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December 2015

Feature series: SR in the curriculum

(25 November 2015)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, Humanities provides funding to course leaders through the annual Social Responsibility in the Curriculum competition. The aim is for Humanities students to be encouraged to think how their enthusiasm for their subject can communicate, connect or be relevant beyond the immediate demands of their course. The call for 2016-17 is now open.

Each issue we will be featuring a project which has benefited from the competition. This month, we introduce you to Professor Alice Bloch project raising awareness of forced labour.

Professor Alice Bloch is running a project to raise awareness of forced labour. The new funding will enable students from the Forced Migration module, in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS), to attend a talk featuring an academic expert and also a representative from Refugee Action. Academic expert Dr Hannah Lewis, from the University of Leeds, is a specialist in forced labour having recently completed the first study to evidence experiences of forced labour among people who are refugees or seeking asylum in the UK. She will speak alongside Victoria Sinclair, of Refugee Action, exploring both the academic aspects of the topic and the ways in which local non-governmental organisations work with groups susceptible to forced labour.

The session will raise issues concerning human rights, employment rights, citizenship, entrapment, poverty and expulsion. It will also make students aware of local campaigns and volunteering opportunities they can take part in.

The course also received Social Responsibility in the Curriculum funding last year and received excellent feedback from the students: “It was great having both an academic and someone working on the ground in the field talk to us, as it highlighted the real life implications of the content that we are learning about. The exercises that the visiting speakers had us do, such as a little quiz and identifying indicators of forced labour in case studies, helped us really engage with the material that we were learning and which meant that we absorbed the information better. It was also very refreshing having some new perspectives on what we are learning, especially from a leader in the academic field, and helped us to learn things that we wouldn't have otherwise.”