Ensuring better diversity in resources provided to students is a goal that many universities have been working towards in recent years. We asked librarians and students from the University of Kent to present at Talis Insight Europe 2019 to share their collaborative project.

This session was presented by Emma Mires-Richards and Sarah Field, Liaison Librarians, and Evangeline Agyeman and Collins Konadu-Mensah, Student Diversity Mark Officers at the University of Kent.

Evangeline shared the following with us:

“My role was a Diversity Mark Project Officer for the University of Kent, upon taking on this role, the aim was to audit a set reading lists by finding the nationalities and ethnicities of authors within these reading lists.

This role was essentially research-based, so the main tool used was the internet. The items created by the lecturers on Talis Aspire reading lists, was used a basis for what the curriculum consisted of. The numerous sources were split into the different weeks for the relevant topics on the reading lists, which created an easy structure to follow when auditing each source and the authors that belonged to such. As predicted, there was a great disproportion in terms of the sources and ethnicities of the authors, with the white British male being most prominent. This did make me reflect on the importance and need for diversity within our curriculum, without diversity, our minds our restricted to a limited as well as a certain type of perspective, discouraging the critical thinking university promotes.

Presenting these findings at the Talis Aspire conference was gratifying as I could provide insight into the process as well as highlighting to others the positive impact a diverse reading list could have.”

In the session, the team from Kent explained why the project started with the library, and how Talis Aspire was a useful tool at the early stages of the project. They also talked about 3 case studies, highlighting smaller projects within the initiative, two from different schools and one from the Student Diversity Mark officers. They summarised with what they had learnt, the feedback and perspectives from academics and the library and their plans moving forward.

You can watch their talk below:

 

Throughout their presentation, there were a number of book jackets across the slides that highlighted texts that were important to the project. Sarah Field shared the following lists, that were initially organised around diversity history months:

 


 
The University of Kent won a Talis Aspire User Group Creativity Award this year for their efforts, you can find out more about the award here.

 

If you’d like to find out more about other sessions at Talis Insight Europe 2019, click here.