The experiences of Black women in teaching are being explored and shared on an international stage by an inspirational student at the University of Chester.
Chiedza Ikpeh, a PhD student in the University’s School of Education, has been carrying out timely research and contributing to the ongoing discussion around diversity and inclusion in education.
Chiedza, who lives in Liverpool, has been actively involved in the research community since beginning her PhD and has been invited to deliver the keynote speech at the University of Cumbria’s Race and Intersectionality Research Conference 2023. Her paper submission was also accepted by the Association for Teacher Education Europe (ATEE), where she will be delivering a research presentation at the annual ATEE conference in Budapest in 2023. She also presented at the Advance HE Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2021.
Chiedza is investigating the lived experiences of Black women in teaching and amplifying their voices through counter-storytelling and critical race theory. Her background in teaching has inspired her research; she trained to teach and gained her QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) at the University of Chester and she has worked in various educational settings over the years. Through her own experiences, she has seen first-hand the challenges that Black women in teaching face and the research is deeply personal and meaningful to her.
In addition to her academic achievements, Chiedza has established the RARA Education Project CIC, a Black-led organisation dedicated to creating safe and inclusive spaces for Black Africans and Caribbeans to learn, work, and network. Through this organisation, Chiedza continues her pursuit of social justice by supporting public sector organisations in fostering more inclusive working environments and delivering training and development services to organisations across the north of England.
She said: I wanted to give voice to other Black women in the teaching profession who have experienced similar challenges, and to use my research to promote greater understanding and empathy in the education sector.”
Dr Chandrika Devarakonda, Associate Professor of Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Education at the University of Chester, said:
“As an up-and-coming researcher in her field, Chiedza’s academic achievements are a testament to her drive to create positive change by promoting diversity and inclusion across all aspects of society. Her research has the potential to transform the way we think about diversity and inclusion in education, and her advocacy work is helping to create more inclusive communities in the UK and beyond.
“Chiedza’s passion for social justice and her unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world are an inspiration. We are confident that she will continue to make a significant impact in her field in the years to come. We wish her well in her future endeavours.”