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Arts & Culture

Arts & Humanities Research Institute Diversity and Inclusion Review

AHRI Globe

About The Project

This review was commissioned by Arts & Humanities Research Institute (AHRI) at King's College London, to contribute to the Institute’s aim to grow socially engaged research that generates positive impacts on society through identifying, celebrating and publicising current good practice across the Institute’s thirteen Centres in the research and engagement areas of diversity and inclusion.

The AHRI commissioned this review into its own process; the review itself was small-scale and not longitudinal—instead captured current processes and offered insight into current and recent practices of the Centres which make up the Institute. The review took place over four months from November 2020 to February 2021 and was primarily engaged in interviewing Centre staff and reviewing the Centres’ online presence in addition to reviewing documentation such as REF Impact statements, funding requests and other relevant documentation made available by both the AHRI and individual Centres. The scope of this review is wide-ranging in that Centres were encouraged to discuss any aspects of their research and/or practice which they felt engaged with diversity and inclusion in open-ended ways.

It is worth noting at the outset that this review was carried out remotely and finalised a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic. As such, many Centres had to adapt, postpone and/or cancel many events and initiatives which would have had a positive impact on their Centre’s engagement with diversity and inclusion.

Aims and Objectives for the Review

  • Celebrate the Centres’ productive and positive engagement with diversity and inclusion and to promote current models of best practice.
  • Support Centres to make informed decisions regarding engagement with and the promotion of diversity and inclusion.
  • Inform and influence strategic policy at Centre and Institute level regarding diversity and inclusion.

Recommendations Of the Review

  • Diversity and inclusion should be embedded within policy, research and teaching and learning strategies rather than as “add-on” structures to avoid tokenism and reinforce Institute-wide priority.
  • Support Centres leaders to ensure that leadership is strong and diverse with diversity and inclusivity as a key priority. Steering groups are a positive way of ensuring that a democratic approach is taken to Centre leadership and successful use of this type of leadership has seen Queer@King’s engage with diversity and inclusion in creative and proactive ways.
  • Continue to support the appointment of a diverse range of individuals in key roles. Centre Administrators and other roles within Centres have the potential to contribute greatly to the diversity and inclusion agenda
  • Encourage Centres to embrace inclusive strategies such as a BSL interpreter for online and in-person events, closed captions for recordings, and the use of informative and helpful descriptions when including ‘alt-text’ on webpages.
  • Support Centres to improve / make consistent their online presence through making available resources and/or trained staff and either assisting the creation of stand-alone web pages or improved King’s homepages. Create a clearly defined social media strategy for all Centres (to avoid inconsistency and underuse).
  • Further discussion with Centre administrators about their roles, job security and pay. Centre administrators play a key role in the Centres, but many feel that this is not fully reflected in their job security and pay.
  • Creation of roles or support for Centres to create roles which have as their priority widening participation / social engagement and support for connected funding applications.
  • Wider collection and use of data to support and track improved engagement with diversity and inclusion
  • Support Centres to consider a wider range of community partnerships outside of (and in addition to) partnerships with large cultural institutions and charities.
  • Learn from other disciplines: The work of the Centre for Humanities and Health (CHH) and Centre for Life-Writing Research (CLWR) is a good example of creative ways to carry out socially engaged research which have come from a discipline traditionally outside of the Humanities. This highlights both the scope for learning from other disciplines and engaging with those outside of academia in productive ways.

Recommendations for King’s more generally (outside of the scope of the AHRI):

  • Review the room booking system and consider ways of flagging accessibility issues from the outset.

A summary of the Report can be found here. 

The Full Report is available via request from ahri@kcl.ac.uk 

Project status: Ongoing

Principal investigators

Mrs Sam Cater

PhD student

Contact

Arts & Humanities Research Institute

King's College London

Strand Campus

London

WC2R 2LS