Transforming the Ivory Tower Excerpts

Chapter One
Teaching to transgress through 3D Pedagogy: Decolonising, democratising and diversifying the higher education curriculum | Deborah Gabriel

Devotion to teaching and pedagogy is rarely rewarded in academia. The time and effort involved in developing, delivering and evaluating critical pedagogy means sacrificing time spent on pursuing research topics deemed important to the faculty regime – and race falls firmly outside that sphere of significance determined by predominantly White male and female academics. Nonetheless, like hooks (1994:202) I believe ‘engaged pedagogy has been essential to my development as an intellectual’ and that it ‘is an expression of political activism’.

Chapter Two
Building the antiracist classroom: How the collective makes the radical possible | Deborah N. Brewis, Sadhvi Dar, Angela Martinez Dy, Helena Liu, Udeni Salmon on behalf of Building the Antiracist Classroom (BARC) Collective

Our own differences are both challenging and generative; they must inform as Lorde cautions, the aims of liberation. When accounting for BARC, we must also be vigilant of when and how systems of power and privilege obscure us from our aims. Differences between marginalised communities can be readily mobilised to disassemble solidarity and therefore a necessary part of organising collectively is to acknowledge and take seriously that power struggles, misogyny, anti-Blackness, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and other forms of oppressive politics also exist among communities of colour. To be a collective is to refuse the forces that would see us driven apart entirely by these differences and to nourish those bonds that bring us together.

Chapter Three
Addressing barriers to STEM for young Black women through mentoring |  Elizabeth Opara

The current emphasis of the science curriculum is primarily on past and present glories and pursuits of scientific knowledge that are Eurocentric and/or perceived to be dependent on the expertise and financial aid of Western countries and former colonisers. This emphasis portrays Black people and their contributions to science as non-existent, inferior or insignificant (Nordling, 2018, Roy, 2018). In my role as a science educator I am seeking  to make it clear that no single group has ‘cultural superiority’ (Roy, 2018), Black scientists are leading research in areas that yield insights necessary for the advancement of their communities, countries and continents (Guglielmi, 2019, Kruger 2018, Nordling, 2018, Roy, 2018).

Chapter Four

Emancipatory research on FGM policy with women of African descentIma Jackson

This small study was developed with African communities in Scotland who felt dissonance and disconnect between what they were saying and what was being heard within a national consultation process. Our overall ambition was to co-create research with women and girls from potentially practising communities, support their ambition of being given time and space to think about the issues that affect them, and direct that into policy and practice. We aimed to feed the findings from the direct experiences of working with those affected and to explore the system of knowledge exchange within policy and education concerning FGM.

Chapter Five
Tackling racism and racial inequality in social work education and practice | Josephine Kwhali

I could not stand apart from the issues faced by Black people because I was one of them and subject to the same racism and its resultant erosion of one’s humanity. I lived and worked in inner cities in both London and the Midlands where I witnessed Black children trying to scrub off their colour and being told to ignore the racial insults to which they were exposed. ‘Coloured’ children, as they were then referred to, were over-represented in care, especially those of dual Black/White parentage (Rowe & Lambert, 1973). Eighty per cent of White foster carers refused to take ‘coloured’ children who were generally viewed as both undesirable and hard to place (Patterson cited in Kirton, 2000).

Chapter Seven
Decoloniality and intersectional feminism: In conversation with Shirley Anne Tate | Deborah Gabriel


Do you think the lack of people of colour in leadership roles limits the potential for radical change?


Yes, I think that is a problem. It’s a matter of numbers, but it’s also a matter of White protectionism. They protect their culture because they get something from it; they protect their curriculum because they get something from it, and they protect jobs for each other because they get something from it. We don’t get promoted because they won’t get anything from that, and we are not negotiated with to keep us in the institution if we get a better offer elsewhere because they don’t get anything from that.  So, to say we need more Black people and people of colour is completely true. We work in institutions that are basically anti-Black.

Chapter Eight
Disrupting whiteness in higher education through Teaching Within: In conversation with Aisha Richards | Deborah Gabriel


Do you think that diversity as a concept has been appropriated within the corporate, marketized environment in academia, and is essentially depoliticised and disconnected from social justice?


Yes, absolutely. The misappropriation of our work happens often. Shades of Noir and all our work is steeped in and comes from pain and that cannot be replicated nor the life experience that has caused the pain. As a Black woman born and educated in the UK, I have navigated racist structures throughout my life and the nuances of what that means to me personally. I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas on how things can change but I don’t believe that an institution predominantly run by White folk has the knowledge and life experience to deliver this work in the way I do.

Chapter Nine
The power of story: Leading conversations of inclusion, equity and justice through community engagement: In conversation with Virginia Cumberbatch | Deborah Gabriel


What legacy would you like to leave for future generations?


I would love to disrupt institutionalised racism in education; I would love to build housing equity in Austin. But in terms of the purpose I feel I have been called to do; it is helping people of colour to realise how valuable their stories are. Also, that their stories are not just for preservation, not just to talk about the pain and hurt of living in this country but their stories are a powerful tool for disrupting all of the injustices we have faced as a people.

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