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Decolonise Our School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

The concept of race is inherently associated with colonialism and coloniality. It is an integral part of the coloniser/colonised dynamic that continues to manifest itself in everyday, interpersonal interactions. In order to conceptualise the pervasive presence of race within the colonial endeavour it is essential to contextualise the origins of race within the period of European expansion. It is, for instance, well established that, ‘for centuries, Europeans attempted to make sense of human diversity, classifying people by how they differed from themselves’.[1] The categories that were subsequently produced paved the way for the production of a racial hierarchy which, within the colonial context, involved the ‘systematic negation of the other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity’.[2] The heavily intertwined, and oftentimes interdependent, relationship between race and European, colonial history becomes increasingly undeniable the more …

In conversation with Linda Brogan: The Reno, Guerrilla gardening and cherry blossom

Excerpts of conversation with Linda Brogan - an intergenerational exchange, focusing on institutional battles, decolonisation, slavery and trauma.Beginning as a short interview about Brogan’s recent Reno exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery, our Zoom discussion sprawled into a few hours of debate and discourse- an intergenerational exchange as activists and creatives. Much of the discussion focused on identity and how it has influenced our practice. Linda Brogan is a playwright and artist, recently in the spotlight for her curation of this show. The Reno exhibition used interviews and images to examine the lives of those from Moss Side in Manchester, who frequented the Reno nightclub. It was a safe haven for those of mixed-race descent, labelled ‘half caste’by locals in the area. Brogan was a fellow club-goer, who is herself half Irish and half Jamaican. In our long conversations I enjoyed her quick wit, warm laugh and Mancunian sensibility.On black lives maters- not just a discussion …

Decolonising Isn't Just for the Humanities, Science Needs Decolonising Too

It seems as though so many conversations about decolonising the curriculum, be it in universities, or in schools, centre on humanities subjects. Recent examples that spring to mind are conversations about decolonising the canon of Literature courses by diversifying reading lists; or focusing on the missing perspectives in History lessons by trying to teach children about the British Empire and its activities in schools.
These initiatives are crucial. But as I took my first steps into academic roles, both in teaching at university, and conducting research as a PhD candidate in History of Science, I’ve realised that we need to focus on decolonising science education too.    
My experiences as an educator thus far have highlighted the difficulties that follow the way we teach students about the scientific method. We teach students in primary school that science is not about feelings, but that it’s objective; it’s based in facts; it’s something that can be controlled, so that it is unaffect…

Resisting Carceral Feminism

Carceral feminism is the reliance of the state’s apparatus as an avenue for protection, and thus, equality. It is outraged by the number of rape convictions, and demands more severe prosecutions, greater numbers of police, and believes imprisonment can achieve feminist aims. At its most sinister, carceral feminism witnesses the death of George Floyd, and demands bigger budgets for the police for reform. It watches the calls of Joe Biden to ‘aim for the leg not the heart’, and the officers kneeling with protesters, and feels reassured. It accepts the notion that the lives of black women can be sacrificed for white women to feel safer. Carceral feminism is the enemy of intersectional feminism. It ignores the ways in which race, class, gender identity, and immigration status leave certain women more vulnerable to violence and that criminalisation and imprisonment places these same women at risk of violence from the state.Abolitionist feminism calls for liberation of all women and margina…

Why should humanitarianism have to decolonise itself?

Humanitarianism is a loosely gathered bundle of numerous myriad organisations and individuals whose common goal is improvements to human welfare and positive social development. So how does decolonisation fit into this enormous global phenomenon?
Simply put, humanitarianism as a concept exists now due to Western empires. This is not to say that the concepts of charity and solidarity did not exist before Britain invaded a fifth of the world (a glance at the holy texts of any large religion will quickly prove that humans have always felt a keen urge to help one another), but instead to acknowledge that the way that most humanitarianism functions now is largely built on colonial imperialism. 
During the long era of Western subjugation of the rest of the world at large, people became increasingly informed of the suffering of others. The economic routes which fuelled empires with slavery and extorted goods also carried news around the world, and ordinary people – regardless of the intenti…

It’s Time to Acknowledge White-Washed Environmentalism

In the UK, the environmental sector is the second ‘most-white’. In recent years, the environmental movement has emerged as a white middle-class movement, despite the biggest contributors to climate change being Western society.
Over the last few decades, people in the global south have been fighting for their voices to be heard in this movement, because even though the global south contributes the least to the destruction of our planet, it is this part of the world that is disproportionately affected.
Colonialism relied on the stealing of natural resources of colonised countries and the removal of peoples from vast areas of land to conquest landscapes for colonial powers to use as their own. Damaging the environment was a key tool in the ‘conquering of the third world’ game that Western Superpowers played for centuries. The legacies of colonialism still live on today in how our environment is lived in, managed and protected, particularly in former colonised states.
In an unconscious a…