Black History Month

Meaningful Change

Watch this year’s University of Reading Black History Month Flagship Event, In Conversation with Dr Deborah Husbands – who is a leading expert in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Students’ sense of belonging.

The University of Reading was honoured to host psychologist Dr Deborah Husbands at a special in-conversation event last month, delivered as part of our Black History Month events programme.

As the only Black female academic in her School at the University of Westminster, Dr Husbands noticed that she was missing a sense of connectedness with other Black academics that her White colleagues enjoyed. It was this experience, coupled with an ongoing commitment to anti-racism work, that spurred her to create a buzzing staff BME network that has grown to over 250 members since 2016.

Throughout the conversation, Dr Husbands shared her own journey and how her experiences of growing up encountering racism, being a mature student and as a Black woman in academia have shaped her work. She also explained why it is important for people to step up as allies in bringing about positive and meaningful change.

Dr Husbands said: “These experiences shaped my desire to engage in anti-racism work at my institution and beyond.

“While working as a part-time visiting lecturer, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of only-ness. I was the only Black female academic in my School and to this day, I am still only one of two Black female academics there.”

Dr Husbands noted that it is a collective responsibility to bring about change. She explained:

“Since the pandemic, we are seeing waning interest in racialised experiences of inequality. People seem less interested in being ‘allies’. We have a civic duty to keep abreast of these issues, and we must address them collectively to achieve meaningful change.”

Watch online now

To share your story or to find out more about how you can support the University of Reading BAME Network, contact