Category Archives: LGBT+

Issues facing the LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual plus) community and what we are doing at Newcastle University to tackle them.

Demystifying Leadership: New Director of EDI (Simon Forrest)

A few months ago, we published the first blog in our Demystifying Leadership Series, in which Professor Candy Rowe chatted to us about what her role as Faculty Director of EDI had been like, to help potential replacements decide whether it was the leadership role for them.

And it worked! 

We are pleased to introduce our new Faculty Director of EDI, Professor Simon Forrest! Have a read of his Q&A to get to know a bit more about him, why he applied for the role, and what he’s most looking forward to:

Tell us a bit about your background. What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

Like a lot of academic careers, mine sounds like a series of wise choices when I tell in from where I am now. But, in truth, it has largely been about a combination of luck, when opportunity has spoken to my passions.

I began as a professional musician and got very interested in the sociology of health because of the advent of HIV/Aids, and the way that changes in sexual attitudes, behaviours and culture that came about because of that, and the way they were represented in the ‘pop’ culture of which I was part. I met and got involved in very early community responses to HIV through peer education with young people, and the mobilisation of gay men and MSM. That evolved into 30 years of work on sex, sexualities, gender and sexual health.

I am still engaged in advocacy, which often feeds my research, but also some more sedate pastimes, such as bee-keeping.

How did you first become interested in EDI? What are some of the aspects of EDI you are most passionate about?

I can’t imagine how anyone can be involved in the social aspects of sex, sexualities, gender and health and not have EDI running through their work.

I have seen the way that public policy has failed people and also then worked to improve people’s lives. I have seen and, I hope, been part of influencing great positive changes in the recognition sexual diversity, in seeing that the greatest threats to people sexual health and wellbeing are often about failure to provide that and promote respect and equality. What I’ve learnt is EDI is about listening; hearing and making sure we give voice those who get left behind or are disadvantaged by social attitudes, policy or organisations – mobilising their potential to change things for the better for everyone.

What drew you to the position of Director of EDI for FMS?

It’s very simple – FMS is a natural champion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

All our contributions are about making everyone’s lives better, healthier, and happier. We have the opportunity, especially because of the values of the NHS and our other stake-holders, to put that at the heart of what we do. Who wouldn’t want to be able to contribute to that?

What has been your favourite thing about the role so far?

Finding my feet with the fantastic EDI team, both within FMS and across the University, hearing people being so honest about the challenges in their work and lives, and the energy right across the Faculty, from top to bottom, to effect real culture change so that it heartbeats with EDI.

What are the main things you hope to achieve in the role? Tell us what you’re most excited to get involved with?

To continue the amazing work done so far, and to see that recognised in further external recognition and accreditation.

I want to be an advocate, to empower, and mobilise the skills and expertise in the Faculty and our wider community, and to enjoy the debate, discussion, planning, and work we can do together.

What aspects of being FMS’ Director of EDI do you anticipate will be most challenging? What previous learning experiences do you think have helped prepare you to take on these challenges?

Universities are complex places and knowing how the system works and how to make the system work can be a challenge. I think I have had a lot of experience now and know something about we go about creating transparent and effective structures that support EDI.

What do you hope to learn through the role?

No day goes by when one doesn’t learn something about oneself and other people.

Universities are all about conversations and because I might see students or staff, do some engagement work with our community, and much more in a typical day, there’s always going to be a conversation out there which will make me think. It might be someone asking me a question I don’t know the answer to (that’s very common) or telling me something amazing about their lives that makes me stop and think.

Thank you so much to Simon for giving us a bit of insight into himself and how he’s feeling about his new role. We can’t wait to see all that you do as Faculty Director of EDI.

LGBT+ Research and Teaching at NU

Following the success of their first LGBT+ research showcase in LGBT History Month,  ‘Celebrating LGBT+ research at Newcastle University’, the steering group of Rainbow@ncl (the University’s network for LGBT+ staff and PGRs and their allies) wants to find out more about research and teaching across the institution that’s relevant to LGBT+ lives and cultures.

They’d like to create opportunities for colleagues and students with related interests to share expertise and ideas, and to use their social media presence to increase the visibility of the richly various work underway across the university.

You are therefore invited to share information about any LGBT+ related content in UG and PG modules you teach or projects that you offer to/carry out with students; and in your research, whether for a post-graduate degree or as a member of staff.

Please send any information you would like to share – including links as appropriate – to the Rainbow Network Assistant, Luke Green. Luke will collate it and make it visible via the network’s webpage.

They also plan to organise another showcase event: if you would be interested in taking part – to talk about research and/or teaching – please do let Luke know.

