Staff Voices

Student Experience Projects (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities): Storytelling Research Outputs (2019)

STEER provided institutional support and capacity building for project leads who were exploring student experiences in their contexts.  One output from the project was a digital story of the research/evaluation findings.

Widening Participation and Outreach Team: Storytelling Project Successes (2019)

STEER provided institutional support and capacity building for a team who was looking to capture the lessons learnt and successes from their projects which would not normally be included within formal reporting.

Observing the Observers: Using Digital Storytelling for Organisational Development Concerning ‘Critical Whiteness’ (2018)

Advance HE (formerly LFHE) Small Development Project

Full report available here.


This project tested the use of digital storytelling in several ways: as an intervention for engaging in difficult conversations about positive cultural and behavioural change; as a method of data collection; as an innovative way of sharing evidence and expertise. The project focusses on the discussion of ‘critical Whiteness’ within organisational development. Previous research by the project leaders concluded that a lack of discussion about critical Whiteness and subsequent impact on possible curriculum change might create barriers to addressing the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) attainment gap (Jones-Devitt et al. 2017). Consequently, approaches that address implicit bias often focus on individual rather than organisational responsibility for change, resulting in minimal acknowledgement of critical Whiteness, per se. An exploration of critical Whiteness is an important and overlooked area of positive cultural and behavioural change within organisations. This project collected and analysed data from one higher education institution and developed a digital practice guide to support the development of further work across the sector.

The digital stories produced by research participants can be seen below.

Tags: labels; assumptions; racism; change

Tags: equality; race; gender; memories

Tags: equality, representation, institutional change

Tags: family; class; education; belonging

REACT  “Lessons Learnt” – research output from a SHU project which aimed to reduce the BAME attainment gap (2017)


This digital story documents the ‘Creation and confidence’ initiative at Sheffield Hallam University which has a large BME attainment gap; this student group has been constructed as ‘hard to reach’. The project team consisted of a range of academic and professional services staff alongside three student researchers. The project set out to achieve: gaining evidence-based insights into the use of co-design and peer-learning as conduits of confidence-building and belonging of BME students; developing a scalable approach to building confidence and fostering belonging of all students; raising awareness of the need to think differently about explanations of BME underachievement. The team found that the biggest barrier concerned staff engagement as – no matter how much evidence was presented – other facets of institutional provision were identified as having priority, resulting in inertia. Considerable emotional labour was expended in trying to elicit change within a resistant culture. Despite this, there have been some very positive developments and enlightening lessons.

More information can be found on the REACT website and in our collection of publications.