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.

The British Academy is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. This applies to the people we fund, our fellowship, how we support our disciplines, our policy making and public engagement, as well as, of course, our own employees.

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.

What are we doing?

In 2019, the Academy established two working groups of Fellows and staff who worked side-by-side 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.

Since then, the Academy has drawn up an EDI action plan and initiated a number of workstreams which will address all the areas covered in the review.

The workstreams are:

  • The fellowship
  • Leadership, strategy and governance
  • Workforce
  • Research funding
  • Policy
  • Public activities, events and publications
  • Development and partnerships
  • Data monitoring and benchmarking

As well as developing a series of recommendations for long term and sustainable change, these workstreams have also undertaken some immediate initiatives, including:

  • Reviewing the accessibility of our events and website and introducing the use of automatic subtitling for video events
  • Trialling ‘blind’ recruitment procedures to mitigate any unconscious bias in our hiring processes
  • Organising a series of ‘lunch and learn’ all-staff sessions on different aspects of diversity

Teams across the Academy are committed to ensuring the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion are embedded in everything we do.

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