Or, to find out more info about Rainbow@ncl, read all about it from their Chair, Gareth Longstaff, or take a look at their NU Connect page.

LGBT History Month Events


This month (February) is LGBT History Month!

To celebrate, the rainbow flag will fly on Newcastle University’s flagpoles throughout the month.

There is also a variety of exciting events for you to get involved in.

What is LGBT History Month?

“LGBT History month is an opportunity for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and their allies to engage and support the importance of our collective and individual histories. It is also a way to inform, educate and share the often invisible and forgotten histories of LGBTQ+ struggle, oppression and discrimination as well as creating a month long space where we can all celebrate and affirm our similarities and differences.”
– Gareth Longstaff, Chair of The Rainbow Network

You can read more about LGBT History Month and what it means here.

That sounds great! How can I get involved?

There’s a whole selection of events going on throughout February to celebrate and raise awareness.

More information and sign up details below:

  • 5th. 12pm. Location TBC: “Women and LBT intersections: creating an inclusive culture”
    Joint event between NU Women’s Network and The Rainbow Network to consider challenges and opportunities for LBT women and how best to create an inclusive culture.
    More information & registration here.
  • 8th.12.30-1.30pm. Medicinema, New Victoria Wing, RVI: “A Day in the Life of a Hospital Chaplain”
    Talk by Katie Watson (Trust Chaplain) focussing on understanding other’s experiences from a broad range of backgrounds and with various protected characteristics and who may be religious/spiritual or not, and how the Chaplaincy support those staff and patients regardless.
    Contact the NHS LGBT Staff Network or Victoria Usher to book your place.
  • 14th. 1-2pm. Classroom 2, Freeman Education Centre.
    OR 22nd. 12.30-1.30pm. Boardroom, Peacock Hall, RVI: “Count Your Losses”
    Smaller session run by Mark Ellerby-Hedley centred around a person’s experience of coming out, and how this may affect them. The session aims to aid understanding and provide knowledge.
    Contact the NHS LGBT Staff Network or Victoria Usher to book your place.
  • 15th. 9am-2pm. Venue, Newcastle University Students’ Union: Trans clothes swap
     For Trans, Non-binary & gender non-conforming students to swap clothes to offset some of the costs of transitioning. Allies can also donate clothes for the swap.
    More information on where/what to donate here.
  • 18th. 5.30pm. Tyneside Cinema: “Prick Up Your Ears”
    Screening about the life of queer playwright, Joe Orton, followed by panel discussion with Gareth Longstaff (Chair of Newcastle University’s Rainbow Network), Leonie Orton (Orton’s sister) and Emma Parker (Orton scholar).
    More information & tickets here.
  • 19th. 5.30pm. Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building: “Seeing homosexuality in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw
    Insight Lecture by Dr Emma Parker on the underlying homosexual themes of Joe Orton’s play “What the Butler Saw” (1969). Orton’s sister Leonie will also read from her memoir.
    More information here, seats are first-come first-served.
  • 27th. 4-6pm. G.13, Percy Building: “Celebrating LGBT+ Research at NU”
    Panel with researchers from across the University to learn about and ask questions regarding their LGBT-themed research.
    More information & sign up here.
  • 28th. 3-4pm. Leech Building, Room 2.8, Medical School: “LGBT+ at work and the Rainbow Network: A bitesize session”
    Session with members of staff from the Rainbow Network to hear about their work and how you can support their activities.
    Sign up here.

You can also get involved with the Rainbow staff network – hear more about it from Network Chair, Gareth Longstaff, here.

Or, if you’re a student, you can join the LGBT+ Society.

We hope you enjoy the events!

FMS EDI Week Programme: 21st-25th January 2019

FMS is holding its very first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Week – why not come along and get involved?

We are holding the Faculty’s first EDI Week for our staff and students to celebrate our recent Athena SWAN Silver Award for our work towards gender equality. There will be a range of activities and events that not only reflect on our recent achievement, but consider where we go from here in order to provide more inclusive work and study environments that give everyone equal opportunity to succeed.

Take a look at what is on, and book early! We hope to see you at one of our events!

#FMSEDIWeek19


21st January:

  • Why does EDI matter? – 12-1pm, The Boardroom
    We launch the week by hearing from members of the senior leadership team about why EDI is important to our Faculty and the people who work and study here. Read more and register.
    X
  • EDI and TechNET – 1-2pm, The Boardroom
    Members of our technicians network talk about how EDI is central to the work that they do both in the Faculty and across the University. Read more and register.
    X
  • How to embed EDI in the Professional Pathway? – 2-3pm, The Boardroom
    Our Director of Faculty Operations, Katharine Rogers, will talk about the new professional pathway and how EDI is being embedded into its development. Read more and register.

