. 1. Decolonising DMU and the PGR Experience Richard Hall and Lucy Ansley
  2. 2. Aim: to situate work on decolonising the PGR experience, inside an institutional programme of work (DDMU) that has not previously prioritised research.
  3. 3. DMU PGR Context 81% 69% 8% 15% 4% 9% 4% 3% HE Sector, 2% DMU, 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% HE Sector DMU DMU PGR Population - by ethnic group (UK) White Asian Black Mixed Other
  4. 4. DMU Context 69% 8% 4% 3% 7% 2% DMU PGR Population - ethnicity categories (UK) White Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi Asian or Asian British - Indian Asian or Asian British - Pakistani Other Asian background Black or Black British - African Black or Black British - Caribbean Other Black background Mixed - White and Black African Mixed - White and Black Caribbean Other mixed background Arab Other ethnic background
  5. 5. DMU Context 24% 30% 30% 3% 14% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% White Asian Black Mixed Other DMU PGR Population - by ethnic group (Non-UK)
  6. 6. Freedom to Achieve Value Added Metrics Inclusive Curriculum Framework/UDL Good Practice Case Studies Co-Creation Workshops Review University Infrastructure Evaluation Freedom to Achieve
  7. 7. Learning and Teaching Development Relationships Community and Environment Co-creation
  8. 8. Relationships • role models • improved communications • student integration Teaching and learning • Cultural examples in lectures • Learning resources culturally diverse Community • Importance of belonging • Cultural inclusivity • Campus development • Student societies Development • Culturally relevant support • Inclusive spaces • Academic skills Employability • Practical experience • Specialised career advice • Placements Exclusion • Sense of not belonging due to... • Perception of inherent white culture Co-creation
  9. 9. BAME Awarding Gap OfS funded project: Freedom to Achieve Evaluation & Impact/Staff & Students Broader than the Curriculum Decolonising DMU: a whole institution approach Decolonising DMU: Towards the anti-racist university
  10. 10. A working position DDMU at the intersection of plural, material histories • Defining decolonising: dignity of difference • Diversify the syllabus, canon, curriculum, infrastructure and staff • Decentre knowledge and knowledge production away from the global North • Devalue hierarchies and revalue relationality • Diminish some voices and opinions that have predominated, and magnify those that have been unheard The Working position is available here.
  11. 11. Renewing DDMU Towards 4 commitments: • equality of education and research; • progression, talent and representation; • governance and accountability; and • understanding culture and behaviour. A focus on mapping to Access and Participation Plan, Race Equality Charter, and the awarding gap.
  12. 12. Decolonising DMU and the Research Environment for PGR
  13. 13. Priorities •To evaluate the impact of DDMU activity on the lived experience of the University community. •To generate a deeper understanding of DMU’s journey to become an anti-racist University. •To analyse the institutional research environment, including research institute outputs and impact. •To create a research community at DMU, that upholds anti- racist research principles. •To explore understanding, perceptions and learning: a research project into what DDMU means.
  14. 14. Phase One and the Research Environment • Data: projects, impact and PGR (monitoring and equality/EDI, with Research Services). • Engaging the FRHS in BAL on PGR admissions and transitions (and well-being), and setting-up a dedicated working group on these issues. • Discussing research training with the Doctoral College. • Engaging the HLS FREC, in terms of decolonising and the ethics process (including issues of community engagement, risk and methodological development). • Discussions with 10 research institutes and centres: • a decolonising research network; • a self-audit tool for decolonising research; discussion around • UKRI priorities; • linking decolonising and decarbonising; and, • analyses and sharing of decolonising methodologies and theories.
  15. 15. Some headlines from this work • Decolonising in relation to home-based practices and international activities, including work with international PhD and Master’s students. This includes issues of language (racio- linguistics). • There is scope for evaluating the relationship between decolonising and research-engaged teaching. • Research tends to represent communities made marginal (intergenerationally, intercommunally, intersectionally), but tends to be short-term/conservative. • Using data to support work on the lived experience is messy, across data owners, with no overarching focus for collection.
  16. 16. Impact of perceptions of decolonising • 299 surveys/14 interviews/19 diary entries (2021). • Largely short-term, personal and conservative responses. • Use of language and positioning. • Seen in relation to EDI. • Limited relation to emancipation and reimagining. • Impossibility of decolonising neo-colonial spaces. • Problematic for some BEM students and staff (tokenistic/trust). • Problematic for some white students/staff (denial, refusal, whataboutery). Are we equipped to talk effectively about race?
