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EDI Festival 2024

Partnership in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Welcome to the 2024 edition of the yearly festival in equity, diversity and inclusion, jointly organised by the University of Amsterdam and the University of Birmingham. We are delighted to bring you this festival as part of our intensified collaboration, aimed at promoting equity, diversity and inclusion across both universities and beyond. This year's festival promises to be a unique experience, featuring a hybrid format that combines virtual webinars and face-to-face events in Birmingham and Amsterdam. We look forward to engaging with you in meaningful conversations and thought-provoking discussions.

Just like in previous years, the Birmingham EDI Student Ambassadors and Amsterdam Cultural Exchange Ambassadors will collaborate to organise this festival, as we come together to celebrate diversity, foster inclusivity, and explore innovative approaches to promoting equity in our communities.

Aston Webb Building, University of Birmingham

This year’s theme: Make Change Happen

The EDI Festival, running from 19 February until 15 March 2024, spans an entire month dedicated to sparking transformation. What roles can Higher Education Institutions, alongside their faculty and students, play in driving positive change in their communities? We invite you to a series of empowering events focused on sharing strategies that foster inclusive practices, challenge existing norms, and empower individuals to address and reduce inequalities. Join us in this journey to not just envision, but actively create a more equitable world.

The festival will feature five physical activities in Birmingham, scheduled in the first week of the conference from 19 to 23 February 2024, and three virtual events (scheduled in the second, third, and fourth week of the conference, from 26 February to 15 March 2024).

Launch event for staff: The Impact of Staff Networks in Fostering Inclusion

The role staff networks play in making change happens to foster an inclusive environment

Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Time: 13:00 CET / 12:00 GMT

Staff networks are a powerful mechanism to enable organizations to understand the complexities of a diverse work force. They offer a safe environment in which staff can discuss their experiences and help shape the culture and behaviors of their organisations.

The University of Birmingham supports 5 staff EDI networks representing Women, LGBTQ+, Disability, Parents and Carers and Race Equality. Each network is managed by members of staff who have a desire to foster an inclusive environment and help make positive changes at the organization.

Join staff networks leads at the University of Birmingham UK and Dubai campuses, and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam at a discussion panel event to understand how to benefit from the power that staff networks can offer.

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower a.k.a. "Old Joe", University of Birmingham

Launch event for students: World café and roundtable discussion

Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Time: 13:00 GMT
Location: Birmingham, Teaching and Learning Building

A roundtable discussion between students from varying backgrounds which will bring together their personal accounts of their lived experiences to create a sense of understanding between everyone and facilitate the sharing of impactful ideas for change. This will be followed by a panel discussion from alumni and young professionals who have experience in driving societal change, who will share their experiences on how to make a start to make an impact.

Student Ambassadors from Amsterdam and Birmingham invite the wider student community to join in and engage with their peers to build their understanding of EDI in the context of making change happen.

Interactive Campus Event: Post-it Wall Initiative

Date: Starting on Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Time: 13:00 GMT and throughout the month
Location: University of Birmingham Main Library and online through interactive post-it stickers

An interactive discussion on various EDI topics enabled by post it walls across different buildings on the University of Birmingham campus. This event will gather community insights on various topics on a “keep”, “start”, “stop” basis.

Both universities communities will be welcome to add their perspectives on the various themes enabling a safe space for discussing different EDI related topics and the diversity of experiences this community has experienced. A final reflective event will allow for an interactive debate based on collective input.

Student Campus Event: Now You See Me

Representation Matters

Date: Thursday, 22 February 2024
Time: 13:00 GMT
Location: University of Birmingham Library and online by submitting a survey prior to the event

This event celebrates representation and students’ personal identities. Participating students will be encouraged to submit entries to this activity using an online form prior to the event.

  • One of the forms will ask for someone’s name, pronunciation, their pronouns (optional) and a short anecdote about the meaning of their name or the story of how they received their name.
  • In a second form, students are asked to describe the first time they felt authentically represented by a character in media (books, films, television etc).

A shortlisted number will be printed and put on display on mountboards on the University of Birmingham campus and students invited to a talk on the topic of representation. All the entries will be published in an online gallery and the name cards printed to create a physical mural.

Interactive art session: Make Change Happen

Throughout the month, we will be collecting students and partners’ thoughts and opinions on the theme of making change happen via each on campus activities. Those thoughts and opinions will be used to create a visual representation of the theme of “Make Change Happen” through artwork designed by a local artist.

 

Online Event: Innovating Change

Empowering Local and Global Communities

Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2024
Time: 18:00 – 18:45 CET / 17:00 – 17:45 GMT

Delve into the transformative power of universities in shaping communities both locally and globally in this insightful webinar. Featuring pioneering initiatives, this session showcases how academic institutions are key drivers of societal change. Discover the University of Amsterdam's award-winning Placemaking programme, where students and residents collaboratively transform urban spaces. Learn about the University of Calgary's Global Community Challenge, highlighting how local community projects can have a global impact. This session offers a unique view into the dynamic role of education in driving societal change through student engagement and innovative projects. Join us to understand how higher education is not just about learning, but actively shaping a better world.

  • Read more on "Placemaking" and "Global Community Challenge"

    Placemaking: Katusha Sol and Rosanne van Wieringen

    The UvA’s Placemaking programme (taught at different faculties and campuses of the UvA) has won the Dutch Education Award for outstanding innovations in higher education. Placemaking as a philosophy and practice concerns the improvement of urban spaces by including its users in the transition for change. Through a bottom-up planning process, it intends to give the right to the city back to its inhabitants. Together with residents (users of these areas and other stakeholders), students tackle local issues to improve urban areas. They pass on the lessons they learn to new student teams and to the local community.

