When I contributed to the OER22 blog series, Alan Levine invited me to join his true stories series. So here is my recorded contribution to his little project.
My current open project is an idea that came all from the serendipity of an email from a mailing list, which I would have usually deleted. I somehow registered for a #creativeHE meeting in early February 2022 entitled “Let’s Dance! Play that funky music to facilitate learning“. As part of an activity, I had to locate something with which I could make some sounds. We were actually divided into small groups of three and needed to come up with some synced sounds. I think I was in a group with Tom Burns and well we came up with claps, whistles, hitting a pilate ball, and a Thalam, which is a small pair of clash cymbals. It was not a perfect sound but it was good enough for me. That meeting, that activity is my serendipity story around how I am now tackling discrimination in HE differently. As an African Asian, my experience of racism is very different from most people that I meet in the UK, so I needed to tell my story without anybody else distorting it.
Following the #creativeHE event, I actually got inspired to embark on a few different creative and open projects.
Flashcards to raise awareness of digital inequities. I wanted to capture a bit my own experience of being shocked by hearing people saying how shocked they were around the digital inequalities that were highlighted during the pandemic. I wrote a blog about how this project came to me and my initial concept notes.
For the race equality week in early Feb, I also wrote a blog bringing in an intersectional perspective and some people had almost never thought of digital inequality in that sense.
There is also another inspiration to that, I have spent the pandemic both in the UK and in Mauritius, which exposed me to different challenges, with little intersection when it comes to digital equalities. Yes, it is a privilege to have spent the pandemic in the UK and I wanted to capture both sides of the stories.
The second project that I launched is a series of videos entitled Celebrating small steps in HE. This one combined a bit of my passion for equity, sciences, technologies, law, and ethics to create short videos where I interview someone who is actively doing a small action to reduce discrimination. I actually had the first recording, and then the project concept unfolded in front of me. There is a recording on recruitment, another one on the need for diversity in research highlighting patient-research impacts. Another one I am editing currently on mindsets, and another on international students and will soon be recording one around spaces to talk of discrimination. Somehow this has turned into an experiment, just from some observations that I have made in the last two months.
Surprisingly I also participated in the inaugural #creativeHE Open Mic on 21st April, on World Day for creativity and innovation, and wrote my first ever poem, that too mostly in English, entitled “Eye Noticed” which highlights discrimination and unconscious biases. I have published a blog with the poem and the explanation: https://tinyurl.com/ynm88fdd
So here is an OER22 challenge for you now. I dare you to become an advocate of digital equity and to contribute with an original photo to this deck: https://tinyurl.com/yckjrvby