The National Centre for Diversity held its prestigious Annual Grand Awards event on Thursday 16th March at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. It was a glittering and emotional night of celebration, of the sheer hard work of people that work in the country’s best companies in relation to Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (FREDIE).
There were individual and organisational awards to mark the contributions of some of the most inspiring, passionate and brilliant individuals who work tirelessly every day, to ensure that there is equality of opportunity for all within their organisations– whatever your background.
We're delighted to announce that Suzanne Doyle has won the individual award for UK's Most Inspiring Individual of the Year!
Suzanne has worked at Bristol SU as the Executive Manager for nearly 6 years. In her role she leads and supports Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity and led the first Investors in Diversity Accreditation, where Bristol SU became 31st in the top 100 organisations in the UK.
On top of her job she became Co-Chair of the University of Bristol Staff LGBT+ Network in Jan 2016 and in just over one year has done an amazing job to increase awareness, visibility and make a difference to LGBT+ Staff here at the University including a network of over 100 staff. This role works with HR and the University Senior Team but also challenges when it needs to and stands up for the rights of LGBT+ staff.
Suzanne has been outstanding and here are a few of her many achievements:
Suzanne is motivated to support and make a difference for all LGBT+ staff and students as she knows that people perform better and are happier individuals when they can be themselves and how important it is for LGBT+ people to be themselves at work or University. Suzanne helps to create an inclusive environment at the University of Bristol where lesbian, gay, bi, trans and + staff can be themselves.
Outside of work Suzanne runs a monthly Lesbian, Bi, and Trans+ (LBT+) Women networking night called Indigo which she set up in 2010, alongside Dr Anna Rutherford (alumni of University of Bristol) and Amy Wilson. It is going from strength to strength and indigo have won local awards for being the best lesbian event in Bristol. Indigo supports Bristol Pride and last year raised £1,000 to go towards financial support of Pride.
Suzanne also sings in a Gay Choir in Bristol called Sing Out Bristol and has been in it since near the beginning in 2008. The choir sings at many events for the LGBT+ community such as Bristol Pride, and has sung in Brighton, Royal Festival Hall and Dublin University. Suzanne is Co-Concert Director for this years annual concert.
On top of all the work she does Suzanne has to manage being an Insulin Dependent Diabetic which she has had for 23 years. She is very open and helps support others.
Equality, Inclusion and Diversity is at the core of who Suzanne is, along with ensuring peoples wellbeing is important.
If you want to find out more about the work Suzanne does or join the University of Bristol Staff LGBT+ network please go to http://www.bristol.ac.uk/staff/social/clubs/lgbtx/
Six Bristol students were also shortlisted for awards at the National Centre for Diversity Awards, for their contributions to campaigns and inspiring acts. We'd like to say a huge congratulations to these students: Chante Joseph, Francesca Gluscevic, Hannah Dualeh, Spencer Blackwell, Timi Ariyo and Tami Sotire.
You may not know but Bristol SU is the best Students’ Union for diversity in the country! In 2016 we won the National Centre for Diversity award for best SU.
The 2017 nominations have just been announced and guess what, we’ve been shortlisted in a wide range of categories again.
Here are just a few Bristol students who have got the nod…
Chair of the student council, Chante founded an initiative called “Bristol Is The New Black” that connects black students with the black community in Bristol. She set this up as a result of her feelings of isolation at university and the inability to find spaces in which black students can fit in and flourish.
She launched the #iamblackbristol photo campaign in which she spent a week interviewing and photographing black Bristolians, talking about the work they do in order in order to build a strong and sustainable network of inspiring black individuals.
She is also a Trustee for the British Youth Council, competitive cheerleader, President of University of Bristol African and Caribbean Association and writes for gal-dem, a creative magazine put together by over 70 women of colour. She also set up a mentoring scheme between black Bristol students and black students at Cotham.
Hannah is our Equality, Liberation and Access Officer, an elected representative working full-time to protect and champion equality and diversity in the University’s student body.
Since the beginning of her term, Hannah has been arguing for the University to tackle harassment on campus, and commissioned research to understand how the SU might become a hate crime reporting centre. The University have since committed to working with the SU to develop a reporting tool and supporting infrastructure that better supports students to raise concerns on campus, specifically with regards to sexual assault and hate crime. She has also launched an interactive map for students to tell the SU about their experiences in Bristol which will be shared at an aggregated level with key stakeholders, such as the Council, Security Services and the Police, in order to make the city safer for Bristol students.
Hannah also commissioned research by the SU to investigate the attainment gap between Black students and their White peers. This will highlight black students' experiences of a Bristol education and will recommend actions for the University and the SU to reduce the attainment gap in future.
Hannah has also worked on a project to come up an evidence based system for getting accommodation bursaries to those who need it most. This is an especially vital project following the controversial increase in Bristol student accommodation in 2016 which will arguably affect those most in need.
Timi Ariyo and Tami Sotire
Having both experienced racism at the university Timi and Tami have been vocal activists, coming forward and talking about their experiences. They have addressed an institution wide issue of racism experienced by many black students and the difficulty in talking about being black at the University.
Both Timi and Tami were subject to months of online racist bullying by fellow students. They had been initially hesitant to report this as they didn’t want to face backlash from their peers and didn’t know how to report to the University.
Timi and Tami have sparked an important and much needed dialogue, as well as revealing the reality of attending the University for many black students. The action of their public appearance was widely well received, particularly by black students who were empowered to talk about their own experiences. The University, in light of these issues has established a citywide task force to explore and enact changes at the university to tackle racism.
Francesca and Spencer Blackwell put on a mainly student focused LGBT+ History Month throughout February, with support from the LGBT+ Staff Network. This month included a panel event focusing on the History of LGBT+ identities in Bristol and the UK with Jonathan Cooper, a Human Rights specialist and a screening of the film “Pride” with a talk from an original Lesbian and Gays Supports the Miners member who now works at the University.
A key focus of the month was providing opportunities to LGBT+ individuals, through collaborating with Bristol Story Slam, to share their own stories of identity, and through production of a "Humans of New York" style photo campaign.
Suzanne is the Executive Manager in the staff team of the Students’ Union and Co-Chair of the University of Bristol Staff LGBT+ Network. She has done an amazing job to increase awareness, visibility and make a difference to LGBT+ Staff here at the University.
Amongst her many achievements she has created a LGBT+ Staff Network Webpage, run monthly socials and arranged an LGBT+ history walk and doubled the membership of the network in just over a year. She also played a key role in encouraging the University to sponsor Bristol Pride for the first time and in July 2016 which over 100 staff and students attended.
The awards take place on 16th March in Leeds so fingers crossed for all our-shortlisted candidates!