Equality and diversity
Black Lives Matter: Our Commitment
The School of Art History supports the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests taking place around the world in response to the killing of Black Americans by police officers. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others. We share the outrage of our students and support those who are advocating for change and making their voices heard. We recognise, too, that this a critical moment of reckoning, and we stand in solidarity with those who are calling attention to and demanding action against racism and injustice in the UK. We want our students to know that we are listening, and that we acknowledge their expressions of pain and outrage.
As historians, we firmly believe that the study of art and visual culture has a critical role to play in interrogating structural inequality and in revealing historic injustice. We are committed to continuing to diversify our curriculum, from First- and Second-Arts modules, through to our Honours modules and MLitt classes. We value the continued input from our student body on this matter. We know that there is much work left to do. We wish to assure our students, however, that as a School we are committed to teaching an inclusive, global Art History that incorporates multiple narratives, perspectives and voices.
Curricular Development and Diversification: Our Actions
Some of our recent efforts at curricular reform include redesigning the first-year art history survey, which traditionally focused on early modern Italy and Northern Europe. New lectures – including those on Islamic art, global trade, Dutch and Portuguese imperial expansion, and the slave trade – demonstrate that the ‘European tradition’ is not autonomous, but rather deeply imbricated in global networks that are the product of mercantilism, colonialism, and imperialism. Issues of gender also play a significant role in our subhonours teaching, as we explore the careers of female artists and patrons and critically examine the representation of gender in visual art.
At the honours level, a number of courses have been introduced in recent years to geographically and thematically broaden the topics studied by advanced undergraduates. These include modules that explore Middle Eastern, East Asian, African, and Latin American art histories. Throughout our curriculum, students are encouraged to reflect on how the study of art history has participated in histories of appropriation, exploitation, and oppression, but also to consider how art making and its study can serve as meaningful sites of critique, protest, and resistance.
The School commits to the formation of a Committee for Curricular Development and Diversification, which shall both include student representation and organize at least one open forum per academic semester at which all students who wish to attend may express their opinions on curricular development and diversification. One of the goals of this committee will be collaborative planning and learning regarding existing approaches to the diversification of curriculum in higher education. Strategies will be discussed for the implementation and promotion of curricular change in line with the school’s commitment, made in the 2019 Athena Swan Action Plan, to annually assess the curriculum to “ensure diversity in the subjects and approaches covered by teaching and to include a diverse range of authors in our reading lists.”
An open call will be made for students who wish to join the committee. In the meantime, if you wish to express your interest in participating, please email email@example.com.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The School of Art History is committed to creating an inclusive environment that supports equality and diversity. Our School wishes to foster an environment free of prejudice, in which all staff and students feel able to reach their full potential. All staff operate under the University’s Equality and Diversity Inclusion Policy.
The School does not tolerate harassment or and bullying of any kind; legally protected characteristics are age, disability, gender and sexuality, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, and sex. Any harassment or bullying that is witnessed and reported to the EDI Officer will be investigated and dealt with according to University policy.
The EDI Committee assists in the School’s effort to facilitate transparent and collaborative forward planning, so as to fairly distribute responsibilities between all members of staff. Members of the committee familiarize themselves with University policies regarding equality and inclusion and communicate this information to staff and students. The committee also leads initiatives to ensure workplace equality amongst all levels of staff, regardless of length of contract or grade of employment. Other members of the committee are student-facing, working to engender an open conversation about demographic and curricular diversity in the School.
The current members of the EDI Committee are:
- Marika Knowles, Lecturer, EDI Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Linda Goddard, Senior Lecturer, Head of School, email@example.com
- Graeme Hyland, Administrator, Committee Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elsje van Kessel, Senior Lecturer, Committee Member, email@example.com
- Jackie Li, Student Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jose Ramon Marcaida, Lecturer, Committee Member, email@example.com
- Rose Meier, Student Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ulrike Weiss, Lecturer, Museum and Gallery Studies, Committee Member, email@example.com
The EDI Officer represents the interests of EDI on the School Management Committee. The EDI Officer is the point of contact for any grievances regarding bullying and harassment, as well as any concerns that are relevant to the School’s commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion. The school’s current EDI Officer is Marika Takanishi Knowles. She welcomes suggestions, concerns, and communications, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Athena Swan Bronze Award
The school is proud to be the recipient of an Athena Swan Gender Equality Bronze Award. This award is the result of a year-long process (2017-18) in which members of the school’s Self-Assessment Team analysed the results of student and staff surveys, collected statistical data, conducted focus groups with student and staff, and worked together to identify and address the challenges that emerged. The EDI Committee is currently implementing the Athena Swan Action Plan.
University policies, guidance, and initiatives