LGBT History Month is an annual programme taking place in February each year, which challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. We use LGBT History Month to explore issues which are often misrepresented or ignored by running workshops and events which promote the LGBT community at the university whilst learning how we can best support LGBT staff and students. View the full 2018 programme here.
To recognize International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is held annually on December 3, the Equality Office and the staff Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN) celebrated the positive contribution of disabled employees and raised awareness of disability, highlighting the benefits of an inclusive and accessible workplace for all.
To show the university's support, we invited staff to join the #purplelightup campaign, an initiative launched by Kate Nash OBE and founder of Purple Space the world's only networking and professional development hub for disabled employees. During the week 4-8 December 2017 we asked staff to raise awareness of disability by wearing purple to work or by wearing a purple ribbon.
The Equality Office also worked with the charity, Enhance the UK, to provide disability awareness training to staff.
The Equality Office hosted a two-hour workshop with Carers in Hertfordshire, aimed at helping carers to learn techniques to build up resilience and reduce stress.
The Chaplaincy, Equality Office and Student Union hosted a 'speed faithing' event. Staff and students joined in for an opportunity to say all the things they wish people knew about their faith or lack of faith, and had the chance to ask other people questions about their beliefs in a fun and safe space.
World Menopause Day takes place annually on 18 October and is a worldwide awareness call for women who face health issues when approaching, during and beyond the menopause. It also recognises the challenges women face in the workplace, attempts to de-stigmatise the issue and inform employers about how they might be able to offer the right kind of support.
In recognition, the Equality Office ran a 'mindfulness and the menopause' session. The Menopause Network in the School of Health and Social Work also organised an informational session with Norma Goldman, founder of The Menopause Exchange.
The University puts on an exciting programme every year for Black History Month, which includes theatre, film, history and key note speakers. In 2017, some of the events included:
The School of Health and Social Work screened the BBC documentary: Black Nurses: the women who saved the NHS. This documentary tells the story of the thousands of Caribbean and African women who answered the call 70 years ago to come to the UK to save the then ailing health service. It's a tale of a struggle to overcome racism, their fight for career progression and their battle for national recognition.
This was followed by a panel discussion with: Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, health expert, tutor, lecturer and medical professor; Felicia Kwaku, Associate Director of Nursing and Quality Improvement; Amanda Joseph, Specialist Practitioner of Transfusion, and Memory Ruzvidzo, Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.
The Equality Office screened the incredible true story Hidden Figures, the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Peter D'Sena, a Learning and Teaching Specialist at the University of Hertfordshire and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, London gave a talk about the role and relevance of Black History Month. It is over 90 years since Carter G Woodson's original idea for an annual event to celebrate and support black history in American public schools, but increasingly there has been debate and disagreement about the role and relevance of what we now call Black History Month. Where should we stand on this? What might new methodological approaches in historical enquiry do to move black history from the margins to the centre? The talk explored these debates and suggested how some recent work in migration studies, ethnomusicology and Blues music may take teaching, learning and, more generally, knowing about black history forward.
The Equality Office screened a social satire that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where controversy breaks out over a popular but offensive black-face party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in acutely-not-post-racial America while weaving a universal story of forging one's unique path in the world.
Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month (GRTHM) was established in 2001. It celebrates the richness that these communities bring to our everyday lives here in the UK through their many and varied academic and artistic achievements, as well as the contributions they have made to British Society.
The Equality Office hosted a morning with master storyteller Richard O'Neill, who was raised in the nomadic tradition by a family who travelled all over the country. Having learned his storytelling from the very best traditional Romany and North Country storytellers, Richard blends the old and new producing and telling unique, exciting and original stories for adults and children of all ages.
In an entertaining and informative talk, he shared his personal experiences, explored the use of language, challenged some of the common myths and considered how educational establishments can be inclusive and supportive of the travelling community.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges that carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. In 2017, the theme focused on building communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.
To celebrate, we offered staff who are carers the opportunity to have a free bespoke 20 minute massage and also hosted a screening of the film Amour, a romantic and heart breaking drama which follows the story of retired music teachers George and Anne, who face their greatest challenge yet when Anne suffers a debilitating stroke and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Events in 2017 included:
LGBT History Month is an annual programme taking place in February each year, which challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. We use LGBT History Month to explore issues which are often misrepresented or ignored by running workshops and events which promote the LGBT community at the university whilst learning how we can best support the LGBT staff and students.