    Global Community Challenge: Colleen Packer

    Now more than ever, our world is facing new challenges. Organizations must demonstrate the ability to pivot and respond to issues as they arise in order to continue serving their target communities. The University of Calgary has engaged students and provided them with the opportunity to identify potential solutions to challenges faced by local organizations in the Calgary community that have an impact globally.

Online Workshop: Embracing Diversity in Dialogue

Navigating Sensitive Topics in Academic Communities

Date: Thursday, 7 March 2024
Time: 12:00 – 13:30 CET / 11:00 – 12:30 GMT

Gain insights into effectively managing sensitive topics in educational settings, and explore how confrontational discussions or personal dialogue can broaden perspectives and enhance the educational journey. This online workshop aims to inspire, offering practical insights in fostering inclusive and constructive dialogues on complex subjects. It will explain the Mixed Classroom Educational Model and the concept of 'hot moments' in the classroom, where conflicting views can challenge the learning process. This model entails different responses to tense situations, serving as opportunities for enriching education through respectful and inclusive dialogue. An effective method is the Keti Koti dialogue table, a method designed to foster understanding and empathy, which is  employed at academic settings but also in prisons, museums, government institutions, hospitals etc. Avoiding polarizing debates it approaches sensitive issues such as discrimination and exclusion via personal dialogue. It has more recently been adopted by multiple institutions as a method to reduce tensions in the wake of the Gaza war.

  • Read more on "The impact of a dialogue table" and "Hot Moments in Class"

    The impact of a personal dialogue table: Mercedes Zandwijken and Machiel Keestra

    The Keti Koti Table is a method to foster mutual understanding and empathy, developed to address discrimination, stereotyping, exclusion practices, and biases as these are part of the Dutch colonial and slavery past. It has been applied in many academic education and conferences in the Netherlands and abroad, bringing together students and staff with different perspectives, experiences and allegiances. With more than 35.000 participants in hundreds of institutions including ministries, national museums and educational institutions, Mercedes and Machiel are being invited to apply this personal dialogue method to other contexts as well.

    Hot Moments in Class: Lucho Rubio Repáraz and Wouter Buursma

    In educational settings, teachers and students often face challenging situations when personal views clash, leading to tense 'hot moments' that can derail lessons. These incidents, typically arising from discussions on sensitive topics or classroom dynamics, can heighten emotions and hinder learning. If these situations are not handled adequately, polarization in de the class might rise. However, such moments offer valuable opportunities for enriching learning through inclusive dialog and didactics. Embracing these instances as part of a conscious, respectful, and inclusive dialogue is crucial. Rubio and Buursma are currently working on a free pedagogical exercise that teachers can use to deal with these ‘hot moments’ in class, and how they can restore situations in which the learning process is been compromised. The exercise is part of the Transition Makers toolbox.

Online Event: Redefining Global Education Fairs

Innovative Approaches in Promoting Global Experiences

Date: Monday, 11 March 2024
Time: 10:00 – 10:45 CET / 9:00 – 9:45 GMT

This webinar explores the innovative approaches of four European universities in enhancing study abroad opportunities. Delve into University College Dublin's Global Experience Summit, where storytelling and interactive discussions highlight sustainability, decolonization, and global citizenship education. Witness Leiden University's transformation from a Study Abroad Festival to an International Experience Week, now engaging both students and staff. Learn about the University of Amsterdam and the University of Birmingham's efforts to make study abroad accessible to every student, breaking down barriers and expanding horizons. Join us as we move beyond mere academic tourism, venturing into the realm of responsible and inclusive international education.

  • Read more on "Global Experience Summit", "International Experience Week" and "Study Abroad Fair"

    Global Experience Summit: Caroline Mangan

    In October 2023 University College Dublin organized their Global Experience Summit. An event for staff and students to explore the diverse range of global engagement opportunities, while also discussing the role of higher education in developing active global citizens. Bringing together a range of national and international speakers, UCD explored inclusive internationalisation, green erasmus, global citizenship education, decolonisation and much more through storytelling, discussion and debate.

    International Experience Week: Gaye Eksen

    After Covid, the world is opening up again and so is Leiden University’s vision on international education. Their old Study Abroad Festival was great, but they've decided to go bigger, introducing the new International Experience Week 2023 for all students and staff. Empowering students with big dreams of studying abroad and immersing themselves in different cultures. Supporting international students who are studying at Leiden University and still seek new intercultural adventures. Helping staff members explore what internationalisation at Leiden University can offer them for their career and personal growth.

    Go Global Summer Fair: Maggie Wootton and Muna Khalif

    In January 2024, UoB delivered its first fair dedicated to short-term opportunities available to students at the University’s both campuses in Birmingham and Dubai. A wide range of summer programmes such as academic summer schools, language and cultural programmes, volunteering, and internships are open to full and part-time students at all levels of study. This inclusive and flexible approach, which complements our traditional Study Abroad Fair usually taking place in October each year, is designed to transform how students engage internationally, significantly widening access and contributing to the University’s new 2030 Strategy for in-person and virtual mobility.

    Study Abroad Fair: Julia Brandsteder and Mohamed El-Hirech

    Each year in November, the UvA organises the 'UvA Study Abroad Fair' for students to learn more more about the possibilities to study abroad. With sessions like “is study abroad possible for everyone” and “study abroad a lonely place”, and through their cultural exchange ambassador programme, the UvA is actively reaching out to students who might not automatically consider study abroad opportunities as viable or accessible for them. The fair aims to dispel myths and address concerns, providing comprehensive information on scholarships, language requirements, and support services available.

Watch recordings of previous festivals

The yearly EDI Festival is a month-long celebration with its first iteration in 2021. Please visit the past annual EDI websites to read more about their respective themes, appreciate artworks, and watch recordings of related webinars.