University of Surrey's Race Equity Conference 2024

Black and white photo of two students walking past the library on Surrey's Stag Hill campus Black and white photo of two students walking past the library on Surrey's Stag Hill campus

Race, Identity and Society:
Building and Sustaining Equity in Higher Education and Beyond

The University of Surrey will bring together emerging and established scholars to tackle the greatest challenges to building and sustaining equity in higher education. Researchers from across the country will assemble to share their research, ideas, and perspectives on how the contemporary university can move towards becoming more equitable at this free to attend event. 

Keynote speakers

Headshot of Professor Gus John

Gus John

Professor Gus John is a scholar, activist and social analyst in the fields of education policy.  During his career, he has been an advisor to national government on race and social inclusion.

He has been a trainer on race and equity issues for the last 50 years, specialising in assisting organisations in using equality and human rights legislation as a lever for building a culture of equity and combating discrimination.

Professor John’s latest books are ‘Blazing Trails – Stories of a Heroic Generation’ and ‘Don’t Salvage the Empire Windrush’.

Dr Manny Madriaga

Manny Madriaga

Dr Manny Madriaga is based in University of Nottingham’s School of Education as an Associate Professor in Education.

He is the Deputy Director for Equality Diversity and Inclusion and Athena Swan for the School. Dr Madriaga has expertise in access and inclusive participation in higher education.

He is currently a Leverhulme Trust Fellow 2023-24 conducting research on hope from the perspective of university leaders for anti-racist change in higher education.

Submitting an abstract 

Postgraduate researchers, early career researchers and established academics from across the UK are invited to University of Surrey, Guildford, to share their visions for eliminating discrimination, removing disadvantage, and building collective prosperity. 

Papers from thought-leaders in a range of academic disciplines will inform how we understand inequalities across the sector: from Education to Economics, from Physics to Poetry, from Developmental Psychology to Dance Performance. 

The ‘Race, Identity and Society: Building and Sustaining Equity in Higher Education and Beyond’ Conference Planning Group is seeking abstracts that fall within any (or all) of the following three themes: 

Researchers will unearth the roots and interrogate the legacies of racial inequality within higher education to understand the effect they have today and the impacts they will have tomorrow. 

Thinkers will investigate how differences in attainment, wellbeing and retention are affected by wider contemporary inequities in race and its intersections. We will emerge from the conference with a greater understanding of issues in higher education in the present moment. 

Experts will explore the forthcoming challenges to race equity within disciplines and the wider university landscape, while identifying the future opportunities that will help to build a more equitable society for people from all ethnic backgrounds. 

Additionally, this conference wants to showcase emerging research talent from racially minoritised backgrounds. Hence, we are offering the following opportunity:

Platforming Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR talent: novice researchers from racially minoritised backgrounds are welcome to present their work regardless of topic.  

Presenters can submit an abstract for one of the following formats: 

  • 20-minute presentation (ECRs and experienced researchers) – 300 words max. 
  • One hour symposium – 500 words max. 
  • PGR 10-minute lightning talk with Q&A – 300 words max. 

 The deadline to submit an abstract was Wednesday 24 April 2024 at 5pm.  Authors of successful abstracts were notified on Friday 3 May 2024.  

Getting to the University of Surrey

The conference will take place in the Lecture Theatre Block on Stag Hill campus.

The University of Surrey is based in Guildford. It is easily accessible by road and rail.

Arriving by train
The nearest station to Stag Hill campus is Guildford. It is approximately 15 minutes' walk to the campus.

Arriving by car
The campus postcode is GU2 7XH.

Parking on campus
Limited parking is available on campus. If you require parking, including Blue Badge parking, please complete the link below.

Accommodation in Guildford

There are a number of options to suit a range of budgets.

Guildford Harbour Hotel (£££)
Four-Star hotel in the centre of Guildford includes on-site bar and restaurant, gym and conference facilities.

Mandolay (£££)
Four-Star hotel in the centre of Guildford includes on-site bar and restaurant, gym and conference facilities.

Holiday Inn Guildford (££)
Close to the University, includes on-site bar and restaurant, gym, conference facilities and parking.

Travelodge Guildford (£)
Close to the University, includes on-site bar and restaurant, and parking.





8.50am - 9.20am

Lecture Theatre Block


9.20am - 9.40am

Lecture Theatre D

Welcome to conference - Tim Dunne (Provost and Senior Vice-President)

9.40am - 10.40am

Lecture Theatre D

Keynote 1 - Gus John (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society and independent consultant)

10.40am - 11am

Lower concourse

Break (with refreshments)

11am - 12.15pm

See detailed programme

Parallel session 1

12.15pm - 1pm

Lower concourse

Lunch and networking

1pm - 2.15pm

See detailed programme

Parallel session 2

2.15pm - 2.25pm


2.25pm - 3.25pm

See detailed programme

Parallel session 3

3.25pm - 3.45pm

Lower concourse

Break (with refreshments)

3.45pm - 4.40pm

Lecture Theatre D

Keynote 2 - Manny Madriaga (University of Nottingham)

4.40pm - 5pm

Lecture Theatre D

Final reflections and close - Kiara Kataike (VP Voice, Students’ Union) and Eunice Ma (PVC Education)

A full programme of speakers is available here.

We would be grateful if experienced researchers and early-career researchers try to attend a parallel session focusing on PGRs to support their development.

