Under the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework, everyone at London Met is committed to supporting a whole institutional approach to embedding equity, inclusion and delivering fair outcomes for students. Under the auspices of the Framework we are undertaking a continual process of collective unlearning and learning, examining our practices and the extent to which they may replicate patterns of marginalisation and oppression. There are also lots of examples of liberatory practice at the University which we want to build on.
The Decolonising Met Working Group was launched in the summer of 2020 and is co-led by Gene Huie-Manneh and Janet Douglas Gardner. The group is made up of academic and professional staff, the Students’ Union and course society students, senior management, professional service staff and external partners. As of October 2020, we had around 70 members, and the number is growing. We understand the journey to decolonising to be much more than a review of reading lists and curricula. It is a holistic process requiring us to examine all aspects of our community: our systems, processes, physical space, provision and psychological experience of the University.
Our philosophical vision
We recognise that decolonising is complex and far reaching. In line with the University’s equality, diversity and fair outcomes policies, decolonising is an essential part of securing a fully inclusive community for all – students, staff, partners and stakeholders – to feel valued and fully participative.
We aim to collectively and continuously:
- uphold our shared ethical values in our rich racially and culturally diverse community
- challenge, question and reconstruct the dominant and prevailing views, assumptions and narratives of the old and established European and North American canon for greater knowledge acquisition, equity and inclusivity. This includes recognising that knowledge has a multitude of forms
- ensure that the curriculum, professional behaviour, learner and staff experience and learner and staff space are of the highest standard for all to succeed and feel empowered
- support staff to develop in a supportive environment to help facilitate professional and personal growth
- provide safe spaces to share, explore and discuss important issues, concerns and topical themes to achieve a greater understanding and respect for all; and to positively impact teaching and learning
- make relevant resources available to inform and inspire eg books, articles, webinars, podcasts, videos, research papers and toolkits…
What do we mean by decolonising London Met?
Decolonising is an essential part of securing a fully inclusive community for all. It means challenging and reconstructing the norms and cultures of wider society and London Met to create spaces and opportunities for all to feel valued and a part of our community. It is about recognising and acknowledging historic and contemporary traditions within the Academy that valorise Eurocentricity and centre Whiteness, subjugating the traditions of the Global South and non-White communities.
London Met promotes positive, respectful relationships and interactions; examples include embracing and celebrating the cultural wealth of our diverse students and staff, teaching with awareness of racism, correcting stereotypes and addressing microaggressions if, and when they arise and creating opportunities for all to speak and be heard.
At London Met we also critically examine our curriculum design and content. This includes looking closely at as well as finding appropriate alternatives to the dominant Eurocentric and Western knowledge models, narratives, assumptions, expertise and established texts. The aim is to source relevant high-quality subject specific resources which include hidden figures and knowledge from around the globe.