One of the areas of focus for Hallam’s work around the degree awarding gap is for us to think about what strategies could be put in place – with care and involving students – to ‘decolonise the curriculum’.

Decolonising the curriculum requires us to consider, and then address, how the values, norms, thinking, beliefs and practices that frame the curriculum perpetuate white, westernised hegemony and position anything non-European and not white as inferior.

You can read more on decolonising the curriculum here as well as on this blog by sisters of resistance.

Our Students’ Union recently launched its ‘Why Is My Curriculum White Campaign’.  Why Is My Curriculum White, founded at UCL, is a national movement aiming to encourage a broader diversity of course content in education. The movement aims to decolonise and critically challenge course content and perspectives offered through the accepted Western white canon of knowledge.

Decolonising the University event hosted at Sheffield Hallam University

On 31 May 2019, the University hosted a ‘Decolonising the University’ event to create a space to develop our institutional understanding of decolonising the curriculum and discuss the notion of the student journey in the context of decolonising practices and procedures.

Presentations and speeches can be viewed using the links from the programme here.

You can learn more about the campaign in the following three links:

The NUS have also been active in campaigning for universities to decolonise their curricula. You can read about their national campaign here.

Our decolonising work has already begun in the University and includes a number of departmental initiatives. These are:

Academy of Sport and Physical Activity: Challenging Whiteness in the Curriculum

Health & Wellbeing (Faculty-wide project): Framework for Inclusive Co-Design of assessment literature

Law and Criminology: Decolonising reading lists

Psychology, Sociology and Politics: Addressing Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity in Curricular Practice

Psychology, Sociology and Politics: Decolonising the Curriculum: Modules

In addition we are currently drawing together a number of disciplinary areas who will work together, with students and external advisors, to understand how the disciplines have become colonised and then reframe both existing and new work. If you would like to be kept informed about this work please email us.

A number of useful papers are noted below. We will add to this over time so if you have a suggestion please email us

Luckett, K. (2016) Curriculum contestation in a post-colonial context: a view from the South, Teaching in Higher Education, 21:4, 415-428, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1155547

McLaughlin, J. M. and Whatman, S. L. (2007) embedding indigenous perspectives in university teaching and learning: lessons learnt and possibilities of reforming / decolonising curriculum. In Proceedings 4th International Conference on Indigenous Education: Asia/ Pacific, Vancouver, Canada. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/10350/1/10350.pdf

Zembylas, M. (2017) Re-contextualising human rights education: some decolonial strategies and pedagogical/curricular possibilities, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 25:4, 487-499, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2017.1281834

Of note, decolonising the curriculum remains a contentious issue and raises many questions about power and identity. Radio 4’s The Moral Maze illustrates some of the key issues and misconceptions about decolonising the curriculum.