Student and Social Worker voices

Diana Wanjagi (student in Social Work - Global Majority Collective leader)

I joined the Global Majority Collective (GMC), a student-led group, just over a year ago and I knew it was a safe space for me as a black student to express myself freely surrounded by my colleagues.

Consequently, the topics of discussion attracted the attention of the teaching team and top management who have been supportive. A highlight for me was when Jill Childs, the Programme Lead for Social Work and Wellbeing at Oxford Brookes University attended one of our GMC meetings to get feedback from fellow students on issues they were/are facing. 

Since then, I have seen an implementation of some issues we reported to Jill take effect. For instance, having The Mandela Model and Ubuntu being taught in class will equip students with a good representation of how the world is and this will open conversations/discussions on how to decolonise old curriculums and dwell on the news that is relevant, inclusive, and equitable for all, thus resulting in an anti-racist university experience/environment.

Additionally, working together with Jill and the academic team has opened a dialogue to create an anti-racist university experience. This has been successful through having the GMC platform that meets every other week to discuss matters at hand and feeding back to Jill. Also, there is plans underway on how GMC members will reverse mentor the teaching team at Brookes which will enable education on racism and provide a space that embraces diverse/global thinking.

Diana Wanjagi

Frankii Charles (former student and qualified Social Worker)

Frankii Charles

Following the untimely death of George Floyd in 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement really took shape. Being a woman who was black and a student at Oxford Brookes, I felt that I had to raise awareness of racial disparities I had faced both as a student and personally. 

I reached out to my programme lead, Jill, who invited me for a face-to-face meeting. Jill heard my concerns and she too has been looking for ways to tackle racism within her social work programme and decolonise the curriculum. From this I was given the opportunity to co-found the Global Majority Collective (GMC), and I did not anticipate how successful the group would be. It was clearly a gap that needed filling and with the support from Jill and the teaching team and my dedication for change, the GMC blossomed. A space was created for students from diverse backgrounds to meet and share experiences. 

Following the success of the GMC, I was given a opportunity to present at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Social Work Week about anti-racist practice. I then went on to win the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) student champion of the year. With the commitment from Jill and the teaching team, I know that anti-racism will be under review and I hope changes will be made.