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SR in the Curriculum

(11 January 2018)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, the Faculty of 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 competition is currently open for applications for 2018-19 and the closing date for entries is 12 February 2018.

Dr Jennifer (Jen) O’Brien, Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Environment, Education, and Development (SEED), was awarded funding to enable her Development and Inequality students, along with other interested students from the School and beyond, to understand that questions of poverty and inequality are not just ‘over there’ and to empower and equip them with the tools to make positive social change and to be aware of their positioning as socially responsible global citizens. 

The module challenges students to contemplate the relationship between places and people across the globe, and ultimately tackle inequalities - from local to global scales.  It puts particular weight on taking action to reduce inequalities, whether that is writing for policy, campaigning, or volunteering, for example.

The grant has enabled Jen to fund a guest speaker, Haytham Alhamwi from Rethink Rebuild, the Manchester Syrian refugee organisation, opening up the student experience to real-world inequality issues. 

Jen said: “Hearing real voices about major international events as they are situated on their own doorstep is incredibly powerful. Inviting speakers into the University also breaks down the barriers through public engagement. It will feed into the students’ teaching and their independent research projects.” 

As part of the project, students write a 2000 word briefing document about a real-world issue, some of which will be shared with external audiences through local organisations, and Policy@Manchester.