Championing positive culture change



It was standing room only at LJMU's BAME Staff Network launch held at Sensor City earlier this month.

Audience, BAME Network events

The event, celebrating the work of BAME staff at LJMU and championing positive culture change, was delivered by LJMU's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team, in partnership with the Race Equality Charter (REC) Working Group, supported by LJMU's Equality and Diversity Committee.

The session, which was chaired by Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a (Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Chair of LJMU BAME Staff Network), featured a range of enlightening and informative keynote talks.

Dr Iyiola Solanke is a Professor in the Centre for Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds where she holds the Chair in EU Law and Social Justice. Dr Solanke shared her experiences in academia, tackling institutional racism and the importance of https://blackfemaleprofessorsforum.org

Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Insights, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE, a UK higher education sector body which aims to advance the professional practice of higher education to improve outcomes for the benefit of students, staff and society, in the UK and globally, presented an informative talk 'BAME Staff progression: ideas to catalyst change'.

Zia Chaudhry MBE, LJMU's Foundation for Citizenship Director, challenged the audience and looked for the 'Solution'- to encourage responsible media and control our own narrative.

The talks were followed by a lively panel debate, with Carolyn Williams (Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions), Howisha Penny (VP Community Engagement, JMSU) joining Zia, Gary and Iyiola to answer some excellent questions from the floor.

Following the event, we spoke to Professor Lilian Otaye (pictured right) who joined LJMU in 2015 as a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management/Research and was promoted to a Reader in Human Resource Management in 2017.

How have you been involved with LJMU BAME initiatives?

I have been involved with the BAME network since it’s initiation. I am also part of the working group for the Race and Equality Charter. I have helped the EDI Team led by Moni Akinsanya in organising and supporting where needed various BAME events.

Why is the BAME network so important?

The BAME network is very important as it provides a safe space where individuals who have historically been marginalised, have a voice and speak up for what’s right. It also provides an excellent networking opportunity for individuals across the university with shared interest to come together and collaborate on research, scholarship and practice. LJMU in particular in creating and supporting the BAME network have indirectly supported me in showing that they value diversity and inclusion.

What do you get out of the network and other EDI university initiatives?

Like I said earlier, the network provides us a safe space where we can share our struggles and offer solutions. Other EDI university initiatives such as the Women  Readers Group have been supportive while I was applying for my promotion. Also listening to invited speakers at the EDI events has been useful in my research and in networking with scholars and practitioners across the UK

What was the best part of the BAME Network launch event?

For me the best part was listening to the speakers particularly Professor Iyiola.

Why should staff get involved in the network?

It is a great opportunity for all of us to come together to help create an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and valued.

The BAME Academics Staff Working Group will meet regularly as a staff support network and also assist the university with reviewing progress against the University’s Race and Religion/Beliefs Equality Objectives and to share best practice:

  • To ensure that Race equality and diversity matters are fully considered, addressed and embedded within the activities and decisions of the University
  • To identify risks and opportunities associated with University proposals, decisions and other activities which relates to equality diversity and inclusivity
  • To assist with review progress against the University’s Equality and Diversity objectives and offer advice as required
  • To contribute to equality projects, initiatives or activities in relation to race equality as required
  • To promote LJMU equality, diversity and inclusivity campaigns through equality events and organised by the Equality and Diversity Team


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