Why we’re here
An introduction from student members of the group-
I am currently a student in my final year, studying the History of Art and Design. As a mixed Asian British student, I have become consumed with ideas of how to work on the decolonisation of our curriculum. This is a result of the Euro-centric Western canon that dominates the art history timeline. This collective not only offers a safe, and engaging space for me to speak about my frustrations with the current curriculum, but also a space to expand my knowledge on other areas of the School of Humanities where these Euro-centric narratives are present. To untie these Western binds that dictate the art history timeline, will mean we can start to discover an incredible spectrum of representation and perspectives in the arts.
I am a final year student of English Language and Media with a desire to re-write the narratives from which black and brown people have been historically erased in Higher Education.Throughout my degree, I was frustrated with the narratives in which I was represented as an Afro-Trinidadian woman; myself and my black and brown peers were often represented with an inferiority and primitivity that underpins the systematically racist Higher Education Institution. In joining the Decolonising the Curriculum collective, I found a space in which I could engage with and take active steps towards decentring colonial hetero-normative discourse from the curriculum, and diversifying the spaces and faces from which radical, anti-racist material can be taught. The Collective has allowed me a safe space to teach and be taught by like-minded students and staff with a collective goal of diversifying the sites of education while making it accessible to all regardless of age, race and class.
I am in the final year of my undergraduate course BA Hons in History, Literature and Culture. I really wanted to get involved in decolonising the curriculum because I had never had any teachers of colour before moving to Brighton. I think that the formation of this group could draw together whole community of students and teachers who are willing to tackle the misrepresentation of POC, female and LGBTQ+ experiences in the university curriculum. With particular regard to the Humanities courses, I believe that it is imperative to identify how academic institutions have avoided the confrontation of racial and sexual prejudice in educational spaces and have promoted the disregard of non-European histories in taught lessons and modules. It should be a widely held belief that in order to study within the Humanities field, there needs to be an acknowledgement of disenfranchised histories and an abandonment of entirely Western perspectives. To be a part of these many unveiling projects is to be part of a wider movement to deconstruct our perception of what ‘makes’ history.
I am a final year English Literature student. Being part of this group seemed to be a natural progression from talking with a few fellow students of colour who agreed that our curriculum was not only overwhelmingly white, but barely questioned. When considering our dissertation proposals it was apparent that we didn’t really have a great deal of material from our course specification to inspire us to do any kind of thesis that was related to race/ decolonisation/ or authors of colour. Not only was this off-putting in itself, it was also a challenge to match us with supervisors that had much experience in these areas of literature. These issues are not specific to our University and it only draws attention to a wider movement that although quiet is happening. I believe by opening up discussion and looking closely at the changes we can make course by course, a positive change can happen.
I am a final year English Literature student, who never really got to learn about my history or roots as Black-British Caribbean individual or other minority ethnic experiences. If there was anything we learnt about black people as a whole in school, it was the tiresome narrative that all black people were once upon a time slaves. Now being a university student, I have noticed that the narratives of those that do not fit under the white-European trajectory are limited to a week’s worth of teaching with little focus on identities outside that particular frame. I was excited to get involved in Decolonising the Curriculum group to be a part of the wider movement to challenge and tear down the Western and imperial ideals that have been embedded in the foundations of academia. As well as the group being a space for all voices to be heard and represented as we work to include a wider range of perspectives and experiences of POC within our curriculums and shake the foundations that have been within the education system for far too long.
I am a final year English Literature student. After studying one post-colonial feminist text on a second year module, I was yearning for more material about intersectional experiences. Once I decided to write about intersectional feminism for my dissertation, I found the amount of information about colonialism and postcolonial Britain that had been lacking from my learning overwhelming. The realisation that huge chunks of British past and present cultural foundations were not part of the compulsory curriculum bewildered and angered me. I hope that, alongside other universities, we can begin to dismantle racial prejudice and erasure by learning about the hidden histories of how Britain was built, and actively and accurately representing minority groups in all elements of Britain’s future.