Registration is closed for this event
April 25th, 2022 1:00 PM through  2:30 PM
Online event - link will be provided


There has been a dominant narrative of ethnic minority ‘success’ in university participation, particularly in England.  This narrative can be traced back to the wording of the Dearing Report (1997, chapter 7, para 7.16): ‘Ethnic minorities as a whole are more than proportionally represented in higher education, compared to the general population.’  However, Pilkington (2009, 17) expressed concern about this emphasis of ‘success’, as it masked, or pushed other observations of race inequality recorded in the Dearing Report to the periphery such as students of colour being concentrated in ‘less prestigious universities,’ and that students of colour achieved a lower rate of return on their higher education qualifications than white students.  So, at least for the past two decades, students of colour have not been accessing and experiencing higher education in the same way as white students.  It is this systematic race inequality, most specifically an antiblackness (Madriaga 2018), which explains restricted presence of Black postgraduate researchers and academic staff in the higher education sector (Samatar et al. 2021; Williams et al. 2019).       

The work of Stevenson et al. (2019), a joint effort of academic researchers, Advance HE (a member-led charity based in the UK that works with universities across the world to make them more inclusive), and the Runnymede Trust (the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank), presented evidence, detailing the systematic race inequalities including matters of access into higher education. In making recommendations, they foregrounded targeted interventions and employing positive action as indicated in the Equality Act 2010. There is evidence to suggest that the university regulator, the Office for Students, has taken on the recommendations of the Stevenson et al. (2019) report, and more importantly the recommendations of Leading Routes, an initiative that aims to prepare the next generation of Black academics (Williams et al. 2019).  The Office for Students has poured in £8 million to improve access to postgraduate research opportunities specifically to students of colour in England.[1]  It is very much race-specific and targeted. 

This SRHE Student Access and Experience Network seminar aims to highlight this specific initiative, as well as create a space for researchers and practitioners involved in anti-racist work in higher education to explore the enablers and barriers of the PGR journey for people of colour. 



13:00-13:10 – Introductions

13:10-13.30 – Presentation from Dr Manny Madriaga (University of Nottingham)

13:30-13:50 – Presentation from Parise Carmichael-Murphy (University of Manchester)

13:50-13:55 – comfort break

13:55-14:15 – Presentation from Amira Samatar (Sheffield Hallam University)

14:15-14:30 – Q&A

Parise Carmichael-Murphy is a PhD Education researcher at the University of Manchester, Manchester Institute of Education. Her research is informed by Black feminist thought and she is particularly interested in identity in childhood and adolescence. Using intersectionality as a critical framework, Parise is interested in unpacking how education policy and practice sustain inequalities in a range of settings. Her thesis seeks to explore the social determinants of adolescent boys’ mental health and wellbeing in education. Parise is interested in re-imagining higher education as a space that embraces dialogue to bridge the perceived gap between academia and activism.

Manny Madriaga is associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. He has a background working in disability student support, widening participation, education development, and quality enhancement. He was born and raised in California, ancestral lands of the Ohlone and Esselen, to immigrant parents. His research interests are on the processes of social exclusion/inclusion related to 'race', ethnicity and disability. He is currently engaged in research projects with a focus on widening participation in higher education.

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