Our approach to community engagement champions the importance of exchanging ideas with voluntary and state organisations. Knowledge exchange is valuable to both parties. It enriches and grounds our approach to educating students and also provides useful information and academic expertise that support organisations as they try to positively shape social change on key issues from racial and sexual equality to freedom of speech and human rights.
Working with the community
Knowledge exchange not only helps to enhance our curriculum but provides useful academic expertise to local organisations
Models of knowledge exchange
Our approach to knowledge exchange is three-fold:
- we create a forum for open debate about key issues facing us locally, nationally and internationally by hosting regular debates for our students, staff and alumni featuring prominent speakers and activists tackling particular social issues. Recently a roundtable discussion on Race and Politics after the General Election featured Guardian Journalist Gary Younge, Margaret Hodge (MP) and Weymann Bennett (Joint Secretary of Unite against Fascism) who spoke on the campaign against the BNP in the 2010 General Election.
- through the Department's applied academic research.
- we work with external organisations to create opportunities for students to get out into the world (in the form of project work and placements) and make a tangible contribution to organisations tackling social issues in the community.
Knowledge exchange projects
Our Social Policy students and academics are involved in extensive research relating to the nature of and particular challenges faced by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual(LGBT) voluntary sector organisations. Awareness of the issues was promoted by inviting BME and LGBT organisational representatives into the classroom to deliver lecturers with the following outcomes:
- In collaboration with the London–based voluntary sector organisation, the Rukus! Federation, LSBU produced the film, 'In This Our Lives – The Reunion.' The documentary film explores the complex intersection of race, sexuality and social policy.
- Partnering with Outburst UK to sponsor a screening of 'She Wasn't Last Night'. The screening was the UK premier of the first feature-length romantic drama film about black same-gender loving women. The event included a panel discussion with the director.
- In partnership with The Naz Project, a sexual health organization that works to mobilize BME communities in relation to HIV and other sexual health concerns we helped to develop the "The Catalyst Project": a sexual health peer education program for young Black African and Caribbean men who have sex with men (MSM). We worked with Naz to have the program accredited by the Open College Network. This was the first accredited training course focused specifically on BME MSM sexual health in the UK.