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University of the Arts London (UAL) announces Shades of Noir is to become its Centre for Race and Practice Based Social Justice

We are excited to announce that @ShadesofNoir is now formally part of University of the Arts London (@UAL), joining the institution as its Centre for Race and Practice Based Social Justice. 

Shades of Noir was created by Aisha Richards in 2009 and already has a well-established relationship with the university. Richards, who studied, taught and practiced at UAL for two decades, spearheaded significant programmes of work such as the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit, the Teaching Within programme and many publications.  

Richards has been appointed as Director for the Centre for Race & Practice Based Social Justice, which is a knowledge exchange centre within the university reporting directly to Simon Ofield-Kerr, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Ofield-Kerr says: 

‘This is an important and timely development and we are very pleased that Shades of Noir now has a sustainable place within UAL. There is nothing quite like Shades of Noir and its status as our Centre for Race and Practice Based Social Justice will build on its existing legacy. This is a pivotal moment for both Shades of Noir and the university as the BlackLivesMatter and BlackLivesMatterUK campaigns continue to call for change globally and as we develop the UAL anti-racism action plan.” 

Richards says:  

“I am very proud and excited that we are able to build our work further for a better future with UAL.  I can assure students, staff and the wider communities we serve that we will continue to deliver work with purpose and to be a critical friend. The evolving relationship with UAL affirms there will always be a place for the development of social justice as an academic and creative practice and that our commitment and approaches towards liberation through education will continue. This will enable us to demonstrate further how we practice intersectional anti-racism towards social justice within the University and with our many external partners”. 

The first phase of embedding Shades of Noir’s work across UAL will see its acclaimed anti-racism training programme becoming compulsory for all UAL staff. Approximately 5000 staff in all roles and departments, including the Court of Governors, will receive a full day of training across a 2 year period.  

In 2009 Shades of Noir (SoN) was created by Aisha Richards. SoN is an independent program that supports: 

  • Curriculum design 
  • Pedagogies of social justice through representation 
  • Cultural currency 
  • Accessible knowledge 

Additionally, it has created physical safer spaces that offer opportunities to have critical and interdisciplinary discussions that confront some of the items that we see and do that can sometimes be challenging. This is a program that creates opportunities for marginalised groups and their need for safe spaces to articulate self-determination and liberate the struggles from oppressive structures both in education and society. 

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