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University of Chester’s Diversity Festival celebrates Action for Change

From small to spectacular, the ways in which we can take meaningful action to effect major change will be centre stage at the University of Chester’s 2023 Diversity Festival.

This year’s theme is Action for Change and will focus on steps we can all take to ensure inclusion and belonging in our communities.

The festival, now in its 18th year, runs from February 27 to March 10, and a schedule of inspirational speakers has been lined up, all with a story to tell about how they’ve acted for change.

Festival organiser Kathryn Leighton said:

“There’s something for everyone, and as the events are open to all I’d suggest finding a session about something you may have no knowledge of, or something you may be curious about, because that might just be the right session for you. There are sessions covering ADHD, eating disorders, autism, menopause, gender identity, consent, allyship, recovery, religion, changing attitudes to race through history and much more.”

Highlights this year include: 

Festival launch – Alex Staniforth: Finding our Everest- taking advantage of adversity – Monday, February 27. Record-breaking adventurer Alex, from Kelsall, survived two of the biggest disasters in Mount Everest’s history as a teenager, yet some of his biggest challenges were much closer to home. Having suffered with epilepsy, stammering, bullying and mental ill health since childhood, Alex now shares his story as a motivational speaker and author who’s committed to helping others overcome their own challenges.

Cerrie Burnell, who will be speaking at the 2023 Diversity Festival: Action for Change.

An Audience with Cerrie Burnell – Tuesday, February 28Author, actor and activist, Cerrie is known for her CBeebies work, where she became one of the most visibly disabled presenters in the children’s television industry. A lifelong storyteller, Cerrie has spent her childhood and career challenging discrimination. With two plays, a one-woman show, and 12 children’s books to her name already, Cerrie works closely with a number of charitable organisations linked to childhood and diversity.

Ukrainians in Chester: Action on inclusion and belonging – Tuesday, February 28.
What is being done locally to ensure inclusion and a sense of belonging among refugees and asylum seekers? How can we act to make inclusion a reality? While focus in this event will be on Ukrainian refugees, it will also ask whether comparable efforts are being made locally in support of asylum seekers and refugees from elsewhere.

Celebrating Chester as a Recovery Friendly University – Monday, March 6Help mark this milestone in the University’s journey towards tackling stigma around recovery. Hear from inspirational leaders in the UK Recovery-Friendly University movement and take part in workshops to explore how we can all work together to enhance our contribution to recovery culture, locally and nationally.

International Women’s Day – Wednesday, March 8In collaboration with the Institute of Gender Studies, the University welcomes Ann Oakley whose written work covers sex and gender, housework, childbirth and social science. Alongside lecturers and students from the University, she’ll be joined by Imarn Ayton whose voice and actions came to prominence during the Black Lives Matter movement.

Imarn Ayton, who will be taking part in our International Women’s Day event during the 2023 Diversity Festival: Action for Change.

In Conversation with Dr Helen Pankhurst – Friday, March 10This event is a fantastic opportunity to hear from Helen on how her amazing work builds on the celebrated legacy of her famous ancestors.    

Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, added:

“We’re a proudly diverse institution which celebrates equality and inclusion at every opportunity. For almost 20 years our Diversity Festival has embraced and celebrated difference. This year we have a fantastic mix of in-person and online events and workshops which I hope will inspire discussion, challenge perceptions, develop understanding, and bring our local and wider community closer together. I encourage everyone to get involved and look forward to welcoming you to the University.”

The University of Chester 2023 Diversity Festival: Action for Change is open to members of the public, staff and students. All events are free, but booking is essential. Visit the University’s festival programme pages for more events and booking details.

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