Student Journeys

We are Just Genetic Mixing Machines

The first conference was titled “conversation towards an anti-racist university”. The conference was fascinating to me as it brought about a diverse group of people to talk about similar experiences. The discussion was mainly about the problems and how we can create a more improved space for people who face racism, especially in Higher Education. The panels did not only contain people with similar views telling us the same story, but these were different individuals, whether on the side of receiving or inflicting racist acts. So they inform the audience about a whole range of perspectives to view the topic of racism in academia. One of my favourite perspectives had to be from Lorna Tinworth. She spoke about it from a scientific aspect saying, “we are just genetic mixing machines”, which set out the tone for how equal every individual is regardless of “race” as it’s just a social construct. This conference was also the first time I had seen not only 1 but 2 panels with all African presenters. One of the panels included the presenters doing a PhD at our university, which was inspiring for us. I feel for the minority students; seeing them studying for a PhD was uplifting and inspiring. There was also a panel with people from South Asia talking about their experiences as PhD holders in universities. They express their experience of working in an environment where most academics are white.
It was enlightening to hear them talking about the good and difficulties they encounter at their own universities. They receive little support when they try to encourage changes.

The second conference was ‘Power and Contestations in Global Worlds: Identities, Conflicts, and Developmental Challenges’. I liked the conference because it was for the students to present their papers. It allowed us to express the work we have throughout the year. Some of the speakers were passionate about their research and findings. There were different topics. I liked that the conference involved other students from various London colleges and universities around the world from Peru and Vietnam. They presented exciting papers. It was also great to see how the technology links students from different parts of the world. I had the opportunity to chair a panel, listening to their talk and taking notes.
Overall, I learned so much and how to manage a meeting better next time, especially when introducing others to the stage.

Halima Sani, BA Politics and International Relations.

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