University appoints the UK’s first professor of race and education

The UKs first professor of race and education will take up her post at Leeds Beckett next month.
The UKs first professor of race and education will take up her post at Leeds Beckett next month.
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The UK’s first professor of race and education will take up her post at Leeds Beckett next month as the university moves to address inequality in education.

Professor Shirley Ann Tate will join the Carnegie School of Education on April 3, where she will help to build and lead a new research team that will work with schools, nurseries, universities and community groups to 
challenge racism, improve 
outcomes for children and develop professionals who are able to create a real impact in their settings.

Her appointment comes after figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that there were only 25 black female professors in the UK in the last academic year.

Professor Tate, who is a world-leading researcher in the areas of institutional racism and black identity, said: “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to develop this area of work with colleagues at Leeds Beckett and beyond.

“In 2015/16, there were only 25 black female professors in the country, so I am pleased to say that I am joining them. With figures like that it is easy to see that there is much work to be done on issues of race and racism in the academy, which is still an anti-black environment and is experienced as such by both staff and students alike.

“It will be challenging in many respects I am sure, as it always is being the first of anything, but I have no doubt that it will also be the most rewarding post of my career so far.”

Professor Tate, who is currently an associate professor in race and culture at the University of Leeds, has written widely on topics including the body, mixed race, beauty, and the cultures of skin.

Her writing, research and teaching also includes drawing on black feminist, gender, critical race, queer, post colonial and Caribbean decolonial theory.

The focus of her research is black diaspora politics and she will begin a new international research project this summer, looking into what needs to be done to tackle racialisation across the UK, Sweden, South Africa and Brazil and how National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) play a vital role in national approaches to countering racism.

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education, said: “We created this role as part of our determination to address inequality in education, whether it is the consistent under-attainment of children of colour in schools, or the barriers to career progression of teachers and academics of colour.

“I am delighted that we have been able to appoint an academic of Shirley Tate’s standing, a truly world-class researcher with a clear vision for developing this agenda and I look forward to seeing this work progress.”

Professor Shirley Anne Tate is patron of Black British Academics, an independent organisation working proactively to enhance race equality across the higher education sector, and editor of Emerald’s Critical Mixed Race Studies book series.

She is also visiting professor and Research Fellow in the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, South Africa, and research associate in the Centre for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa.

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