“Getting to know the Antiracism & Learning Tech SIG Officers” is a blog series by 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 herself, as Chair of ARLT SIG.
Dr Teeroumanee Nadan is an independent researcher on Internationalisation, Digital and Inclusive Education. She is an advocate for Education for ALL. Her interests lie in Education, Technologies, BioSciences, Employability, Law & Ethics.
My educational and work background
I am have a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems from Mauritius and a joint MSc in E-business and Centred Network Computing from UK, Greece and Spain, with an interdisciplinary PhD in Computer Sciences, Biosciences & Education. I also undertook my software engineering training in India and volunteered and lived in a few other countries.
My work background has been varied, from being a learning tech, to project manager, researcher and I have worked within IT & Computer Science, but also on internationalisation, immigration, employability, and various other sectors within the university. I am interested in supporting students and staff throughout their journey within Higher Education.
My interest in ARLT SIG
I joined the ARLT group when it was founded and then became a facilitator and now Chair of the committee. I have always been interested in diversity work, and was working around gender equity and disability since my initial years in the UK. I became interested in ARLT from my personal experience in the sector, and also the fact that I can compare different educational and cultural systems to which I have been exposed. I am keen to apply my changemaker mindset to address the systemic issues affecting me and many of my peers in the sector.
What motivates me to undertake your role of Chair in ARLT SIG?
I was born in a multi-ethnic society and grew up practising different faiths, so have a certain degree of understanding of the fragility of ethnic boundaries – miscommunication can easily weaken those ethnic boundaries and lead to ethnic riots. I grew up learning about and familiarising myself with British colonial history and in particular its impact on people displaced by the British empire. When I came to the UK, I realised that it was common practice to brush the uncomfortable topics under the carpet. I have observed this in every academic institution that I have worked at. What motivates me the most is treating the cause rather than the symptom!
My biggest contribution so far
Shifting the community from a non-ALT group to an ALT SIG has been a big challenge, there was a lot for the community to unlearn and re-learn. My biggest achievement I would say is to have had the patience to set up all the necessary and much-needed administrative logistics for the long term for a committee working on an antiracism related topic. I came into this role, well aware that I need to hand it over to someone within a few years, so I do everything that I do with that mindset. My biggest recent achievement has been
- to get some members to unlearn some of their bad practices based from previous roles and get to grips with what antiracism is and is not – a lot to do with change in mindset and encouraging them to sit with their discomfort with antiracism, this is an on-going process
- welcoming 3 new officers in the committee (Rachel Branham, Amin Neghavati and Dr Olatunde Durowoju) who were completely new to volunteering in ALT, on-boarding was time-consuming yet the most rewarding – since they joined we have had several meaningful and impactful chats around antiracism. I will soon have to re-start the process with 2 new officers who are completely new to volunteering at ALT and on antiracism.
As one of the officers has put it “IT IS HAPPENING” – impact is happening, and this is what antiracism is about. DOING IT!
What has my journey in ARLT SIG been like so far?
My journey in ARLT SIG has been an interesting one, perhaps the most challenging DEI committee experience as I have had in the first year. Nonetheless, it has also presented me with opportunities to nip racism in the bud. I often find myself explaining over and over what antiracism is and is not and explaining the needs of the most marginalised ethnic groups.
What am I doing to improve things within ARLT SIG, ALT, and the wider community in terms of antiracism & learning technologies?
That is quite a lengthy list, but put simply, I keep talking of inequalities where others do not naturally see it!
To join ARLT SIG, subscribe to our JISC mailing list