Another co-convenor leaving? So soon? If by soon you mean “several months after the last one”, or in terms of my tenure “after nearly 4 years”, then yes. I am making a break for it. I am entering the private sector after spending nearly 15 years working in the public sector in various ways. It’s a timely chance to do something different before I get too set in my ways to appreciate change.
I’ll keep the rest of this short as we are all time poor and attention spans aren’t what they once were.
Firstly, I apologise for this not being a more structured piece and it being more of a chain of thoughts and feelings. It’s an emotional moment and I’ll beg your indulgence.
I never thought that we would get as far as we have or do the things we have done. It has been wild, confusing and inspiring. We started as a literal handful of folk and worked off a principle of spending as little money as possible, ideally nothing. Now we have a book club, a biography series, have undertaken a couple of projects and fully entrenched ourselves in the Equality and Diversity landscape of the University. We have gotten over those opening hurdles only to find further challenges ahead. We have grown up some.
Being the co convenor of EREN has forced me out of my shell regarding my mixed race identity and made me a lot more aware of the struggles I and others like me face out there and I’m here for anybody who is struggling with that feeling of being from two cultures, yet not really conforming to either. I also saw that there has to be effort from both sides, Professional Services and Academia, to make the University run and to make meaningful changes. While both groups approach things in markedly different ways, by understanding each others’ cultures and needs, we can achieve far more. Higher Education needs to break down these barriers between the academics and those that work “behind the curtain” in Professional Services.
Working with EREN has been a privilege and though at times quite stressful, or full of the bureaucracy of Higher Education and its decision making, I can walk away feeling we have achieved something.
I am so proud of you all and hope that at least a couple of you will stay in touch and feed me whispers of what you get up in future.
Thank you for your time and I hope you all the success in the world moving forward.
Former Co-Convenor, Edinburgh Race Equality Network