Decolonising the arts curriculum: omissions of histories and narratives with Rahul Patel

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WPF Therapy

20 March 2021

Time: 10:00 - 11:30

Price: Qualified Practitioners: £40 Trainees: £30

Location: online


What does it mean to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ and how do we go about it?

It is clear the tragic killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, was not a singular event but is part of a long history of police killings and disproportionate deaths of black people in police custody in the USA and Britain.

The Black Lives Matter movement in the US, UK and globally has responded with an inspiring mass movement, in solidarity with the family of George Floyd and challenging systemic racism across the world.

The UK is not innocent, and our educational organisations are part of this systemic racism. We must do all we can to resist this and make fundamental changes to eradicate this deep structural racism. These changes should also take place within our curriculum which at the top and within dominant pedagogy, at best, reflects ‘a-historical’, ‘neutral’ and of ‘universal values’. Decolonising the Curriculum movement interrogates the ongoing impact of legacies of slavery, colonisation and imperialism on knowledge production and contextualisation of all knowledge within historical, geographical, cultural frameworks.

By the end of the lecture you will have:

  1. A better conception of decolonising education in the context of mental health and wellbeing.
  2. A better knowledge of the impact on educational attainment and participation.
  3. To conceptually develop and understand key notions, such as multiplicities of knowledge, within primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, of decolonised education.

Rahul Patel is a lecturer on the Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. He also teaches on the MA Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. He is a researcher in contemporary art history and theory. His undergraduate degree was in Graphic and Spatial Communication and post graduate MRes Arts Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins. He designs, curates and content develop exhibitions which include, Harry Jacobs, Studio Photographer in 2012 at Morley Gallery, London. The Devils Feast Exhibition, 1987, an exploration into the African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive that was exhibited at Chelsea College of Art Library in 2015. He co-led on Reading Collections: The African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive and most recently Decolonising Narratives.

He co-curated the Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education zine1 and 2 with Arts Students Union. He has written a chapter on decolonising in higher education in Tell it like it is: How our schools fail Black Children, edited by Brian Richardson. This will be published soon.

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