Equality, diversity and inclusion: learning from laying our cards on the table
Sillence , Matthew
This article presents preliminary findings from a study designed to evaluate, develop and disseminate a cards resource developed to support dialogue and learning about EDI. Experience of creating cards to explore disciplinary thinking at the Universities of Hertfordshire (UH) and East Anglia (UEA) (Jarvis and Clark, 2020) was instrumental in the design. The resource is based on the concept of using ‘serious play’, a ‘special kind of intense learning experience’ (Rieber et al., 1998, p.30, 29, original emphasis) to support reflective, inclusive and transformational learning (Peabody and Noyes, 2017). Staff and students at UH and UEA who facilitate and attend sessions at which the cards are used are contributing to the research. Before sessions, facilitators are briefed about the guidance, the cards, and possible exercises for using them. At the end of sessions, facilitators and participants are invited to take part in a reflection activity. Facilitators are asked about the context, the activity, observations of participant response to the cards, their learning, the facilitator’s learning, and plans for future EDI activities. Participants are questioned about the role of the cards in their learning and thinking, what was learnt, and how this will impact their interaction with others. Preliminary findings indicate how participants are thinking about their working contexts, in particular how they initiate conversations around their personal lives, and share stories relating to equality, diversity and inclusivity, in order to make abstract terms more vivid. This study responds to a need to develop research-informed resources to use to encourage respectful, inclusive dialogue to address EDI topics with staff and students in higher education. Drawing on the preliminary findings shared here, new terms are being added to the current card set together with a blank card to allow users to generate their own cards; and a new resource comprising EDI stories is being considered.