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Pembroke College JCR Host Dynamic Series of Events for Diversity Week 2017

15th June 2017

This article was written by undergraduate Rebecca O’Brien (Law, 2015) who is the current JCR Gender Equalities Representative.

After the success of last year’s inaugural Pembroke Diversity Week, the event has now become an annual fixture in Trinity term through which the College celebrates diversity. The Liberation Council, made up of the LGBTQ Rep (Iris Kaye-Smith), the REM Rep (Elizabeth Opemipo Oladunni), the Disabilities Rep (Imogen Hobby), the Access Rep (Maisie Vollans) and the Gender Equalities Rep (Rebecca O’Brien), organised this year’s events, which were kindly funded by Pembroke’s Annual Fund.

The week kicked off with a discussion group hosted by Anna Yamaoka about ‘Canada’s Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’. We discussed the difficulty of the indigenous people’s situation due to the history of racial discrimination, which has led to issues of poverty, isolation and abuse.

Tuesday saw a screening of ‘The Stuart Hall Project’ which follows the influential Jamaican-born cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who became the founding figure of the school of thought known as ‘British Cultural Studies’, which reconsiders culture and identity for those excluded from circles of power through race, gender and class.

The College hosted a Spoken Word and Poetry Night for a number of very talented individuals including Serena Arthur who held the title of Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate for two years and Pembroke’s own Brian Wong who described his poetry as being ‘inspired by random encounters with folk who cared more about my skin colour than what I said’.

On the Friday the JCR hosted an International Food Festival where a number of different cuisines were offered, including Mexican, German, Singaporean, Nigerian and Indian foods. Special thanks to Rachel’s Café, the Mexican Society and Busola Adedire who provided food at the event.

To finish off the week we hosted a panel discussion titled ‘Why Oxford is so Unrepresentative’. The speakers panel consisted of Abhi Sinha, co-chair of the Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, Ellery Shentall from the Class Act Campaign, Jack Wands from the LGBTQ Society and Pembroke’s own Sam Pugh from the Oxford Student Disability Community. Our REM rep, Elizabeth Oladunni, chaired the discussion. One of the main messages taken from this debate was that disability needs a strong representation in College life. 

We would like to thank Jiaxen Lau for his photography of the Spoken Word and Poetry Night and who attended and supported our Diversity Week events. This is an incredibly important tradition which reflects Pembroke's progressive and welcoming nature and we hope it continues.

Images from Open Mic Night, Pembroke College Diversity Week 2017
Images from Open Mic Night, Pembroke College Diversity Week 2017