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Conference 2017

Inclusivity, intersectionality, action: moving forward the equality agenda in higher education

This year ECU’s conference took place on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November in Birmingham, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, and focused on the themes of inclusivity, intersectionality and action.

Universities across the UK are driving forward the equality agenda for the benefit of their students and staff. This conference aimed to provide a showcase for this work and an opportunity for collaboration and sharing of experience, particularly in the context of new challenges such as Brexit.

All of the conference content was framed around the themes of inclusivity, intersectionality and action:

  • creating an inclusive university
  • taking an intersectional approach to equality and diversity
  • taking action and overcoming barriers to action on equality and diversity


A selection of photos from our 2017 annual conference are available on our Facebook page.


You can access the presentations from the learning sessions here.

Day 1

Learning session 1

1A: Overcoming barriers and taking action

1B: Travelling to trans inclusivity
Presented by: Marije Davidson and Nic Streatfield, York St John University

1D: Emotional labour: building contexts for open and rigorous discussion of (in)equality in higher education
Presented by Dr Duna Sabri, King’s College London

Learning session 2

2A: Inclusivity, action, intersectionality

2B: Using intersectionality in practise: challenges and solutions
Presented by: Professor Peter Hopkins and Professor Judith Rankin, Newcastle University

2C: Transnational education and LGBT rights
Presented by: Pete Mercer, Stonewall

Day 2

Keynote: Dr Sally Everett

Learning session 3

3A: Queering the academy

3B: Challenging wicked problems and folk pedagogies to address the BME attainment gap in higher education
Presented by: Dr Liz Austen and Stella Jones-Devitt, Sheffield Hallam University

3C: Inclusive practice, competence standards and curriculum design
Presented by: Katya Hosking (Devereux Chambers) and Christine Werrell (Cardiff University)

3D: ‘What works’ in advancing equality and diversity: A practical look at impact evaluation
Presented by: Tinu Cornish, Dr Julia Halej, Dr Amanda Aldercotte and James Lush, Equality Challenge Unit

Learning session 4

4A: Creating an inclusive university

  • Paper 1: Tackling the barriers to an inclusive university: the student perspective
    Presented by: Laurine Groux-Moreau and Victoria Mason, University of Bristol
  • Paper 2: Hidden and discursive barriers: taking apart the ‘common sense’ assumptions in university talk
    Presented by: Val Williams and colleagues, University of Bristol
  • Paper 3: Disabled staff in universities: spaces for solidarity
    Presented by: Wendy Merchant, Stephen D’Evelyn and Agnes Bezzina, University of Bristol

4B: Working together: how much can we change culture and working practices in isolation?
Presented by: Dr Kate Williams (University of Leicester) and Professor Candy Rowe (Newcastle University)

4C: Cracking the concrete ceiling: systemic change for the advancement of BME leaders
Presented by: Professor Jan Fook (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Tracy Bell-Reeves (Leadership Foundation for Higher Education)

4D: Using behavioural insights to improve student engagement through randomised controlled trials
Presented by: Anne-Marie Canning and Lucy Makinson, King’s College London

Thanks to our sponsors:


Association of University Directors of Estates


The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) delivers success in HE estates. We promote excellence in the strategic planning, management, operation and development of Higher Education estates and facilities.

Our website, resources and networking opportunities are available to all staff within a member institutions.

We’re proud to support ECU’s 2017 conference and further strengthen its mission.