Here at the Centre for Inclusive Digital Futures we work with numerous partners within multiple sectors – from health to sustainable energy, from the arts to artificial intelligence. The unifying thread between all our work is the belief that digital design can transform inequalities.
To make our vision a reality, it’s essential that we support the development of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) researchers. In this way we’re building an exceptional team that enables us to tackle inequalities through exemplary research and inventive approaches. A recent example of career development activity is ECR Judith Rickett’s attendance at the BME Early Career Researcher Conference, an event hosted by the Open University.
‘This was a hugely valuable experience for my professional development,’ says Judith. ‘It felt both supporting and mentoring. Mentoring is essential in academia where one can so easily get lost. This is particularly true if you and your work are different and not easily positioned within the mainstream majority. Throughout, the whole conference felt effervescent – it was so refreshing to be amongst interesting and academic people who looked like me.
‘The conference was also a superb networking opportunity. I was able to talk with people from other universities; senior lecturers as well as fellow ECRs. The conference is open to ECRs from any academic field, so given the way in which my own research intersects through history, digital technology, inequalities, the built environment and the arts, it was an ideal opportunity to build the kind of contacts that might lead to collaboration in the future.
‘This is a hugely popular event. There were 200 delegates and another 200 on the waiting list. It’s been running for four years, with the aim of empowering Black and Minority Ethnic Early Career Researchers to stay in academia and for me it’s living up to its intentions. This was energising, the mentoring ideas were very empowering. I came away filled with a new dynamism and am inspired to put new traditions in place.’