Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Awards | University of Oxford
VC Diversity Awards
VC Diversity Awards banner

Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Awards

The Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the strength of commitment to equality and diversity at Oxford and to recognise individuals and groups who have inspired others, demonstrated leadership and made a difference to equality and diversity in the University’s working, learning and social environment.

The University of Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality and values diversity. We recognise that the broad range of experiences that a diverse staff and student body brings strengthens our research and enhances our teaching, and that in order for Oxford to remain a world-leading institution we must continue to provide a diverse, inclusive, fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Vice-Chancellor's introduction

Professor Louise RichardsonI am delighted to introduce the shortlisted nominations and winners for the 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Awards. 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. Exceptional work is being undertaken at all levels of the University in this area and countless colleagues devote time and energy to initiatives which promote equality and diversity – often on top of their usual responsibilities. The awards recognise and celebrate these pioneering initiatives and the people behind them. 

Professor Louise Richardson

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Advocate for Equality and Diversity

Dr Rebecca SurenderOne of the great privileges of my role as Oxford’s Advocate for Equality and Diversity is the opportunity to learn about and engage with the many innovative initiatives promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at local level. It was wonderful to receive so many nominations for the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Awards from both students and staff and from all sections of the University – many thanks to everyone who participated.

Dr Rebecca Surender

Champion or Role Model

Hannah Ravenswood and Lamis HamdiHannah Ravenswood and Lamis Hamdi

Hannah Ravenswood, Organisational Development Advisor, People and Organisational Development

Hannah has made considerable contributions to the University’s LGBT+ and disabled communities. Through running events and giving talks, Hannah has empowered departments to become more inclusive, educated individuals to become better allies and given disabled and LGBT+ staff the confidence to feel that they can be themselves within the University. She has been the driving force behind establishing the University’s growing network of LBGT+ role models and allies and is a specialist advisor for the Sexual Violence Support Service. Her openness about her own experiences as an LGBT+ member of staff and of living with mental illness and Type 1 diabetes, her ability to truly listen and her willingness to make time for others have had a powerful impact.

Lamis Hamdi, Medical Student, Green Templeton College

Lamis has been committed to equality and diversity from the start of her time at Oxford. As Chair of Oxford SU’s Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE), she has raised awareness of a lack of inclusion for BME students through talks, speaker events and panels, and has organised social events, meetings and campaigns for students of colour. Lamis has also worked with the University to promote the voice and inclusion of BME staff and students, has been involved in the St Hilda’s Feminist Festival and is a peer supporter for BME students through the Peers of Colour scheme.

Also shortlisted

Elizabeth Frood (on left, photo credit: Jane Wynyard), Harry Gable and Karla MillerElizabeth Frood (on left, photo credit: Jane Wynyard), Harry Gable and Karla Miller

Elizabeth Frood, Associate Professor of Egyptology, Faculty of Oriental Studies

In 2015 Liz went into septic shock and as a result uses prosthetic legs, is hearing impaired and has almost no hand function. Her courage, determination and resourcefulness in returning to her academic work have been outstanding. In addition to carrying out teaching and research, including fieldwork in Egypt, in the face of physical challenges, Liz has been active in raising awareness and improving disability support across the University and building networks among disabled staff and students at Oxford. She has spoken at numerous events, on student radio and in the British and international media, and in doing so has encouraged students with disabilities, who have seen that it is possible for them too to pursue an academic career.

Harry Gable, MPhil Student in Comparative Government, New College

As the New College MCR disability representative, Harry boldly leads and shares willingly to increase awareness of disability, equality and diversity, all the while maintaining a great sense of humour and leading discussions and social interactions. He has embraced the role and made it his own, and has the ability to show others the great similarities that we share, rather than highlighting the differences that society often points out. In his role as editor of the New Collection, a peer-reviewed, ISSN-accredited academic journal run by New College, he has introduced a non-peer reviewed section, to increase the scope of the journal to engage with the Oxford community about disability, equality and diversity, spark conversations and challenge people to think.

Karla Miller, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging

Karla has been an outstanding champion for equality, diversity and inclusion at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging and within the wider research community. Karla identified EDI as an area where she wanted her leadership to have an impact from the outset of the WIN being established in 2017. She established and chairs an active EDI committee and champions member networks and working groups, generating activity and enthusiasm around EDI and facilitating a wide range of staff and students to get involved and put forward their own ideas. She regularly promotes EDI via social media and used her role of Programme Chair for the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine to influence practice beyond the University.

