A new research project led by Dr Deborah Gabriel and Prof Kevin Hylton will examine whether *Black students on postgraduate research programmes experience specific challenges in gaining a sense of belonging within higher education institutions.
The study will explore how dynamic factors linked to institutional culture and academic practice intersect with race, ethnicity and culture to shape the experiences of Black students working towards research degrees.
Approached conceptually through critical race theory and cultural democracy, the research, aims to bring new insights and understandings of difference, othering and contemporary racisms within the UK higher education sector. Dr Deborah Gabriel, founder of Black British Academics and Senior Lecturer at Bournemouth University said:
“Our Race Equality Survey in 2014 gives a clear indication of the trauma and challenges that Black students are experiencing within HE institutions across the UK. So too do the numerous campaigns at various campuses seeking to challenge the racial disparities in attainment, lack of curriculum diversity and lack of ethnically diverse teaching staff.
I am delighted that we can build on this momentum with timely research that will uncover the complexities of how race and ethnicity intersect with other dynamic factors to shape the experiences and outcomes of *Black research students.”
Professor Kevin Hylton is Patron of Black British Academics and Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education at Leeds Beckett University. Commenting on the research he said:
“This research will provide an in-depth study drawing on rich, qualitative data from Black students. The emphasis of the book will be open and constructive with the dual aims of informing HE policy and practice while giving voice to individuals whose narratives will make an important contribution to race equality.”
*The term Black is used politically and conceptually as a term of empowerment and includes students from all racialised minority backgrounds (African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, dual heritage etc.). While it is accepted that these groups are heterogeneous, we are united as a strategy to foster unity and collaboration.