OPENING PANEL DISCUSSION – CHAIR SAHAIL CHOHAN
“THE ANTI-RACIST EDUCATION WE NEED”
Huda Ahmed * Rob Cotterell * Karen Mee * Gulwali Passarlay * Grace Thambyrajah *
The opening session of SHARE’s 2020 conference
There has been a huge new wave of activity and thought advancing anti-racist education this year. This opening session of the first SHARE conference is an ideal opportunity to identify what needs to change if we are to make big advances in the delivery of anti-racist education: including, the process of decolonising the curriculum.
Our panel, followed by discussion:
Chair: Sahail Chohan
An optimist and an activist – problems are an opportunity to progress – however slow. An attitude he can credit to two of his French teachers – one for relating his experiences in 1968 Paris and the other for the politics. Jumping in the deep-end is his way of moving things forward.
Aspiring to work in a field hospital, he ended up in technology hooked on innovation – something that he intends to pursue in the service of social progress. Currently he is co-convenor of Sheffield Stand Up to Racism, and previously he was involved in the Anti-Nazi League and a supporter of Rock Against Racism.
Huda Ahmed is a Manager within Sheffield City Council’s People’s Portfolio and Chair of Governors at High Hazel Academy’s Nursery and Infant School, in Darnall. A recent OFSTED rated the school as good and found “that the chair of governors is ‘highly ambitious’ and that the school was ‘improving at a good rate’.” When Huda began to work with the School in 2012, it was on the brink of special measures.
Huda joined Sheffield City Council on a traineeship scheme in 1989, initially with a placement on the Manor estate. She was the first Yemeni heritage woman to work for the council, gaining a Housing degree and working for 10 years in Housing Services. At that time employing a Yemeni heritage woman was a very important step forward for the Council. More importantly it made a big difference to Yemeni women and the wider Yemeni community.
Rob Cotterell is currently Chair of SADACCA. Rob has dedicated 40
years of his life to volunteering, community development, mentoring
and education in a range of settings from home, in the community,
in-care and in school. In addition I also have almost 30 years
experience as a criminal justice professional.
Gulwali Passarlay, BA (Hon) MPA
Author of best-selling book The Lightless Sky, award winning Activist and Campaigner, Co-Funder of My Bright Kite and member of Speakers Collective.
Gulwali is a dedicated advocate, humanitarian and spokesperson for refugees and asylum seekers across the U.K.
Since arriving in the UK in 2007 after being forced to leave Afghanistan as a 12 year old boy, Gulwali has achieved beyond all odds to become a well-respected and sought after public speaker, influencer and political campaigner for refugee’s rights, social justice and education.
Gulwali is the esteemed author of his best selling autobiography, “The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee’s Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World”, Also known as ‘My Journey to Safety as Child Refugee’.
English and Drama teacher and NEU activist. She has been a teacher and anti-racist activist for over 20 years and has always looked for ways to teach and celebrate anti racism and diversity.
Grace is a student at The University of Sheffield, undertaking the English initial teacher education course (PGDE) and represents Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students as the chair of the BME Committee. Prior to this she worked as an Entertainments Project Manager at Sheffield Students’ Union and runs several collectives aiming to address inequality within the music industry. Decolonising, representation and anti-racist practices in education have always been her passion, throughout her undergraduate degree and work, which she is now learning to apply to her own teaching as well.