• Charlotte

New Project Announcement: Decolonizing the Psychology Curriculum


In 2017, received funding through The University of Northampton to explore student perspectives towards diversity and inclusion in their curriculum. In 2018, I was again awarded funding, following this original research project up, exploring staff perspectives towards diversity and inclusion. This culminated in the dissemination of 'Face, Space' & Place' - the presentation of the two years worth of work with collaborative colleagues (Dr Tanya Beetham, Rose Wild, Katy Demeter, and Rhiannon Johnston) that identified these three areas as being key for understanding these issues further in Higher Education. The presentation received an award at the British Psychological Society's Division of Academics, Researchers, Teachers & Practitioners (DART-P) 2019 Conference for 'Most Impactful Research'.


Fast forward through to now (and let's be fair - we didn't miss much through the last 8 or so months of 2020 :) ), and we are grateful to have again been awarded funding through the University's Institute of Learning & Teaching fund to specifically focus on efforts towards decolonizing the psychology curriculum.


I must make it clear - this project is not looking to add more theory to this area. There is already a fantastic array of work exploring decolonization (see: Why is my curriculum white?; Unpacking the invisible knapsack; & BME Psychology). This project aims to evaluate the efforts that are already being made, from the perspectives of academic staff, professional staff, and of course, students.


I started out this first project post - one of many to follow throughout this academic year - by detailing the work that came before, as this really does set us up for this current project. Referring back to those key areas:


- FACE: This year, myself, Dr Lesley-Ann Smith, & Dr Karishma Jivraj lead the staff team on the project. The team will work with the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion psychology-based group, as well as the Diversity, Community, and Identity Research Group, so we can involve staff who are already working in these areas. We have a wonderfully diverse cohort of students (including alumni), many of whom have already expressed an interest in getting involved. As per our previous projects - the 'right face[s]' help in spreading the message and working together.


- SPACE: Whilst we will be interviewing those who have taken part in the project this year for their thoughts and experiences, the main resource that we want to leave behind centres around an online forum within NILE, to act as a space for sharing good practice examples, for active discussion, and to keep up to date with advances in this area. In the previous projects, the 'right space[s]' were identified as important to allow discussion to happen openly, to encourage conversations, and to provide a starting point for those who have not engaged with this kind of work before.


- PLACE: This project is situated firmly in this 2020 context - Black Lives Matter protests, increasing attainment gaps, and general heightened awareness of equality, diversity, and inclusion issues in Higher Education. The previous projects highlighted that the 'right place[s]' for diversity-related work is not *just* within the institution - the conversation must expand outside of it. We are looking forward to being able to share this work, and collaborate with others.


Do keep an eye to this blog space for more updates, and do get in touch if there's anything you'd like to add: charlotte.dann@northampton.ac.uk

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