Equality, diversity and inclusion at the British Academy

The British Academy's vision is for a humanities and social sciences community that is genuinely diverse. The Academy will focus on bringing about real change in equality, diversity and inclusion at the institution and in the wider sector.

In our Strategic Plan 2018-2022, we identified diversity as a strategic priority:

Our vision is for a humanities and social sciences community that is genuinely diverse. Over the next four years we intend to play a greater role within higher education in making that so – through our own funding schemes and in partnership with universities and others to examine the barriers that prevent people of particular backgrounds from progressing in their academic careers. We will ensure that our community is representative of all corners of the UK, reflects new subjects and developments within disciplines as well as acting to preserve those subjects that are at risk. 

Current activities

Over the 2019/20 academic year, two working groups of Fellows and staff have worked side by side at the Academy to examine current practices and policies related to equality, diversity and inclusion and identify ways forward. The working groups commissioned an independent review, which looked at each of our three roles: an independent fellowship of world-leading scholars and researchers; a funding body that supports new research, national and internationally; and a forum for debate and engagement – a voice that champions the humanities and social sciences.

The Academy’s governing body, Council, considered the review in June 2020 and agreed that the Academy must focus on bringing about real change in equality, diversity and inclusion at the institution as well as playing a leadership role for our disciplines in addressing underrepresentation in the wider sector too. We recognise that this will take time and we have much to do.

The Working Group has been made permanent and with a direct line to Council and the membership will be reviewed. A full action plan is in development, with progress to be reviewed by Council at their autumn 2020 meeting. Activities are likely to respond to key themes identified in the report including governance, leadership, fellowship, workforce, funding and events. The plan will also include activities to improve our data gathering and transparency, and we are committed to publishing data on our website as soon as possible.

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