Decolonising the curriculum in research


SOAS Decolonising Research Initiative

Future Learn Online Course - Decolonising Education: From Theory to Practice

Challenging Colonial Practices in Research: a guide for PhD students

Example of Activities

Andrea Newman

  • The research project ‘From student to practitioner’ race, racism and social work.’ aims to  explore the experiences of ethnically diverse students and practitioners of social work education and practice, using a co-production, participatory framework, and make policy and practice recommendations to the CWMTP.  
  • The objectives include;  
  1. To engage and recruit ethnically diverse students and social work practitioners in 4 reflective focus  groups, to co-produce research data on ‘The experiences of ethnically diverse social work students and practitioners of social work education and practice.’  
  2. To adopt a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology underpinned by an Anti-Racist framework, to allow for ethnically diverse students and social work practitioner engagement and participation
  • To analyse data, write up and disseminate findings

Dr Christopher Vaughan

  • The research project, ‘Regionalism in East Africa, c. 1900-present’, aims to provide the first comprehensive study of regionalism as a formal political and economic project in East Africa across both colonial and post-colonial periods
  • The project engages this central question within both a regional and global setting, examining the origins, character, and outcomes of regional integration initiatives as the product both of East African internal dynamics as well as of interlinked global structures and processes (colonialism, decolonisation, global regionalisms, and neo-liberalism)

Dr Dror Dayan

  • A collaborative film project with Kassem Eida that is a cinemaic investigation of Palestinian disapora present and history
  • Induced by Eida’s family’s roots going back through the Palestinian refugee camp Bourj el-Barajneh in Beirut to the Palestinian town Tarshiha in today’s Israel The family, together with a significant part of Tarshiha’s residents, has been displaced during the Israeli occupation of the village in 1948 and fled to Lebanon, where they settled in the refugee camp and have been living in exile ever since
  • Dror’s objective as the films editor is to keep the agency and upholding the artistic and political intents of the non-professional filmmakers while striving for the highest possible level of cinematic production and artistic standards

Dr Helen Tookey

  • Research project completed on novelist Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957) 
  • Writing a creative non-fiction book (working title Malcolm Lowry and Me: An Essay on Place, Text, and Belonging), exploring her engagement with Lowry’s work, with a particular focus on issues relating to place and belonging
  • Has begun to think about how to apply a decolonising perspective to the issues around place, belonging, land ownership, and colonialism that are relevant to the project
  • ‘ I will need to find ways to open up my thinking to relevant postcolonial perspectives on these issues ‘

Dr Michael Perfect

  • The research project ‘Levy’s Legacy’ focuses on the work of renowned novelist Andrea Levy who’s oeuvre has a great deal to say about systemic racism, and about the ongoing legacies of Britain’s imperial history. In recent years, the urgency of her work has been underscored by the Windrush Scandal, by the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and by the disproportionate toll that COVID-19 has had on ethnically diverse communities
  • Her work places the experiences and the contributions of black Britons at the centre of the national story, it explores the historical roots and the contemporary persistence of systemic racism, and it insists that we cannot understand contemporary, multi-ethnic Britain without looking honestly and unflinchingly at Britain’s long and brutal history of imperialism
  • The research aims to provide new insights into the work of one of Britain’s most significant contemporary writers, reassessing and celebrating Levy’s legacy