Update on diversity and inclusion and IES welcomes new Postdoctoral Fellow

Monday 6 July 2020

We are delighted that Dr Sarah Pyke will be joining the Institute of English Studies in September as our TIDE Postdoctoral Fellow, developing our Toolkit for Diversity and Inclusion in English Studies (TIDE). Funded by the Convocation Trust, Sarah will be researching how the IES community has engaged with diversity and inclusion in their research and teaching.  Her research will address overlooked histories of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic researchers in English, and participate in decolonising initiatives within the Institute and the School. She will also participate in Decolonising the Discipline with our partners, the English Association, the Postcolonial Studies Association, the University of East Anglia and University English. Decolonising the Discipline launched at English: Shared Futures online in June 2020. Sarah Pyke works on queer reading and book culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In 2020 she completed a PhD at the University of Roehampton, exploring how childhood and adolescent reading experiences contribute to queer self-fashioning. As Impact and Engagement Officer for Roehampton’s AHRC-funded Living Libraries project (2019-20), she collected and curated oral histories from people who run, work at and use the UK’s public libraries. This new archive will be made available through National Life Stories at the British Library in early 2021. Her previous professional background is in communications and campaigning for arts organisations and NGOs, including WaterAid and Amnesty International. 

The Institute is actively involved with School and University diversity and inclusion initiatives. We are committed to ensuring inclusion and diversity across all IES events, summer schools, taught courses, and committees (including our Advisory Council), and we have growing research expertise in this critically important field. Dr Christopher Ohge, for example, works on British anti-slavery literature and networks of transatlantic anti-slavery publishing.  And Sarah Churchwell, Professorial Fellow in the Institute, has long supported events about diversity and issues around slavery and colonialism in her work as Director of the Being Human Festival.  In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and the toppling of the Colston statue in Bristol, the Being Human team published a blog post that collates resources from organisations, initiatives, and resources from across the humanities that may be useful to people looking to decolonise curricula and/or to educate themselves and others on the issues. The English Association also has produced an Anti-Racism statement

There is much more work to do, and IES will share further initiatives in the coming months.