  17. 17. Decolonising and PGR
  18. 18. Supporting Diversity in PGR The main purpose of this group (after Leading Routes) is: • to review and revise current approaches to the recruitment of postgraduate researchers (PhD and DBA) in the Faculty of Business and Law, focusing on possible barriers to inclusivity and ensuring we support diversity for candidates and research approaches (methods, case studies etc.); • to focus on key criteria used when reviewing and assessing PGR applications and in applicant interviews, focusing on unpacking and specifying the specific meaning of language used in assessments (excellence, originality) and any areas of implicit/unconscious bias; and • to draft a set of core principles on postgraduate researcher recruitment for dissemination and consultation amongst BAL PGR supervisors, focused on balancing quality and equality/equity.
  19. 19. Supervisor workshops: 1 Applications. • Are principles and criteria applied equally, and is the process transparent for all, or is some information implied/hidden? • Do we expect certain applications/applicants to conform to a hegemonic view of academic excellence/distinctiveness within expected theoretical and methodological positions? • How do we articulate what we are looking for in interviews? How do we understand that these are developmental proposals being pitched by novice researchers? NB the emotional labour of a transition to PGR work (cultural code- switching).
  20. 20. Supervisor workshops: 2 The impact of a competitive environment. • Discussion of money as a block/barrier for international students (for instance, alumni unable to access scholarships for home/EU students). • Recruitment and selection processes should take into consideration the challenges a lot of PGRs (particularly international PGRs) face in trying to complete their research. • If we want our PhDs to produce 'excellent' work in a sustainable manner, appropriate mentoring and involving PhDs more actively in publications/development of environment once they are in the programme.
  21. 21. Supervisor workshops: 3 PGR transitions/support • Specific examples of research groups with a strong PGR support base in a cluster. PGRs responsible for roles within the group. • Small group tutoring to accelerate belonging and confidence of PhDs (isolation is an issue). • How to support internal transition into PhD work (mentoring, MRes, supporting PGT into PGR, unconscious bias training, in- country partnership). • Process-related pressure of the first year, e.g. Probation Review and ethics (c.f. explore methodological innovations/possibilities). • Issues of well-being in relation to supervisory relationships.
  22. 22. Supervisor workshops: 4 Supervisory team considerations. • Supervisory styles/capability and skills within a team, and how to broaden this. • How to support appropriately the circumstances and abilities of a student, through a flexible combination of supervisory approaches? • Is there an implied or perceived deficit with international/black and ethnically-minoritised PGRs? If there is a perceived, additional cultural load, will this affect recruitment?
  23. 23. PGR views • Building horizontal relations so that the PhD path is less individualised. • Reading groups where that are shaped to share power (chairing and picking papers both academic and non-academic). • Deliberate focus on reading and analysis to understand each other's values more. • PhD students are immersed in a positive learning environment. This was described as supportive, not hierarchal, an exchange of knowledge, not competitive, and more than supervision. • Methodology/theory: not extractive relationships; not using hegemonic theory and methods; grassroots community learning; participatory ethnography; horizontal and intersectional approaches. NB some supervisors feel ethics blocks innovation. • Some students are not working in relation to a decolonising lens. • Post-Brexit concerns around visas require institutional solidarity.
  24. 24. Institute/Centre self-audit and PGR • Does your Centre/Institute monitor registrations, completions, terminations and withdrawals, based upon ethnicity, and intersections? Are there differences for home/international students? • How does your Centre/Institute engage with the diversity of PGR student voices? • Have you bid for/developed ring-fenced scholarships/bursaries for BEM students? • Do you deliver workshops/events, or enable spaces that support BEM students in considering applications for PGR study? • Have students been supported in finding mentors outside of their supervision team? • Do you provide any doctoral training on the topic of decolonising research methodologies or theories? • Does your Centre/Institute consider the ethnicity of first and second supervisors in supervisory teams, and its impact upon the student experience (including welfare and mental health)? • In terms of examinations, does your Centre/Institute consider the ethnicity of examiners, and its impact upon the student experience?
  25. 25. Decolonising DMU decolonisingdmu@dmu.ac.uk www.dmu.ac.uk/decolonising @DecolonisingDMU DDMU Resources/Publications DDMU Podcast
  26. 26. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Editor's Notes

  • All Black Non-UK PGR students from African ethnicity category.
  • Highlight that we translated Kingston’s ICF model into UDL.
  • Majority in their second year (40%), female (65%), not disabled (85%), students of colour (50%). The key topics arising from the consultations are shared below, organised by the four overarching project themes.
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