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Students from each workshop reported back to Professor Jason Arday on the outlined 3 recommendations their group decided were best to move forward with. This helped form a backdrop in which to facilitate the Q&A with Mary Simuyandi, Head of Student Wellbeing at St Catherine's College, and Myesha Jemison, a postgraduate student who is currently supervising undergraduates. 

Jason Arday asked Myesha Jemison: As a postgraduate at Cambridge, who is currently supervising undergraduates, what do you [think] would be helpful for new teaching staff to anticipate racially inclusive teaching and learning? 


  • Educating one’s self: When I first arrived to Cambridge and started my first-year curriculum, I was a bit underwhelmed. I’d read the scholars on the syllabus (one wrote a reference for me for Cambridge), and there were few scholars I could identify with. So, I decided to create my own bibliography of Black woman scholars and read that instead. This experienced shaped how I approached my own research (the scholars I intentionally included) and also made me realise that Faculties had a responsibility to do the same. This sort of curricular representation is the bare minimum for anti-racist within teaching and learning, and can serve as low-hanging fruit for new teaching staff to make an impact. I often have students ask for this bibliography and other resources on science, tech, and racism that they can read to make their own strides toward racially inclusive learning. 

  • Prioritising student-first learning: When assigning essays for supervisions, I aim to make the questions as clear and concise as possible. In doing so, I also encourage students to have agency over what direction they take their essay in, and one way to achieve this in my field is by not limiting students to certain geographies or time periods (unless the paper specifies). This can be helpful because students can focus on regions that have personal significance for them or they can take this opportunity to learn about content that might not be part of their ‘core’ curriculum. Also, seeking feedback from students on what interests they have outside of this ‘core’ curriculum can 

  • Leveraging your department’s resources (people, seminar rooms, funds, etc.): With departmental support (meeting space, Zoom account, etc.), I co-lead a reading group on Indigenous Scientific Methodologies. Ultimately, as a new teaching staff, you can feel pressure to fit into Cambridge as it currently exists. Instead, I challenge you to hold to your values and push the institution (via your department, institute, etc.) to live up to your standards of what anti-racist teaching and learning should be. 

Jason asked Mary Simuyandi: As the Head of student wellbeing in a Cambridge college, what are your thoughts about What role can College’s play in supporting Black students wellbeing?  


  • When we talk about wellbeing, we are talking about people thriving, so we need to think about the role Colleges can play in helping our Black students to thrive. Using a holistic wellbeing approach in Colleges helps think about every part of College life and how it works towards supporting students wellbeing and thriving.  

  • Colleges are well placed to embed, embody and facilitate the factors which protect wellbeing and support our Black students to thrive. Belonging is one of these protective factors and Colleges are one of the pathways to belonging built into the student experience at Cambridge. It can feel difficult to belong to a student community of 25,000 other students, but to have a sense of belonging to a College community should be easier. It’s important for Colleges to consider what is their role in creating environments for Black students so they feel like they truly belong whilst at Cambridge.  

  • Areas to consider are institutional responsibility (how do we foster an environment which is interested and thoughtful about how Black students experience belonging, and view the barriers to this as our institutional problem to tackle), understanding the intersectionality within the Black student community and not viewing our Black students as a monolith with the same experience, intentionally creating a College community which is psychologically safe for Black students, where their views are valued, respected and are safe to be shared, and creating spaces where Black joy can exist.