Barriers to Black Academia Roundtable Workshop


University of Bristol (Dr Amaka Onyianta, Dr Anita Etale, Prof Phil Taylor, Dr Andreas Elombo, Prof Stephen Eichhorn), University of Cambridge (PhD Candidate Rhiannon Jones, PhD Candidate  Nuala Murray, PhD Candidate Malik Al Nasir, PhD Candidate Naomi Abayasekara), University of Liverpool (Dr Laura Sandy, Prof Alison Fell), Historic Environment Scotland (Rebecca Bailey), Enact Equality (L’myah Sherae). 


On Friday the 25th of March 2022, the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Prof. Phil Taylor and members of the Supergen Energy Networks Hub team based at the University of Bristol, hosted a roundtable workshop at Clifton Hill House, as part of the ‘Barriers to Black Academia’ symposia series, devised by  Malik Al Nasir (PhD candidate at University of Cambridge and director of Yesternight Productions Ltd.) and Dr Leana Vaughn (Derby Fellow at University of Liverpool). This forms part of Supergen Energy Network Hub’s commitment to supporting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to improve participation with under-represented groups as our Hub grows. 

 Supergen staff were joined by barrister Katherine Anderson from Bristol’s 3PB Chambers, L’myah Sherae (founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race Equality in Education and director of Enact Equality Ltd.), as well as experts from within academia, and both the public and private sectors. Delegates from across the UK gathered to discuss ‘Lifting The Barriers to Black Academia – Through Decolonisation and Positive Action’. 

The objective of the roundtable workshop was to act upon the Barriers to Black Academia Analytical Report, which was written by L’myah Sherae. The report summarised the findings of a previous symposium held online – hosted by CSIS at the University of Liverpool, sponsored by Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Fiona Beveridge – which considered the barriers faced by Black academics, and the disparities in their under-representation at all levels within the academic pipeline. The discussion revolved around three key themes; 1. The barriers faced by black academics, 2. The policy framework and how it impacts the barriers. 3. The current legislation and what needs to change. 

At the University of Bristol event, the focus was on finding solutions to overcome these barriers, using – where possible, – the existing policy framework, good and best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion, and more specifically ‘widening participation’.  Delegates discussed the Equality Act (2010 and the Higher Education and Research Act (2017) with the assistance of Barrister Katherine Anderson, from 3PB Chambers. Delegates formulated a series of proposals which will be summarised in a report and will form the basis of a policy paper, which will outline recommendations for policy and legislative changes. This will be presented to HE institutions, research councils, academic trusts and funding bodies, as well as relevant Education Authorities and parliamentarians.    

Supergen is proud to support this joint initiative with Yesternight Productions Ltd. and hope to participate in similar events in the future. 

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