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Toolkit for Diversifying Reading Lists

Reviewing content in the context of social justice and decolonisation

This toolkit is designed to assist academic colleagues to review module reading lists with social justice and decolonisation in mind.  It is work that encourages us to reflect on and challenge biases and omissions that have the potential to influence learners’ understanding of a subject. It is a meaningful process that provides an opportunity to engage in discussion, share resources, and question how we assign epistemic authority to ensure that diverse and under-represented voices are heard. 

The collections in our university library have been developed by generations of librarians for over 125 years, including during times when Britain was a dominant colonial power and attitudes and societal norms were very different than they are today. For this reason, a large proportion of our collections are western-centric and include items that reflect the aforementioned attitudes and norms, however distasteful we may find some of these in the twenty-first century. We accept and acknowledge this truth and have taken steps over the past four years to diversify our collections. We also acknowledge the value of those older - potentially contentious - materials, particularly in the context of pedagogy and in facilitating critical discussion and debate.  

If you have questions about this toolkit, or require associated advice or guidance, your subject librarian will be happy to assist. You may also find it helpful to consult the University's Guidance Notes for the Creation and Review of Reading Lists (see link below).

The development of this guidance was carried out in association with the University's Telling It Like It Is: Resources for Education group.

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