This week, Isabel and Maddy speak to students and staff at Cambridge involved in the campaign to decolonise the University, as well as talking to those pushing the government for national educational reform. 

Switchboard S2, Ep.5Tomas Vieira-Short

The episode begins with Jazaal Babar, who is one of the Cambridge SU BME Campaign’s Education Officers. He discusses what the movement to decolonise Cambridge entails, and what Cambridge needs to do to challenge its colonial legacies. (01:27). 

Next, Isabel and Maddy speak to Jonathan Chan and Shameera Lin who worked with the Decolonise English Working Group and have just graduated from Cambridge. They tell us about why this group started and the institutional problems preventing decolonisation in the English Faculty. (3.58).

Ali Meghji, Decolonise Sociology Chair and Lecturer in Social Inequalities, talks about the underlying colonial assumptions in sociology and how to re-think these as part of the curriculum. (11.05).

Mythiri Sutharson talks about the growing fight to combat institutionalised racism in Cambridge Medical school, and the recent open letter than reignited the movement. (19.39).

Talk then turns to how the movement to decolonise educational institutions extends past the university; Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson and Nell Bevan, founders of the ‘Impact of Omission’ survey, discuss the results of their survey assessing the diversity of the British school curriculum, and the challenges they have faced in campaigning for national educational reform. (27:29).

Finally, the interviewees relay their hope for the future, describing their mix of optimism and apprehension in relation to the Decolonise Cambridge Movement. (33.55).


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Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. Transcripts of all episodes are available via this link.

The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond...

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