Gender

Well, where do I start? Its important I truly understand the transient concept of gender before I start answering the questions my group has been asked to provide feedback on.

I have realised the older I have become the more traditional, conservative my thought process has also become.  I’m not sure if its because i’m now a parent or i’m not slightly set in my ways or i’m quite frankly just out of touch – I’m an Xennial after all.  But part if the reason for me embarking on this journey is to also gain a better understanding of those persons/students who are in conflict with their inherent biological identities and those who are not. Those persons/students whom i never organically converse with on a day to day (or probably do, but again ignorantly without realising).  I guess I want to ensure that as I progress within this academic, parental, societal arena  – this apparent new world order that i’m equipped to support, nurture, protect and rationalise an identity profile that i’m still getting to grips with to better my professional and personal approach to everyone I come into contact with.

After reading the Gender Diversity UAL website link,  its noted the levels of support systems set in place to support students, compared to other academic institutions, the level of importance held at UAL is to be commended. It is a transient topic and a lot of academic professionals are still getting to grips with it all, myself included, so the more aware i’am with the guidelines put into place should prevent me from unsolicited offensive remarks whilst teaching or conversing with y students.

After watching Pay It No Mind, I literally couldn’t sleep. I felt so deeply sad for Marsha, the life lived and lost.  The unrepentant and largely ignored trauma experienced at an early age, which left Marsha’s adult life dealing with the low self worth, esteem and need to self punish at all every level of existence.  I felt bad that although Marsha had the support from the LGBTQ community she also largely was not supported.

When we were later informed of her death four days post documentary taping, I felt the since of loss for a life that worked so hard to raise the awareness of a community that was looked down upon and marginalised. A stoic ambassador for all things creative, alternative, foreign and pretty. Adored by many and largely unknown, her recent homage via Netflix et al is a testament to her legacy.  I wondered what Marsha would have thought about today’s world and her place in it, if she were alive.  To see her own fruits of tolerance, peace, acceptance of everybody reach its fruition. I wondered if she would have settled down,  owned a property, met a loving partner,  continued with STAR turning it into a global organisation. I wondered if she would have felt the love, acceptance and received the emotional healing she needed yet brushed aside during her life. I will never know..but I’m glad to have now been introduced the legend that was Marsha ‘Pay It No Mind’ Johnson.  How do I now incorporate what i have read  and  viewed towards my own professional practice? Well I believe it’s important to provide support services to students across and within academic institutions, but its also important to provide academic student inspired programmes, curriculum and courses, throughout the students academic experience. The wider issues in our society, such as the fight for non discrimination protections for LGBTQ people have inceased.  As this topic has taken on a wider social open conversation, I believe academia, lecturers, student councellors should produce a collection of  LGBTQ resources and services made available to students via a digital app. This app would not only incorpoate guidelines that curently exist within the university, but also research guides and services for those who seek anonymity when wanting assistance with sensitive topics, or fear of being outed themselves or embarrased at asking for existing materials.  Its important that I and additionally my peers understand that we should ensure alternate avenues of gender related support via the digital or self-service (app) amenities. For the wider audience it educates us, allowing for better understanding of LGBTQ issues coupled with stoies and experiences to be disseminated moe broadly.

Race

Is anyone bold enough to poke, kick and push out of the way the elephant in the ‘class’ room.

Its shockimg to really register the personal accounts taken from the short online film Room of Silence’. I felt slightly torn as I was obviously able to identify with both parties in  question.

The student wanting to express the very essence of themselves – colour, culture – creativity – done so unapologetically via their artistic space, leveraging  somesort of approval/critique via the establishment. Its interesting  to me, the very notion of academic institutions is to break down the student in some way, re mould them, inject them with dogma and send them back into society equipped to handle the ways and workings of that society. But if during this ‘remodelling’ the students very essence is being rejected or not properly serviced it’s problematic.

I understand the experiences these students discussed, as I to was a student. Issues of race are still a contentious issue is quite annoying for me to digest, especially coming from the post Obama America we have all observed.

The tutors/lecturers response to not commenting/advising/adjudicating the students of colours work – why? White priviledge? Lack of understanding, knowledge, etiquette? Not caring about varying cultures, colours, creeds?

But overwhelmingly, its this bloody notion of ‘not wanting to offend, not wanting to appear racist’ because ultimately no matter what critique is given these elements maybe perceived to arise via the tutor as their tone or gestures will be misconstrued so…go get Ella the elephant..lets not acknowledge the race fuelled stories, artistic visuals. Lets not do our own research to better support the racially androgynous class, lets not invite in different practitioners who provide alternate viewpoints to this rich platform.

