Apology for course advert which used an image that plays to racist stereotypes

Apology for course advert which used an image that plays to racist stereotypes

To advertise the University's MSc Global Health and Management course, an image of a Burmese child labourer was used in a social media post.

The University accepts that by not providing any context to the image we failed to humanise the child and as such did not treat the child or his community with an appropriate degree of dignity.

As soon as this was brought to our attention via AUSA’s BME Forum we immediately removed the advert which used the image from the campaign and we have begun the process of auditing our image database to identify any other images which could be considered inappropriate – especially when presented without sufficient context.

In addition to this we are instigating a wider discussion around our approach to the use of images, with a view to developing a set of guidelines in relation to image use. We have asked AUSA to take part in this process alongside a number of other stakeholders as we develop these guidelines to reflect our wider Aberdeen 2040 strategy and brand review.

In response to an enquiry from The Gaudie regarding the image used in the advert, Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, Head of the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, at the University of Aberdeen, who chairs the newly created Race Equality Strategy Group, said:

“One of the images used to advertise our MSc Global Health and Management programme was meant to illustrate the profound impact of social deprivation on global health. We sincerely apologise for any upset caused by this. The picture was removed as soon as concerns were brought to our attention and has since been deleted from the University’s image bank. The University has accelerated its work to root out racism in all its forms and has launched a series of initiatives to tackle this, including signing up to the Race Equality Charter and, later this month, holding the first in a series of ‘listening sessions’ to learn from the lived experiences of students and staff.  Within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition we are scrutinising all our teaching material, reviewing our curriculum and will now be re-examining our marketing material. I am grateful to those who brought this to our attention and would like to meet them to discuss ways of improving our methods of external communication.”