UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Open(ing) Doors: Co-Creating Space for Inclusivity at SSEES

Serian Carlyle awarded a UCL Changemakers grant for the project ‘Open(ing) Doors: Co-Creating Space for Inclusivity at SSEES’ in the academic year 2022-23.

Serian Carlyle, a PhD student at SSEES, has been awarded a UCL Changemakers grant for the project ‘Open(ing) Doors: Co-Creating Space for Inclusivity at SSEES’

In the wake of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, SSEES has been forced to reckon not only with the specificities of discrimination in the region we study but also with our own colonial and exclusionary habits. While the field is beginning to engage with questions of imperialism, racism, oppression, and exclusion, these conversations are rarely seen at an institutional level with input from across departments, students, and staff. Conversations about oppression are personal and painful, but the field cannot progress without addressing them, finding spaces for consensus, and co-creating paths that will allow us to flourish. We need a space for bigger dreams that encapsulate the fullness of inclusivity and recognise the variety of experiences reflected in the variety of people that make up SSEES.

Through this Changemakers project, therefore, we will offer a space for staff and students to come together to discuss what a more inclusive future could and should look like for SSEES. We will run a series of workshops in May, to enable people to share their priorities, concerns, and ambitions, on the following themes: defining inclusivity at SSEES; recognising barriers to change; and identifying projects that the department could realistically take forward. We invite all members of the SSEES community to join the conversation, share their experiences, and work together to identify ways forward. 

The team are looking for up to six paid student representatives to support the project. There are two types of role: student advisor and workshop facilitator. Students interested can apply here. The deadline is 3 May 2023, 11pm. 

The project workshops, which will complement and build on this seminar, will take place across Term 3 in the Senior Masaryk Common Room on the following dates: 

  • 18 May (2-4pm): Defining Inclusivity at SSEES
  • 24 May (6-8pm): Barriers to Change
  • 30 May (10am-12pm): Identifying Next Steps

 More information about these workshops will be updated soon, but for now please save the dates!

The project is led by Serian Carlyle. It is supported by Dr Rachel Morley (Head of Education), Dr Olga Voronina (School Inclusion Lead) and Dr Sarah Young (Programme Area Coordinator for Languages and Culture), who act as the project advisory board. Thanks to Professor Diane P. Koenker, SSEES Director, and Alina Vrabie, SSEES Society President 2022-23, who wrote statements of support for the application. As work on this project progresses, updates will be shared on this page. If you have any questions, please contact Serian Carlyle.

In the light of these news, Serian said: "I am very grateful to the Changemakers team for their funding and wider support, which has made this project possible. Particular thanks are owed to Peter Flew, PhD candidate at SSEES, who helped the conception and development of this project - I am very grateful to him for sharing his ideas and expertise. I would also like to extend my thanks to Dr Manjula Patrick (UCL Arena) for her advice and time, which was extremely helpful. We also received assistance from the Eugenics Legacy Education Project (ELEP), for which we are very appreciative."