Activities and timings are subject to change.

empty bridge over water

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Parallel session 1

1a: Science and Technology in Society
Room A

Chair: Mia Korell

Dara Lorianne Pierre
Bees as Bio-monitors for Environmental Pesticides Detection using Ambient Mass Spectrometry.

Maureen Chiebonam Okibe, Michael Short, Franjo Cecelja, Madeleine Bussemaker
Geo-Specific Classification of Global Sugarcane Bagasse Production and Use.

Umar Farooq 
Lightweight 3D Scene Reconstruction for Real-time Novel View Synthesis.

Jaixi Li
Uncertainty quantification through differentiable particle filters.

1b: Allyship workshop

Room B

Chairs: Issa Robson and Cait Finnegan

Namy Yu

Diversity Book Club as a form of Allyship.

Issa Robson and Cait Finnegan

Active Allyship in Challenging Scenarios.

1c: Racialised women’s experiences in reality and in fiction

Room: D

Chair: Anietie Aliu

Janet Ramdeo

The persistence and impact of appropriating controlling images to Black women teachers in schools in England

Chigozirim Miracle Nwaosu

Deconstructing heteronormativity in relation to lesbian identity: ‘on the gospel according to St Morality’.

Anthea Benjamin

Embodied experiences of racial trauma for black women.

Shareen Holmer Nasim

Increasing Board Diversity.

1d: Narratives, Reflections and Journeys
Room: E

Chair: Zey Suka-Bill

Maryam Bham

Unveiling Realities: A Poetic Reflection of Race and Resilience in Higher Education.

Harry Godfrey

Sense and Sensitivity: Pressures, Publishing, and Diverse Narratives in Contemporary Fiction.

Pranay Raj Shakya

Cultivating Race Equity Allyship: Insights from the SEED Allyship Programme at the University of Surrey.

Parallel session 2

2a: Decolonising Higher Education provocations workshop
Room: B

Chair: Janet Ramdeo

KGOTLA: Arinola Adefila, Matthew Smith, Gillian Stokes, Janet Ramdeo, Caroline Burns, Luca Morini, Gurpinder Lalli and Saba Hussain

Kicking the Hornets’ Nest: provocations on decolonising higher education in the UK.

2b: Education and Educational Experiences

Room D

Chair: Harry Godfrey

Mohammad Makram Mareye Mohammad

Does race really matter? Understanding preservice teachers' perspectives of equality in the classroom.

Yuan Zou

Bridging Gaps Between Higher Education and Local Communities: Collaborative Efforts Towards Race Equity in Northern Ireland.

Adeeba Ahmad

To what extent does introduction of Mandarin in Pakistani higher education institutions lead to intercultural citizenship among students?

Mali Gunter

Exploring Successful Transitions for Disadvantaged Youth.

2c: Health, Social Care and Wellbeing

Room: E

Chair: Dara Lorianne Pierre

Martin Ruddock

Looking for Underserved Populations in Digital Health Interventions for Asthma and COPD

Wei Zhang

Conceptualising well-being – a systematic review.

Anietie Aliu

Inequality in Breast cancer screening uptake by the Black African and Caribbean women in the UK - Discussing recent review findings.

Ishmael Husbands

What are Global Majority trainees’ experiences of microaggressions whilst on clinical psychology training?

Parallel session 3

3a: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop
Room: B

Chair: Sumeetra Ramakrishnan

Sumeetra Ramakrishnan

Understanding the concept of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) from a race and ethnicity perspective.

3b: Race in Higher Education symposium

Room D

Chair: Christine Callender

Race in Higher Education: student perspectives of decolonisation, belonging and 'support'.

Zey Suka-Bill

Unveiling Complexities: Melanated Student Engagement in Decolonisation Efforts within British Creative Arts Universities.

Janet Douglas-Gardner

Friendship conversations navigating the intersection of race, gender and ethnicity.

Gideon Sappor

The UCL BAME awarding gap – understanding student perspectives.

3c: Policing and Power

Room: E

Chair: Anthea Benjamin

Mia Korell

The experience of a Black Police Officer and how disproportionality in misconduct functions to exclude them.

Moslem Boushehrian

Hate Crime Perception Amongst Various Ethnicities: Barriers to Hate Crime Reporting.

Charden Pouo Moutsouka

Space, Power, and Resistance: Unpacking the Dynamics of Authoritarianism and Civil Society Activism in Congo-Brazzaville.

Registering for the conference 

If you are interested in attending this conference, whether you are presenting or have an interest in the topics being discussed, please register via the link below. 

Deadline for registration: Monday 3 June 2024, 5pm. 


Abstract submission opens: Monday 18 March 2024

Deadline for abstract submissions: Wednesday 24 April 2024

Successful abstract notified: Friday 3 May 2024

Deadline for conference registration: Monday 3 June 2024

Race Equity Conference Planning Group 

Chair: Dr Janet Ramdeo Lecturer in Higher Education (Inclusive Education) 


Catherine Batson Associate Director (Student Experience) - Library 
Jo Huff Communications Coordinator 
Sam Jones Head of Events, Communications and PA
Kiara Kataike VP Voice, Students’ Union 
Mia Korell Student Representative (PGR) 
Susan Lawson Strategic Communications Business Partner (FASS) 
Dara Pierre Student Representative (PGR) 
Mani Talwar Sales, Conference and Events Manager 

This event has been sponsored by University of Surrey Provost's Office and by Research England and Office for Students through the 'Surrey Black Scholars' project.