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Celebrating Black History Month

4 October 2021

As the UK marks Black History Month, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences would like to amplify and support the work of Black earth and environmental scientists who have contributed to a better understanding of our world.

October marks Black History Month in the UK, an opportunity for us to commemorate the history of Black communities and celebrate the immense contribution and achievements that people of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage make to all aspects of British society.

To take part in celebrations, we will be sharing a small selection of the work of some inspirational Black earth and environmental scientists on Twitter from 11 – 15 October 2021. We will also be raising internal awareness of initiatives within the School that aim to increase diversity, as well as bringing attention to UK-based online communities that support Black people in STEM, particularly in the earth and environmental sciences. You can follow the campaign on our Twitter account.

Whilst Black History Month is a chance to celebrate past and current achievements, it is also a time to look to the future and be open and honest about what more needs to be done to fight against racial prejudice and discrimination and improve Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation.

You can find out more and get involved with the initiatives within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences below.

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap aims to increase the understanding of the barriers to BAME student success, identify previously successful initiatives and share best practice experience, with the view to close the attainment gap that currently exists at a School, College and University level.

Currently, there is a 13% average attainment gap between white students and students from BAME+ backgrounds across UK universities. To close this gap, recommendations have been made by Cardiff University to provide stronger leadership, have open conversations about race, develop more inclusive and diverse environments, and understand best practices.

Within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the BAME attainment task and finish group has been established to see that these recommendations are followed. The group consists of academic and administrative staff, and undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of diverse backgrounds, who meet once a month to discuss past and present issues and develop new ways to provide a more inclusive and diverse learning environment for every student and staff member.

The group also aim to improve the BAME outreach by creating a more welcoming environment for research, teaching, and living experience.

Unlearning Racism in Geoscience

Our structured reading group follows a research-led curriculum about unlearning racism in geoscience. The group meets bi-weekly to communicate ideas based on interviews with scholars and articles around the topics of racism and:
  • definitions
  • individuals
  • history
  • justice
  • accessibility
  • inclusivity
  • self-care
  • accountability.

Based on the discussions, the team produce deliverables with the aim of forming new School policies that address the potential equality, diversity, and inclusivity issues.

To demonstrate your commitment to making positive progress for our BAME community, we hope you will be able to contribute to initiatives within the School, attend the upcoming training events, and show your support for our Black History Month campaign on social media.

Further support for Black geoscientists can be found through the Twitter campaign ‘Black in Geoscience Week 2021’ organised by Black in Geoscience, which ran in September 2021. Although the campaign has now ended, you can still view the tweets using the hashtag #BiGWeek2021 and connect with inspiring Black scientists from all over the world.

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