Community-led pedagogies to diversify the curriculum
Laura Loyola Hernandez (School of Geography)
This project will:
- Create and expand a sense of community and belonging among staff and students (especially those from marginalised backgrounds).
- Co-create practical solutions to diversify pedagogical practices in and outside the classroom.
- Expand our understanding of what qualifies as knowledge outside traditional educational spaces.
- Understand the impact physical spaces within the university have in sense of belonging and retention outcomes for students.
Students from the Faculty of Environment participated in two workshops, one focus group and two community activities during the 2022-2023 academic year. Some of the outcomes and recommendations of this project are being piloted in the 2023-2024 academic year in the form of a tutorial on sense of belonging and decolonisation using the Whose Uni? Poster (see below) and community activities in the School of Geography.
This project seeks to understand the challenges of implementing inclusive and diverse pedagogical initiatives in the Faculty of Environment. Community-led pedagogies were co-created between students, staff and community collectives outside the university. They foster non-hierarchical relations between staff and students; creating spaces where metrics are subverted. Community spaces such as workshops, talks, walks, sharing of food, dancing, among other activities disrupt the neoliberal university and help nurture a sense of belonging and community. Community-led pedagogies create a learning environment that goes beyond educational formal settings where both students and staff leave the shared space with reflection and action points to enact change.
By widening the scope of involvement of students, they became active participants in the co-production of inclusive and diverse educational practices. Engaging in these activities helped student’s personal and professional development by obtaining leadership skills, working in groups and discussing complex themes, which contributes to their success at university, and beyond.
The research approach
This project involved students from the Faculty of Environment participating in two workshops, one focus group and two community activities. The project departs from a feminist critical pedagogy point of view, where students are seen as knowledge producers via their lived experiences at university. Research techniques used in the project were Alphabet attack, Lego Serious Play Method, body mapping, poster creation and community activities in the form of a Black history walk and a community conversation on climate activists with local activists, students and staff.
One of the outputs from this project was a Whose Uni? poster, a collaborative visual research project produced by Laura Loyola-Hernández with art by Nicole Marie Burton and Petroglyph Studios. The poster was created after a series of activities (alphabet attack, Lego Serious Play, poster creation, body mapping, community conversations) with undergraduate students at the University of Leeds who felt underrepresented in their course.
The poster is designed to be used as a pedagogical tool for educators and activists. Whose Uni? depicts conversations where students and staff can unwrap the threads of complicity and hope which are embedded within the neoliberal university. The experience generates non- hierarchical conversations between those present in ways in which traditional lectures, seminars and tutorials cannot. This project contributes to the continued struggles to improve sense of belonging and community for staff and students (especially those from marginalised and underrepresented backgrounds) in Higher Education Institutions.Download a high resolution copy of Whose Uni? poster (pdf), File Download
If you would like a hard (printed) version of the poster, please contact Dr. Laura Loyola-Hernández (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you use the poster, we would appreciate you taking 5 minutes to answer this short feedback survey.
If you would like to find out more about the project please contact Laura (L.T.LoyolaHernandez@leeds.ac.uk).
Each fellowship has a project sponsor that helps the fellows achieve impact across the institution. The sponsor for this fellowship is Alice O’Grady.
Project start date: September 2022