KMi: A Globally Diverse Technology R&I Centre
The Knowledge Media Institute was conceived just over 25 years ago to help the OU succeed in its promotion of educational opportunities and social justice in the age of emerging new technologies. We have sought to be true to The Open University's goals centred around inclusivity and openness and we are proud of our track record in attracting, throughout our history, lab members from a wide variety of backgrounds - at any one time, KMi typically contains around 20 distinct nationalities within our 60-80 personnel. We strongly believe that our diversity is one of our core strengths that makes KMi both a very successful institute and a highly motivating place to be.
However, we recognise that obstacles and barriers to equality still exist and may emerge in the future. Transnational movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo, along with continued, worldwide injustice on the basis of ethnicity, country of origin, sexuality and gender, ability, and many other characteristics, constitute a shocking reminder of how discrimination and inequalities are deeply engrained in our societies across the world. One of the lessons learned from our own engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement was the recognition that we need to work harder to address the representation of specifically Black African and Black Caribbean people among our students and staff.
For these reasons, we remain committed to continually improve how we promote a culture and an environment for all. An environment where diversity is valued and where equal opportunities are given to all our students and members of staff independently of their gender, sexual preferences, age, race, ethnicity, role, disabilities or neurological differences. We achieve this by maintaining clear communication pathways for making change and by nurturing our social connections as much as our professional activity so that we can better understand our needs.
In accordance with diversity activities and guidelines, such as the Athena SWAN Charter, we have introduced data-driven initiatives that allow us to carefully observe where issues arise, and put action plans in place to address them. For example, we are particularly proud of the flexibility policies that we have in place to ensure the well-being of all students and members of staff, as well as the policies and practices to ensure a high degree of fairness and transparency in promotion procedures. We have also set up a new scholarship to address the under representation of Black African and Black Caribbean staff and students.
KMi is a place where equality, diversity and inclusivity are core values, and where research is stimulated by empowering everyone to share their experiences and ideas, and by supporting, encouraging and celebrating the voices of all.