22nd January:

  • EDI at NUMed Malaysia – 10-11am, Leech L2.9
    Come and meet Chris Baldwin, CEO and Provost at NUMed, to find out more about their approach to EDI in Malaysia. Read more and register.
    X
  • Mindfulness – 12.30-1.30pm, Leech L2.8
    An introductory session led by our very own Michael Atkinson. Read more and register.
    X
  • EDI Bites: What is Athena SWAN? – 12-1pm, The Boardroom
    Our EDI Team explains what Athena SWAN is, what our Silver Award means, and what our plans are for progressing gender equality over the next four years. Read more and register.
  • Athena SWAN: An institutional perspective – 3-4pm, The Boardroom
    Judith Rankin, the Dean of EDI, will talk about the university’s application for a Silver Award renewal, which will be submitted in April. Read more and register.

23rd January:

  • EDI design principles for FMS  – 12-2pm, Colin Ingram Seminar Room (IoN)
    Jane Richards and the Good to Great (G2G) Team hold an interactive session to hear your views about how EDI should guide FMS in the future. Read more and register.
    X
  • Why should we become conscious of our Unconscious Biases? – 2-3pm, Leech L2.2
    Tom Smulders and the IoN EDI Team run an introductory session about unconscious bias and how to combat it. Read more and register.

24th January:

  • EDI Lunchtime Fair – 12-2pm, the Atrium/Entrance to the Medical School
    For staff and postgraduates to find out more about different networks, mentoring schemes, support for wellbeing, and get a chance to speak to EDI representatives. Light bites provided. Please register your interest for catering purposes.
    X
  • Athena SWAN Celebration & Unveiling – 12.45, Entrance to the Medical School
    The Pro-Vice Chancellor of FMS, David Burn, will unveil the Faculty’s Athena SWAN Silver Award to mark the achievement that the award represents.

25th January:

  • ‘For Families’ Launch Event  – 10.30am-12pm, David Shaw Lecture Theatre
    Event jointly hosted by NU Women and NU Parents to launch NU’s new family-friendly initiative, update on its progress, set out plans for the future and take feedback and questions. Read more and register.
    X
  • Friday Fizz and Feedback – 4-5pm, The Atrium
    Join the Faculty EDI team for a glass of celebratory fizz and tell us what you thought of our first EDI Week, or what you’d like to see next year at EDI Week 2020! Bucks fizz and non-alcoholic sparkling provided. Register your interest for catering purposes here.

FMS EDI Week 21st-25th January – save the date!

FMS will be holding its very first EDI Week from the 21st – 25th of January – why not get involved?

The week is firstly to celebrate our successes so far, with the unveiling of our Athena SWAN silver award, which recognises our achievements in promoting and progressing gender equality for all staff and students. However, as well as reflecting how far we have come, we will also be thinking about what we would like to achieve, and will be running a number of events and activities that staff and students can get involved with.

Although we are still confirming some events (final programme to be announced early January), we have some already pencilled in and you can get the times into your diary now!


21st January:

  • Launch Event – 12-1pm,
    “Why does EDI matter?” – hear from staff about why EDI matters to them.
    X
  • EDI and the Professional Pathway – 2-3pm,
    Katherine Rogers, Director of Faculty Operations

22nd January:

  • EDI Bitesize: “What is Athena SWAN?” – 2-3pm
    Candy Rowe, Director of EDI for FMS will explain what Athena SWAN is and what it means for the Faculty.
    X
  • Athena SWAN Silver for Newcastle University – 3-4pm
    Judith Rankin, Dean of Diversity will talk about the work currently going on to renew the University’s institutional Silver Athena SWAN Award.
    X
  • Wellbeing Session – lunchtime (TBC)
    Session hosted by Michael Atkinson on mindfulness.

23rd January:

  • EDI Design Principles for FMS  – 12-2pm
    Jane Richards and the Good to Great (G2G) Team will run a session about embedding EDI into faculty working in the future.

24th January:

  • EDI Fair – 12-2pm
    A fair to showcase information and get a chance to speak to the EDI Team, representatives from different staff/PGR networks, and the ECR Mentoring Scheme.
    X
  • Athena SWAN Celebration & Unveiling – lunchtime (TBC)
    PVC of FMS, David Burn, will unveil the Faculty’s Athena SWAN Silver Award and celebrate the incredible work and achievement the award symbolises.

25th January:

  • ‘For Families’ Launch Event  – 10am – 12pm
    Event jointly hosted by NU Women and NU Parents. It will provide information on NU’s new family-friendly initiative, update on progress, set out plans for the future and take feedback and questions.