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Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in Ireland and the UK: a discussion paper

17 September 2020


PDF icon Report: Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in Ireland and the UK PDF icon Programme: Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in Ireland and the UK

Higher education institutions must act to achieve better outcomes for staff from Irish Traveller, black  and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The report ‘Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in Ireland and the UK’, released 17 September 2020 by the Royal Irish Academy and the British Council in Ireland highlights the challenges and experiences of academic staff from Irish Traveller, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.   The report is informed by discussions at the January 2020 Royal Irish Academy-British Council in Ireland dialogue workshop at which participants called for:

  • Better data on the participation and progression rates of staff from Irish Traveller and BAME backgrounds in academia
  • A greater emphasis on understanding the lived experiences of staff and students when designing equality and inclusion strategies and initiatives
  • More support and recognition within academic career progression models for those working to progress equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Senior leaders to take a visible role in facilitating dialogue and activities in support of an inclusive and diverse campus and academic community.

About the RIA-British Council in Ireland dialogue workshop, 30 January 2020

The dialogue event was aimed at encouraging a meaningful discussion of equality and diversity within higher education in Ireland and the UK and greater connection between individuals within HE in both countries.

If you missed it you can watch it here now

Dialogue speakers

Anita Maguire, MRIA, Chair, RIA Diversity Committee and VP for Research, UCC


  • Kathleen James Chakraborty, MRIA, Professor of Art History, UCD
  • Dr Jason Arday, Assistant Professor in Sociology, Durham University - 'How can and should University leadership deliver greater inclusion?'
  • Dr Ebun Joseph, Chair of African Scholars Association of Ireland and Unforgettable Women's Network, Career Development Consultant, RCSI
  • Dr Ross Woods, Senior Manager, Centre for Gender Equality, HEA
  • Prof. Anastasia Crickley, Chair, Pavee Point 
  • Dr Michael Isichei, Lecturer in Management & Co-Chair of Queen’s University Belfast, BAME and International Staff Network
  • Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, Advance HE -  'The Road Ahead’: a reflection on the journey so far'
  • Dr Gemma Irvine, Vice President for Equality and Diversity, Maynooth University - 'Equality and inclusion are practices, not end goals'
  • Megan Reilly, Union of Students in Ireland
  • Dr Rosaleen McDonagh, Board Member, Pavee Point

 Keynote speakers at the Royal Irish Academy-British Council in Ireland dialogue workshop (from l-r):
Dr Jason Arday, Durham University; Anita Maguire, MRIA (Chair), Kathleen James Chakraborty, MRIA

The symposium discussed:

  • How do we talk about and understand race, ethnicity and inclusion in the context of higher education?
  • What actions do we need to take to ensure a diversity of voices in higher education leadership?
  • What can Ireland and the UK learn from each other in this space?
  • How far have we come with inclusion in HE? What does the road ahead look like?


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