Together academics Sonya Sharma (Sociology), Helen Julia Minors (Music), Sylvia Collins-Mayo (Sociology), Heidi Seetzen (Sociology), Elena Catalano (Dance), Colette Balmain (Media and TV) and Jackie Smart (Drama) have carried out the project Taking Race Live (TRL) with Student Partners at Level 5 and 6 at Kingston University. Beginning with constructing an inclusive curriculum, Taking Race Live (TRL) has generated academic confidence in students, raising levels of employability, engagement with others across differences, disciplines and attainment.
Impact of work
Beginning with constructing an inclusive curriculum, Taking Race Live (TRL) has generated academic confidence in students, raising levels of employability, engagement with others across differences, disciplines and attainment. The rationale for TRL was inspired by Les Back and Nirmal Puwar’s (2012) ‘live sociology’. They advocate the arts for developing the craft of sociology, to bring it ‘alive’. The Sociology Department wanted to enhance its outcomes for student learning - particularly engagement, employability and to close the BAME attainment gap; embracing the principle of ‘liveness’ offered a creative and positive way forward. TRL was established as a co-curricular project. In 2014-15 Sociology worked with Drama. The success of the project stimulated partnerships with other Departments in the University: Music, 2015-16 and with Dance, Music, Media and Television, 2016-17.
Through TRL, students and staff from Sociology and an arts discipline have collaborated to bring critical understandings of race, ethnicity and culture alive to themselves and others. Taking Race Live has shaped thinking within and beyond the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences about how student partnership can provide opportunities to recognise and celebrate students’ achievements. TRL has now become a feature of the Faculty at Kingston University.
Plans for the future
Future innovation will build on the co-curricular and cross-disciplinary success of TRL. The team is exploring the potential of including Creative Writing students in future projects. They are planning to publish a teaching resource (for example, a short film) based on student involvement and reflections on the project, so that it may be developed in other institutional contexts. In addition to current plans for dissemination, they also aim to publish an edited collection in which students who have been part of Taking Race Live will be invited to participate.
Taking Race Live Project