Issues of race within the classroom affects everyone, but how open is our open society really? Our current democracy requires there to be ruling and sebordinate classes/races..so until the tide changes I fear the classroom will not.

What I can do is listen to every student that I come into contact with, establish as early as possible a common factor or topic of discussion that unites us and hopefully vis this orchastrate a safe space to discuss possible concerns relating to race and additional ‘isms’, one seminar at a time.

Faith

Hello Blogging team!

Faith, as Angela Drisdale Gordon rightly commented on Pen Portraits, discussing religious belief is sensitive. Why? It’s deep rooted, comments Steve Cross on Travelling Cultures.

I’m from the school of thought that your faith is who you truly are, its your very fabric, your moral compass, the light that shines from withn inot this dark world. Yes, very dramatic. I’m a conservative, Christian woman and very poud of that. I live by the philosophy that God is in the present, the here and now, He’s not in the past – it doesn’t exist and He’s  not in the future as it hasn’t happened yet, He indeed is here and now. And also to love, as God is a God of love, so as a Christian womanhowcan I say i Love God but hate my fellow neighbour? Forr those who do not know, within the Chistian guidebook known as the Bible the greatest commandment is to Love thy God with all thy heart and mind, and to love thy neighbour!

Anyway, so that my position is clear I can move on.  Its important that faith identities are explored, within academia, life as its curerntly an increasingly important topical issue. Yes, the global unrest, wars, terror, genocides etc all  rooted back to the dogma that religious beliefs can expel. But from a basic human level people take much comfort, build fortitudes, fellowship, draw strength, from their beliefs.  Growing up in the 90s it wasn’t always cool or accepted to necessarily to discuss ones beliefs and it wasn’t until I attended unversity that I actually clung even tighter to it.  University life does have a way of breaking down an individual , re moulding them into societal standards, pumping the individual full of knowledge and spitting them back out again. This newly aquired head knowledgt can at times conflict with the simple principles of an students/individuals faith beliefs. The two at times cannot coexist – especially with consideration to the Christian model.

Its apparent that the UAL have set up resource channels to question, engage and identify students their wants and needs within this area. But what they should also consider and what I would consider is to allow the doctrines of each faith background be heard liverally and unapologetically.  There is no shame in having a faith and at times this element is overlooked. Being a Christian for example is nothing to hide, students would appreciate more guest speakers, cinema days dedicated to viewing religious movies/films/drama, contemporary magazines, music played within the grounds, subtle inclusive tactics that allows for the communication element to exist.

Mr Appiah did show that religions are contingent and always changing. But he is too much of a intellect for my sensibilities. From a personal standpoint the things of God or godly inspired topics are very simple. I found him to be very humorous at times when referencing his Ghanaian background, which I completely identified with coupled with his British identity, which again I can identify with. His depth and scope of knowledge regarding religion was plain to see,  he was inclusive about the faiths, its affects on our actions, our truths, our lives, but he also came across as slightly agnostic, above it all, distant which left me slightly despondent.  His sexuality seemed to offer a conflict for those present at the talk,  as its topical when relating it to faith/religion.  I cannot offer my opinion here so will quite comfortably sit on the fence, with my tea, after all i’m still a student of life trying to unpick and understand what this is all about.

First morning, what a morning! PGCert ’18 begins…what a drama!

It’s always challenging starting something new..a new job, meeting new people, moving to a new house.

Well today, I have started my PGCert well this morning to be exact and of course everything that can go wrong went wrong..of course.  My login and password didn’t work, which eventually locked me out, not sure that in the right class.

Whilst i’m having an internal breakdown, my entire team are sailing through typing away writing their new blog posts. I frantically call the IT department desperately seeking temporary solace from the softly spoken adviser on the other end.

The designated tutor did not appear to be overly concerned with my displeased facial appearance and appeared to be reluctant to come to my aid. This was fine, as all strong women of good character and strength, I resolved this tiny hurdle, this being my first ever blog post ironically since I teach on the importance of blogging for the modern PR, i’m typing away and will be noting my journey throughout the course.

Yes, i’m dramatic..I make no apologies for this aspect of my character, as i’m quite entertaining..I promise!

Why have I embarked on this journey? Well for various reasons, I have transitioned from an active Fashion PR professional to academia, I have been teaching in higher education now for two years whilst juggling two small children under the age of 5yrs, so figured its time to get credited for all the hours I have put in. And, lastly, its important that as a young professional woman, that I can inspire my children to constantly move forward, develop self both academically and emotionally and finally to know thy self – thanks Oprah!