Spotlight on Kamna Patel
25 October 2018
This week the Spotlight is on Kamna Patel, Vice-Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Bartlett.
What does your role involve?
This is a new role and the first of its kind at UCL. It involves directing equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives in our faculty and helping to lead the development of the faculty's EDI agenda. The Bartlett is a large and prestigious faculty and so the potential equality gains that this position can help to deliver are huge.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I've been at UCL since 2012. In addition to my Vice-Dean role, I'm a lecturer and Programme Leader on the MSc Development Administration and Planning in the Bartlett Development Planning Unit.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I'm actively involved with the Race Equality Steering Group (RESG) and Race Equality Chartermark Self-Assessment Team here at UCL. In thinking about how we might approach race equality initiatives in a more participatory way that is empowering for those of us who identify as racialised minorities, I have been able to draw from development studies (my discipline) to design a first-of-its-kind workshop for BME staff to develop subjective experiential indicators on progress towards racial equality at the university. It was a gathering that has spurred the creation of a BME staff sub-group to the RESG. This was an unexpected and welcomed outcome, and one that I'm proud to have facilitated in some way.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I'm working with a team of people across the Bartlett to make the faculty more diverse, inclusive and ultimately equal. At the top of the agenda is addressing the BME attainment gap. In recent months, a spotlight has quite rightly been shone on us over our attainment gap. We are responding with energy, commitment and the resources to tackle this.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
CrazySexyCool by TLC was the soundtrack to my teenage years and brings back some wonderful memories. It's not my favourite film, but I really enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I love reading anything by Zadie Smith; I grew up in Kilburn and her stories feel so familiar.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Why couldn't the anarchist do a PhD? Because she had no masters.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Just Jay Rayner; and we'd eat food cooked by any winner of Australian MasterChef.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It'll be fine.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I make jam.
What is your favourite place?
Great Portland Street station. It's where my husband proposed, between the people handing out the Evening Standard and the recycling bins.