The Law School successfully held a Decolonising the Curriculum Workshop for staff & students

The School of Law’s EDI Committee organised a Decolonising/Diversifying the Curriculum Workshop which took place on the 4th of March 2022. The Keynote address for the Workshop was delivered by Dr Mohsen Al Attar, Associate Professor at the University of Warwick and a Visiting Scholar at UCL, who provided invaluable knowledge and insight into the topic at hand. Professor Ruth Taylor, the Vice-Principal for Education, also attended the event and delivered remarks on the University of Aberdeen’s Decolonising the Curriculum Steering Group, detailing the mandate, activities, and aspirations of the group.

Professor Greg Gordon (Head of the School of Law) provided opening remarks, encouraging colleagues to be revolutionary in their thinking as they develop courses and to boldly embrace a wide range of relevant perspectives.  The workshop was attended by staff and students from the School of Law, who repeatedly described it as insightful and thought-provoking.

In his engaging and compelling address, Dr al Attar critically interrogated “decolonisation/diversification of the curriculum” from his epistemological standpoint and experiences. Copiously referencing great thinkers such as W.E.B Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Angela Davis, Dr al Atta asserted that first and foremost mentalities and practices need to be ‘decolonised’ in order for us to effectively decolonise the curriculum,

Dr al Attar questioned the current curriculum decolonisation discourse, emphasising that some of the activities and practices in universities may only have short-term, box-ticking outcomes that fail to fulfil the crucial goal of the true decolonisation agenda. Ultimately, he maintained, the need to decolonise the curriculum and broaden the current scholarly/teaching worldview is informed by the fact that the status quo disadvantages and excludes majority of the world’s experience and that a better ‘re-humanizing’ alternative exists.

The second part of the workshop consisted of two panel sessions for staff which covered robust discussions on the current courses taught at the School, alongside inspiring case studies and comments on steps that are being taken internally to make teaching delivery more inclusive.

Participants of the event marked it down as a success. A full report of the workshop will be issued by the School of Law’s EDI committee and the action points from the workshop will hopefully feed into the University’s overall plan to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, in line with the Aberdeen 2040 vision.

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