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The first ever Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Awards were held at Oxford University on 8 May.

Dr clara barker equality and diversity awards
Dr Clara Barker from the Department of Materials, who won in the Individual Champion or Role Model staff category

The awards, which will be held every two years, aim to promote equality and diversity within the University by celebrating inspiring people and projects. The ceremony was held at Worcester College and hosted by June Sarpong MBE.

Dr Clara Barker from the Department of Materials won the Individual Champion/Role Model award in the Staff Category. An openly trans woman, Clara plays an active role in promoting LGBT+ and trans issues across the University and beyond. She is Vice Chair of the University’s LGBT+ Advisory Group, has developed and delivered awareness raising sessions, and acts as a point of contact for anyone who wants to talk about LGBT+ and trans issues. She has provided input into the University’s revised transgender guidance, and worked closely with the team which developed the Out in Oxford museums trail. Clara acts as a role model for local LGBT+ youth, supports their parents, and works with schools to tackle bullying. Her work has been recognised through several national awards, for her tireless outreach and other work on trans issues.

In addition, Thaís Roque, a DPhil student in Biomedical Image Analysis at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, won the Individual champion/role model award in the Student Category. Thaís has been a tireless and dedicated champion for refugee students in the University, driven by the belief that we are all enriched when we include diverse voices in scholarship and academia. She launched and led the Oxford Students Refugee Campaign, which has won pledges of more than £240,000 for scholarships to students whose studies have been disrupted because of war or persecution. Thaís and her campaign address the whole student journey, supporting the often missed elements of at-risk student need, such as application fees and flights to the UK. She has inspired and engaged staff, students andalumni to support students most at need, at an exceptionally vulnerable time. 

From MPLS Division, Prof Frances Kirwan (Mathematical Institute) was also nominated in the Individual champion/role model category, and the Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) founded by Prof Daniela Bortoletto (Department of Physics) was nominated in the category for Promoting E&D in the Workplace or Student Body.

Other award winners were as follows:

Innovation in promoting diversity in the student body:
The Univ Opportunity Programme

Promoting diversity through public and community engagement:
Oxford African Caribbean Society

Promoting diversity in learning and teaching:
Resources for School Project

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “The University is deeply committed to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, and to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community.

“These goals are integrated into the University’s Strategic Plan and we engage actively with Athena SWAN, the Race Equality Charter and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, regularly assessing our progress and identifying areas for action. I have been delighted to learn more about the terrific work of those nominated in the inaugural awards.”

The full list of nominees, and more information about all the initiatives, can be found here.

Story courtesy of the University of Oxford News Office