Klaudia Krawieka and Lucy TirahanKlaudia Krawieka and Lucy Tirahan

Klaudia Krawieka, DPhil Student in Cyber Security, Department of Computer Science and Keble College

Throughout her studies, Klaudia has been an exceptional advocate for diversity and women’s representation in her department and the wider University. She has been the President and Outreach Officer of the Oxford Women in Computer Science society (OxWoCS). As president of the Oxford Hack 2019, an annual coding event, she promoted diversity by encouraging women’s societies to enter teams and providing facilities such as a prayer room. Klaudia runs programming workshops for schoolgirls in years 7-9 and co-organises events with the Oxford Google Developers Group to bring together local computer science students and professionals to share knowledge of new technologies. Her leadership, dedication and kindness have inspired many people around her.

Lucy Tirahan, Undergraduate Student, Lincoln College

Lucy has forged lasting connections with staff and students alike through her in-college projects, practical support and willingness and drive to ensure that Oxford feels like a community for everyone. As Cultural, Religious and Ethnic Diversity representative, Lucy is a tireless advocate for individuals who approach her with concerns. She has initiated a ‘World Food Week’, worked alongside others to secure a designated multi-faith prayer room, and is leading efforts to improve access to halal and kosher food in hall. She curated an exhibition, Facial Recognition, as part of the Lincoln Unites equality and diversity week, raising awareness of the barriers faced by staff and students of mixed-ethnic heritage.

Shazeaa Ishmael and Suzan Meryem KalayciShazeaa Ishmael and Suzan Meryem Kalayci

Shazeaa Ishmael, DPhil Student, Department of Materials

Shazeaa has sparked conversations about gender, race and religion within her research group and participates in the Department of Materials’ Equality and Diversity Committee. She led the creation of the Women in Material Science Group, launched in 2017, and works with others to develop activities to address the isolation felt by women in STEM. She was instrumental in setting up the Career Pathways for Women in STEM initiative, supported by the Institute of Physics, which provides female students with information about career options and links them with inspirational role models. Shazeaa has helped to build a network of other BME DPhil students across MPLS and has been actively involved in MPLS equality, diversity and inclusion activities.

Suzan Meryem Kalayci, British Academy International Newton Fellow, Faculty of History, and Junior Research Fellow, Pembroke College

As an Early Career Researcher, Meryem has demonstrated leadership and an ability to influence change within the Humanities and across the University, playing an important role in establishing the Oxford Network for Armenian Genocide Research and co-founding the Silence Hub, an interdisciplinary collaboration that connects silence and mindfulness with academics and members of the public. She is committed to ensuring that her public and community engagement work actively seeks to include people whose voices are often ignored, enabling people from a range of backgrounds and identities – including those who identify as D/deaf or hearing impaired, those with mutisms, and Quakers and other religious and spiritual groups - to engage with the University’s research and practice.

Full list of the nominations for the Champion or Role Model category

We received a remarkable range of nominations in the Champion or Role Model category, and had a difficult task drawing up the final short-list. Here are the other people who were nominated, and what those nominating said about them…

Alan Rusbridger, Principal, Lady Margaret Hall

Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry
‘As one of the very few women of colour in a leadership role in Oxford, Ana is a role model for many of our staff and students, and has gone out of her way to fight for fairness and equality.’

Andrew Princep, Keeley-Rutherford Junior Research Fellow, Wadham College

Aoife O’Higgins, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Calleva Research Centre, Magdalen College

Bhagya Casaba Somashekar, DPhil Student, Merton College
‘Bhagya created the position of BAME officer in the Merton MCR and has worked hard to create an inclusive environment, bridge divides and be welcoming.’

Brooke Martin-Garbutt, HR Manager, Blavatnik School of Government
‘Brooke has gone above and beyond what is required of her in her role to encourage equality and diversity within the school, and has been instrumental in creating a culture where everyone feels supported and valued.’

Cedric Tan, Lecturer, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology
‘Cedric’s tenacity and courage are second to none: it is champions like him that can make a difference and help the University and society at large become more inclusive and fair.’

Claire Eggleton, Strategic Projects Manager, Saïd Business School

David Gavaghan, Professor of Computational Biology, Department of Computer Science
‘I attribute the significant progress the University has made on graduate access to David’s vision, to his organisation, and to his ability to unite and inspire a group of overcommitted individuals to work towards a common goal.’

Helen Byrne, Professor of Applied Mathematics and MPLS Chair of Equality and Diversity, and Daisy Hung, MPLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager
‘Helen and Daisy are absolute examplars of excellent academic/administrator collaboration and delivery and, because of the ways in which they have been working together so seamlessly, they have achieved comprehensive, strategic and impressive impact.’

Lauren Wedekind, DPhil Student, Nuffield Department of Medicine
‘It's rare that you come across an outstanding champion of diversity like Lauren. She served as co-organiser of the Equity in Academia 2019 event and co-organises the Global Diabetes Journal Club, which brings together diabetes researchers across six continents to share their work.’

Machilu Zimba, Race Equality Advisor
‘Machilu has been involved in a wide range of activities to champion equality and diversity.’

Mahima Mitra, Research Fellow (Equality and Diversity in Higher Education), Saïd Business School
‘Mahima led on the concept for a speaker series to bring in high profile and inspirational leaders who have been responsible for pushing through transformative diversity and inclusion agendas so that we can learn from their experience.’

Man-Yee Kan, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Linacre College
‘Man-Yee is an inspiration to her staff and students. She is a vivid supporter of women’s rights and committed to the agenda of diversity. She is a role model and an inspirational mentor. Like all women who have worked with her, we feel encourage and supported by her.’

Nupur Patel, DPhil Student, Lincoln College
‘Nupur has worked tirelessly this year to promote equality, has brought issues up to members of staff and created the college’s first diversity week, which will now be an annual affair.’

Pavel Ovseiko, Senior Research Fellow, Radcliffe Department of Medicine
‘Pavel has championed multi-disciplinary research and policy advocacy on evidence-based interventions to create a more inclusive and supportive culture at the University of Oxford, with national recognition and global outreach.’

Philippa Matthews, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine
‘Philippa exemplifies perfectly the role of equality and diversity champion. She has used her own challenging experiences and those of others that she has met through her international health research in low income countries to be a driver for change.’

Sam Martin, Postdoctoral Researcher, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Talisha Ariarasa, Undergraduate Student, Somerville College
‘Talisha has introduced many innovations to enhance the experience of our BME students, including BME college parents for freshers, regular BME games nights and a hugely successful BME formal.’

Tim Nusser, Master of Public Policy Student, Blavatnik School of Government
‘Tim was elected as one of the student education representatives for his cohort and in this role has demonstrated a great commitment to student welfare, instituting a number of support mechanisms for students.’

Vishal Kumar, Undergraduate Student, Brasenose College

Projects and Programmes

Inclusive Culture

Winner

LGBT+ Role Models and LGBT+ Allies Workshops, submitted by Hannah Ravenswood, POD

Through the workshops that Hannah has designed and facilitated, the University’s has built a network of 60 LGBT+ Role Models and 160 LBGT+ Allies, all committed to taking action to build a safe and supportive environment for the University’s LGBT+ community.

Also shortlisted

Facial Recognition: An Exhibition, submitted by Lucy Tirahan, Lincoln College
Inclusive Conference Guide, submitted by Alice Chautard, School of Geography and the Environment
Unsung Heroes of Science, submitted by Kathryn Boast, Hertford College

Diversifying Participation

Winner

Multaka-Oxford, submitted by Nicola Bird, Oxford University Museums

A joint project at the History of Science and Pitt Rivers Museums which has created inclusive volunteering opportunities for 64 people who arrived in the city as forced migrants or asylum seekers.

Also shortlisted

Ethiopian and Eritrean Treasures – Ge’ez as a transmitter of cultural heritage, submitted by Mai Musié, Bodleian Libraries
RisingWISE, submitted by Anne Miller, MPLS Division
UNIQ+ and NUSI, submitted by Nadia Pollini, Graduate Admissions

Promoting Awareness

Winner

Beyond Boundaries, submitted by Daisy Hung, MPLS Division
A science-inspired art competition which has increased the visibility of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) scientists and mathematicians, broken down the perceived division between science and art, and shared exciting research and relatable BME role models with young people.  

Also shortlisted

The Global Thinkers Project, submitted by Richard Caplan, Department of Politics and International Relations
Making History: Christian Cole, Alain Locke and Oscar Wilde at Oxford, submitted by Michèle Mendelssohn, Faculty of English
Tomorrow’s Oxford Heads, submitted by Heather Viles, School of Geography and the Environment

Download the awards booklet for further information about all the shortlisted projects.