Decolonising academia is understood as the process in which we rethink and reframe the curricula and research that has traditionally upheld a Euro-centric, pro colonial lens. It should not be mistaken for “diversification”, as diversity can still exist within a Western bias. Decolonisation goes further and deeper in challenging institutional hierarchies which dominate Higher Education and the monopoly on knowledge. We want our students and graduates to be critical thinkers conscious of the world in which they live. This is not about rewriting history, it is about providing a presentation of the past which is more critical and transparent so that we better understand the impact on contemporary normative thinking.
The Decolonising Met Working Group (DMWG) was formed in July 2020 as part of our aspirations to advance anti-racist practice at London Met. Through its plans and activities, the DMWG creates an environment for participants to feel valued and recognised in a racially and culturally diverse community. One of the key success stories of the group has been the popular Critical Conversation Cafe – a collaborative series hosted by staff and students exploring a range of topics including decolonial theory, gender justice, gender dysphoria, racism, and the role of compassion in HE.
This year staff have formed special interest groups to create resource banks on assessment and pedagogy, race, good practice sharing, sense of belonging, Whiteness and the hidden curriculum. These resource banks will be taken forward as part of a cross institutional Decolonising programme in 2021/22.
Decolonising Met in 2021/22
One of the overarching ambitions of London Met’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion is to ensure the longevity and legacy of change at the University. Next academic year we will be increasing our efforts to embed and support decolonial practice across the University.
A multidisciplinary coalition of students and staff have already begun laying the foundations for change. The next step is to bring these various streams of work together and form a united, targeted and concerted effort to decolonise our provision and pedagogy.
From September 2021, each school will have a Decolonial Academic Lead who will work with the Race Equity Lead (Centre for Equity and Inclusion) to develop a high quality resource bank and best practice workshops drawing on the rich internal expertise across the University. This collective will begin mapping out how we can make decolonisation a core tenet of our teaching and learning philosophy under the auspices of the Education for Social Justice framework, and how our institutional approach can be supported by academic standards and quality processes.