Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at King's College London

Tag: King’s Business School

King’s reflections a year on from George Floyd’s murder – Part 3

In the third installment of our reflections a year on from the murder of George Floyd we share the personal reflections of Rabia Harrison - Director of Administration in The Dickson Poon School of Law.Walso hear from Stephen Bach and Suzanne Marcuzzi from King’s Business School.


Rabia Harrison , Director of Administration in The Dickson Poon School of Law.

The past year has demonstrated an institution wide commitment to bringing the race conversation to the fore.  We have held town hall meetings, student led conversations about race, an openness to hear different perspectives and a real recognition for the disparities that the organisation still has when it comes to representation and employment.  I have taken very seriously my own personal duty to reinforce conversations relating to race and have taken a much greater lead in highlighting specific instances where the relevance of race has either been overlooked or been overtly denigrated.  King’s has proven that it is ready to listen.  It is time to respond. 

A month ago I decided to share my personal story with my faculty.  It was an emotional piece about my lived experience as a British Muslim Pakistani girl growing up in an overtly racist area and my observations and encounters during my career.  I shared the piece because I knew that there were many colleagues in the same position as me who have for such a long time buried the hurt they have experienced and because there are also many colleagues who simply do not know the lived experience of a person of colour.  I was struck by how shocked the latter group of colleagues were upon hearing the reality of the day to day challenges a person like me has experienced.  Certainly, the power and significance of conversations such as these should make a change.  And yet, the experience of sharing has left me exposed with a vulnerability and open wound that is calling for a much greater commitment than simply being heard.  The more we speak about the race issues that exist, the more we surface the painful and intolerable encounters our BME community have suffered.  We are now at a crucial intersection and our next steps will not only define our position in the race debate but will also demonstrate to our community that we have listened, understood and are ready to make the right change.

 

Stephen Bach & Suzanne Marcuzzi, King’s Business School. 

While it has been a year since the death of George Floyd, the impact and immediacy of his killing have not faded. We could feel the legacy of his violent death, and the racially-motivated violent deaths of so many others before and since, permeating many aspects of our lives and the lives of those in the business school community of staff, students and partners over the last twelve months.  

Within the business school we have sought to listen, supporting conversations on race for our staff and students and hosting a panel talk ‘Business is Black’ to celebrate black voices in education and academia, but also to hear about the challenges our colleagues face because of explicit and implicit bias. We are now moving from conversation to action, having introduced a widening participation programme for students from our local boroughs, reviewing our hiring practices and the language in our adverts and on our website, exploring development and mentoring opportunities for our black and minority ethnic colleagues, and participating in the excellent More than Mentoring scheme ourselves.  

There remains much more to be done, and one important step is the recruitment of a Reader in Diversity and Inclusion to help us to draw upon the latest research to shape our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. Our hope is that the Business School is a place which not only tolerates but celebrates diversity, in all its forms, and provides the appropriate support for staff and students to achieve their goals and to be their authentic selves at King’s.   

King’s Business School Wellbeing Day – Reflections and Successes  

Izzy Rhodes, Event Coordinator from King’s Business School, shares her reflections on the King’s Business School (KBS) Wellbeing Day. The event was held on 26 March 2020 and consisted of a full day of wellbeing activities. Members of professional service staff joined forces and led different sessions, ranging from resilience training to a cooking class. All wellbeing sessions were delivered virtually via Microsoft Teams, showing how well the school adapted to remote workingIf you would like to reach out to the KBS Wellbeing Group for tips on how to run your own wellbeing session, please contact izzy.rhodes@kcl.ac.uk or erk.3.gunce@kcl.ac.uk  

A poster detailing the wellbeing activities organised by King's Business School, including a coffee break, inclusive communication session, resilience class, cooking class, drawing class and meditation session.

Poster designed by Izzy Rhodes

Having been thrust into the arms of work from home culture two weeks ago, along with the majority of the country, the KBS Staff Wellbeing Team have worked their socks off to create a sense of community. It’s safe to say that we’ve all quickly come to appreciate that the concept of community goes far beyond our next door neighbour and local shop. Virtual connections have become a staple in today’s pursuit of happiness, and Thursday 26 March 2020 saw the Faculty’s first virtual Wellbeing Day.  

Since the move to working from home was implemented just over three weeks ago, many of us have found ourselves adjusting to a more sedentary lifestyle – bookended by commutes from the living room to the bedroom, as opposed from one side of London to the other. KBS Wellbeing Day’s practical focus was a welcomed change to a new and weirdly insular lifestyle. It gave time to focus on tactile skills and holistic conversations that are often rushed in a normal work environment.  

Consisting of a variety of activities and discussions, ranging from a still life workshop to a discussion about the language of disability, Wellbeing Day was a welcomed break from the newfound normality of being absorbed by spreadsheet-populating and report-writing in the quiet comfort of our pajamas. Run by members of the Faculty’s professional services team, the activities not only provided new opportunities for learning, but gave space for developing relationships with colleagues in alternative working environments and hours. 

The importance of wellbeing events and creative outlets within working hours cannot be underestimated. Providing wellbeing services within the confines of work time not only breaks up the working day with tactile and practical activities and stimulates our creative grey cells, but also validates the necessity of prioritising staff happiness and wellbeing. It builds community with colleagues and introduces different sides of people to an environment that can often value complete professionalism over personality. I found that being given the time and space to have open discussions, moving away from impersonal emails to video chats, was a valuable gateway to building skills outside of standard job descriptions. Overall, the KBS Wellbeing Day was a great success that brought staff closer together. Thanks to Joanna, Erk, Angela, Mia, Preena, Haz, Cathy and Sarah for leading the sessions.

© 2021 Diversity Digest

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