Thurs 10 June 2021
This event explored the making of Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education zine1 and its impact. The event was introduced by Rahul Patel, followed by presentations from Lucy Panesar, Anita Waithira Israel, Hansika Jethnani, Yasmeen Thantrey, Vikki Hill and Rahul Patel, with a final panel discussion/Q&A.
LUCY PANESAR – Progression and Attainment Project Manager, London College of Communication (LCC)
Lucy Panesar currently leads LCC Student Changemakers to co-develop decolonised, anti-racist curricula and practices with staff, and the LCC Decolonising Wikipedia Network, which aims to increase the visibility and credibility of underrepresented and marginalised figures and topics on Wikipedia. She is leading a new Knowledge Exchange project examining the 1911 Festival of Empire through a decolonial lens, which she wrote about in zine2. In 2018, she worked with Rahul Patel and Hansika Jethnani to co-produce the first zine and cross-UAL exhibition and events series. Lucy’s contributions to the zines include ‘Confessions of a Colonial Lecturer’ (zine1, p42) and ‘Colonial Confessions continued’ (zine2, p41).
HANSIKA JETHNANI – Former Education Officer, Arts Student Union (2016-2018)
Hansika Jethnani is a poet & visual artist currently based in Mumbai. Her works centers themes such as migration, colonialism, sexuality and mental health. She graduated from London College in Communication in 2016 with a BA in Photography, and went on to serve as the Education Officer at Arts Students Union until June 2018. Hansika worked on various campaigns such as International Student Support and Decolonising the Curriculum. During her time as Education Officer at Arts SU she co-founded the Decolonising the Arts Curriculum zine1 alongside Rahul Patel and Lucy Panesar. Hansika’s contributions to the zines include ‘the British colonised India…’ (zine1, p41) and ‘they ask me where I am from…’ (zine2, p61).
YASMEEN THANTREY – Former Campaigns Officer, Arts Students Union (2020-2021)
Yasmeen Thantrey is a 24 year old artist from Nottingham, living in London. Graduating from the University of the Arts London, BA Fine Art Sculpture she has gone on to represent UAL students as Campaigns Officer elect at Arts Students’ Union. Her practice explores cultural identity and the South Asian diaspora, and challenges feminist issues such as body hair and diet culture through the eyes of a brown girl growing up in England. Thantrey’s work has a strong collaborative element, addressing socio-political issues and the significance of community. She aims to play and dismantle power structures through humorous loaded work, that purposefully interrupts a white cube and institutional environment. Yasmeen’s contribution to the zines includes ‘Did I Get in Just Because I am Brown?’ (zine1, p3).
ANITA WAITHIRA ISRAEL – Student and former Education Officer, Arts Student Union (2018-2020)
Anita Waithira Israel is an artist and photographer. She studied Photojournalism at London College of Communication (LCC) and was prompted to run for Education Officer at Arts Students’ Union in 2018 by her own educational experience as a black student. Reducing racism and ensuring equality for black and brown students lay at the core of her work, which included collaborating on the production of zine2. Anita’s contribution to the zines includes ‘Don’t Forget to Celebrate’ (zine2, p2) and ‘Quotes from UAL Students & Staff from the UAL Attainment Gap Report, Arts SU 2019’ (zine2, p27).
VIKKI HILL – Educational Developer: Attainment (Identity and Cultural Experience)
Based within UAL’s Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange, Vikki’s contributions to the zines were informed by the work she led with students and alumni on the national funded project Creative Mindsets that aimed to address awarding differentials through developing growth mindsets and reducing bias. In zine1, Vikki submitted a write up on conversations with Dr Gurnam Singh around Critical Pedagogy and decolonising the curriculum. In zine2, Vikki collaborated with Tessa Read, Paul Glennon and Siobhan Clay to challenge notions of innate talent in creative education. These collaborations have informed the educational enhancement strand that Vikki co-leads on, Fostering Belonging and Compassionate Pedagogy, and the wider work of the Academic Enhancement team. Vikki’s contributions to the zines include ‘Critical Pedagogy Bites’ (zine1, p23) and ‘You Can’t Teach Talent’ (zine2, p55).
RAHUL PATEL – Associate Lecturer (PgCert in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication; BA/MA Culture, Criticism and Curation I Central Saint Martins)
Rahul Patel is a researcher and educator in contemporary art history and theory. Rahul co-curated the Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education zine1 and zine2 with Lucy Panesar, Clare Warner, and UAL Arts Students Union (with Hansika Jethnani, Anita Waithira Israel, Annie-Marie Akussah, Zina Monteiro), followed by a series of exhibitions in collaboration with Library and Student Services across six UAL libraries. He has recently organised and chaired a successful series with invited speakers called Challenging Times: Global Pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the Climate and Ecological Emergency for the Culture and Enterprise Programme at Central Saint Martins. Rahul’s contributions to the zines include ‘Black Lives Matter’ (zine1, p53), ‘A Tribute to Okwui Enwezor’ (zine2, p47) and ‘Solidarity with the Windrush Generation’ (zine2, p54).