Liberate My Degree
Liberate my Degree is a campaign to make the student experience at Goldsmiths more inclusive, from curriculum design to creating alternative learning spaces
» In 2011, the National Union of Students NUS) released ‘Race for Equality’, a report outlining the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students in Further and Higher Education.
» In late 2014, the Students’ Union at UCL started the ‘Why Is My Curriculum White Campaign’. Shortly afterwards, in 2015 ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ initiatives popped up in Oxford and Cape Town, South Africa.
» At the same time, Goldsmiths SU Education Officer, Sarah El Alfy, and the BME Network and Women’s Forum worked to bring ‘Diversifying the Curriculum’ to Goldsmiths. BME Women’s Coffee Hours were first set up in late 2014, where discussions on curriculum, lack of representation and support would frequently come up.
» In June 2015, a video was used to launch ‘Diversifying the Curriculum’ campaign at Goldsmiths. Alongside the video, the BME Network created a petition to Patrick Loughrey, the Warden of Goldsmiths. The petition outlined the issues and asked the institution to “consider all this and commit to taking our criticisms seriously through whatever means can be used”.
» Following this, a meeting with 60+ students was arranged to get feedback on what steps to move forward with, and a proposal was taken to the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Committee (LTEC) for departments to undertake periodic reviews of their courses, with a particular focus on reading lists.
» After passing through LTEC, it was then taken through and developed at multiple committees, and continued to be discussed at higher levels of decision making within the University.
» When Danny Nasr became Education Officer the following year (2015/16), some huge steps forward were made, including the inclusion of an ‘Internationalisation’ section in programme development forms, which require academics to think about how their modules will include discussion of the topic from a global perspective, and how it will centre traditionally marginalised voices in academia.
» In 2016/17, NUS renamed the campaign ‘Liberate My Degree’ and created a resource hub, and so Goldsmiths adopted the name to be in line with a national campaign.
» In the same academic year, Education Officer Mollie Kneath (2016/17) managed to rename the Education Building the Margaret McMillan Building, the first building on campus to be named after a woman, which was brought under the umbrella of the Liberate My Degree campaign.
» Mollie also sat on the working group that was writing the new Learning and Teaching Strategy, where she helped write a part of the strategy for staff members to embrace liberation, representation, and inclusion at every stage of the learning process.
» Now, the first point on the Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-2022 is ‘Liberate Our Degrees’, making departments responsible for upholding this strategic item, ensuring the wider institution works toward a liberated curriculum.