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How Can Students Make Change?


Reflecting Upon Experience

Within education, students have the power of the collective voice.  The first step towards effecting sustainable change can be as simple as a conversation. Awareness coupled with the drive to learn and find solutions is where it starts.

As an example, the team at Decolonise Architecture put together a guidance framework, The Inclusive Review, during summer 2020. This educates tutors and visiting critics at project reviews for on real student experiences. These guidelines aim to facilitate anti-racist efforts to promote a welcome and professional review environment within an industry in need of change. 

This document was published at the start of the academic year and widely spread throughout our department. It has served as an effective starting point for staff to consider any subconscious biases they may have. Even further, it has inspired other activist student groups and departments within the University in their own respective missions. 

During DA’s Anti-Racist Forum in July 2020, both staff and students participating in the discussion allowed individuals to voice and tackle problems collaboratively. Both entities meeting, with those in power acting as proactive listeners to the needs of the community, is a collaborative and effective way forward when addressing these issues.

If you are inviting speakers, make sure to consider a range of opinions and backgrounds from those with research experience on the topics they discuss. If they are too far away, make it virtual! Furthermore, issues concerning your institution are not specific to age or seniority. Making sure that the whole range of staff and student bodies have access to discussions strengthens the movement.

It is easier said than done, however addressing leadership on the need for student empowerment means that communication is direct and therefore more likely to achieve a result. 

When you have started implementing change at a department level involving full school leadership is beneficial as they have the ability to scale the changes up.

As a group we regularly reflect on events during this past year and deeply appreciate this support. We hope it can encourage further collective action by external community members in their own institutions. Together, we can reach an education that is truly for all.


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