Image credit: Screenshot of the ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ LCC Value Talk with Changemakers and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan from It’s All Blakademik, Oct 2020
Co-authors: 2020-21 Changemakers Ana Blumenkron, Alex Goodall, Prachee Mashru, Emma Sproat and Sebastian George, with their manager Lucy Panesar.
When we began as Changemakers in April 2020, we were tasked with making curricular interventions at London College of Communication (LCC) with a view to decolonising the student experience. Between us, we have initiated decolonial thinking and change through a variety of methods and in a variety of areas within the college. Arguably, the challenge which ties all our efforts together, however, has been figuring out what a student’s role in university decolonisation could and indeed should be.
Our work has seen us dealing with students and staff at all levels of the university from Associate Lecturers to the Vice Chancellor, and while valuable lessons have been learned at every stage, we are spending our last few weeks in the role reflecting on what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what the next cohort of Changemakers (starting in September) will be able to build on.
We have been the first generation of student and alumni Changemakers at LCC, and have now worked a full year. In this time, we’ve established productive relationships with course teams and senior management for future Changemakers to build upon. We’ve input to the development of course handbooks across LCC’s nine programmes, helped facilitate Academic Enhancement workshops, supported decolonial staff training for lecturers and technicians, partnered with Academic Support to codevelop decolonial tactics, and much more. All with the aim of making higher education a better place for all students.
Some of us have written and spoken about our own experiences and knowledge: Prachee wrote a story about Choosing to Challenge; Ana wrote an article on Women Behind the Lens story; and Prachee spoke with former Changemaker Rachel Williams about Decolonising the Curriculum for an LCC Value Talk hosted by It’s All Blakademik. Alex and Emma have also played a key role in establishing and facilitating LCC’s new Decolonising Wikipedia Network which now has over 60 staff-student members.
The work as a Changemaker is extremely rewarding. At the start it was difficult to use our voices, to speak to tutors and programme directors and other areas of the University, about things that they might not notice but come out as microaggressions to students. As Changemakers we have received training on topics that can be very difficult to confront, and to identify undetected bias. Even though topics can be difficult to discuss, it does not mean they’re not important. So, in all, it has been very empowering to help the University to be a more compassionate and safe space for everyone.
We, the first generation of Changemakers, will continue to work with LCC staff until the end of this academic year while we help recruit and train LCC’s next generation of Changemakers to start this autumn. For more information about our work over the past year and the Decolonising Wikipedia Network, visit: