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Workshop on Decolonising Research and Antiracism

Building Skills for Research Leadership: Workshop on Decolonising Research and Antiracism, 24. November 2023, 10 am–2 pm, Sophienstraße 22a, Berlin

In an increasingly diverse scientific landscape, the challenge of a gender- and diversity-sensitive leadership culture is more relevant than ever. In November 2024, MoA (EXC 2025) launched an ongoing series of seminars with the aim of providing its members with such key leadership skills, especially for researchers in team or project leadership roles.

The first event was an in-person workshop entitled ‘Decolonising Research: Antiracism for Research and Project Work’. This provided a space for researchers to learn about racism and discrimination in academic structures as well as deepen their awareness of colonial and racial implications within their research on material histories in the past and present: Modern culture and technology have been extensively built on passivated materials, like concrete, steel, plywood, or glass, while activity is being transferred increasingly to digital systems, contributing to the exhaustive consumption of resources and energy, resulting in anthropogenic ecological crises. To counteract this paradigm, MoA’s transdisciplinary approach focuses on the inherent self-activity of materials. One of the aims is to strengthen the socio-political relevance of our research by applying critical and historical approaches.

The workshop’s theoretical input focused on analysing racism on an individual, institutional, and structural level. Using practical exercises, the participants developed a set of criteria in order to foster a non-discriminatory working environment in existing research projects and were provided with tools for effective implementation. The course also developed initial improvement measures to create non-discriminatory spaces at organisational level. In a follow-up session, external trainer Josephine Apraku advised individual members on specific issues relating to their research practice and methods.

Josephine Apraku is an African Studies scholar and has been working as a lecturer at both the Alice Salomon University and Humboldt University in Berlin since 2015. They also write columns for Missy Magazine and EDITION F.

Further seminars in this series will include a workshop on questioning neutrality and (gender) biases as well as prevention training on sexual harassment in academia.

decorative photo of the workshop
Photo: Elisabeth Obermeier, Matters of Activity.

© GeCo | 2021