“Getting to know the Antiracism & Learning Tech SIG Officers” is a blog series by ARLT SIG Chair, Dr Teeroumanee Nadan, to provide visibility to ARLT SIG officers who undertake this role in a voluntary capacity and to highlight the importance of antiracism work in the sector. It is a celebration of how ARLT SIG officers have grown in this role!
In this blog, she introduces Chris Rowell, the Events Officer of ARLT SIG, who has been one of the facilitators prior to the ALT SIG formation.
Chris Rowell is a Learning Technologist at the University of West London.
Tell me a bit about your educational and work background?
Chris: After working as a FE lecturer teaching Economics and Politics for 17 years, I moved into the world of HE – first as a Lecturer in Education and then as a Learning Technology Manager. Currently I work as a Digital Learning Producer at University of Arts London.
What is your interest in ARLT SIG?
Chris: I have been involved with ALT for over 20 years now and really felt that it was time that ALT became more proactive in challenging racism across the sector. It is very noticeable that the world of digital education has a lack of diversity and this is especially true in the HE sector – the ARLT SIG can help to change this and create a more diverse and inclusive culture.
What motivates you to undertake your role of Events Officer in ARLT SIG? What has been your biggest contribution?
Chris: As a individual it is difficult to know what to do to challenge racism – I’ve done this is the past by writing and contributing articles that show how we can challenge discrimination but what motivates me to get involved in the ARLT SIG is that I am working with like minded people who do not just want to talk about racism but actually want to do something about it. So my biggest contribution since joining the SIG has been to organise a number of webinars about some of the practical things we can do in the workplace to challenge and end racism.
As a White male, how best can you summarise your learning so far as part of the ARLT SIG committee and ARLT community?
Chris: Whilst the consequences of racism impact on the Black, Asian and ethnic minority population, I’ve always felt that it is a ‘problem’ that needs to be tackled first and foremost by White people. Consequently, I think it is really important that as a White male I do something about it, helping to organise the SIG meetings gives me an opportunity to hear directly the issues my colleagues are facing and also provides a forum where we can discuss what can be done about it.
What are you doing to improve things within ARLT SIG, ALT, and the wider community in terms of antiracism & learning technologies?
Chris: When the SIG was set up, I became the SIG Events Organiser. So over the last couple of Years, I’ve helped to organise webinars and reading groups tackling important anti-racist topics. I’ve also helped to develop the Learning Technologists’ Anti-racist Toolkit.
What has your journey in ARLT SIG been like so far?
Chris: The ‘journey’ has been great – the most important thing for me is to to meet with the ARLT SIG community – I’ve realised I am not the only person who wants to do something about racism in this sector and there are loads of good people ‘out there’ who think like me and want to organise and get things done to create a better and inclusive world!
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