Category Archives: Diversity

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2013

Clare Balding

This month see’s the launch of the university’s LGBT network and with this in mind we have chosen Clare Balding as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Clare is a television presenter and journalist who from 1988 to 1993, was a leading amateur flat jockey and Champion Lady Rider in 1990 and was one of the first women elected to membership of the Jockey Club.  In December 1997 she became the BBC’s lead horse racing presenter and now fronts the horse racing for Channel 4.

She has reported from five Olympic Games, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London. She has presented two Paralympic Games, the Winter Olympics from Turin and Vancouver as well as the Commonwealth Games from Melbourne and Delhi, and is the face of the BBC’s rugby league coverage.

In October 2012, she appeared before an All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport, with Katherine Grainger, Hope Powell and Tanni Grey-Thompson. “Women having freedom to play sport leads directly to women having political freedom,” said Balding.

In 2013 Clare was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting and journalism.

She has written regular columns for The Observer, the Evening Standard and The Sporting Life.  Her autobiography entitled My Animals and Other Family, published on September 2012 won the ‘Biography\Autobiography of the Year’ Award at the National Book Awards.

In February 2013 she was assessed as being one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 and also won the award for Sports Presenter at the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards

She formalised her relationship with the BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer and newsreader Alice Arnold in September 2006 by entering into a civil partnership. In July 2010, she made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission over an article by writer A. A Gill in The Sunday Times that she felt had mocked her sexuality and appearance and for which the newspaper refused to apologise. The PCC found in her favour, judging that A. A Gill had “refer[red] to the complainant’s sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way”.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2013


Diane Abbott 2

World Breastfeeding Week takes place between 1 – 7 August and as such, we have chosen someone who has combined their role as a mother with a successful working life as our Diversity Champion for August.

Diane Abbott is a mother and politician. She has been the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, when she was elected to the House of Commons and became part of the first Black and Asian intake in Parliament for almost 100 years. She was the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. In 2010, she became Shadow Public Health Minister after unsuccessfully standing for election as leader of the Labour Party.

She has a record of differing from some party policies; voting against the Iraq War, opposing ID cards and campaigning against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons. She has been seen as a “maverick, a free-thinker, willing to rebel against the party machine”.

More …

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2013

James Wharton joined the British Army in August 2003 and entered into the ranks of the Blues and Royals.

In 2007 James served in Southern Iraq for seven months carrying out his duties as an Armoured Reconnaissance soldier. In 2008 he spent 4 months assisting in the training of other troops preparing for active service at the British Army’s training facility in Alberta, Canada.

James has played a part on all major state occasions including the State Opening of Parliament, Lord Mayor’s Parade, Cenotaph Parade and the Queen’s Birthday Parade.  In April 2011, James was honoured to be escorting the Sovereign on the occasion of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding.

James was the first gay person to appear on the front cover of Soldier magazine, the British Army’s official publication, which also had an in-depth article on James’ life as its feature.

Marrying his long term partner Thomas in March 2010, James and his husband became the first same sex couple to have their relationship formalised in the Household Cavalry’s 350 year history. They enjoyed the celebrations within the walls of the London barracks.

James tours secondary schools in the UK as a positive role model for Stonewall as part of their Education for All campaign, talking of his experiences as an ‘out’ gay soldier in the British Military. He has also featured in Stonewall’s Role Model guide, published in 2012.

James has ranked in the top 20 of the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List for the past 3 consecutive years down to his work fighting homophobia within Britain’s Schools and his LGB activism commitments.

His first book, ‘Out In The Army: My Life As A Gay Soldier’ was released in June 2013.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2013

This month is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month.  With this in mind we have chosen Ian Hancock as our Inspirational Diversity Champion for June.

Hancock was born in Britain of both British and Hungarian Romani descent and was raised according to Romani traditions. He experienced firsthand the prejudice, discrimination and alienation that so many centuries of Romanies before him had endured.

Although he dropped out of school to go to work, which was very common for Romani people, Ian went onto study at London University and became the first Romani in Britain to receive a Ph.D. He has since devoted most of his adult life to dispelling ignorance about his ethnic origins.

Since his London University days, Hancock has used his somewhat unique position as a Romani-born, university-educated scholar to speak for an oppressed population that has traditionally had no voice or representation, to preserve information about Romani customs and history and to fight for Romani political and civil rights.

He is the Chairman of the United Romani Educational Foundation Inc., the official ambassador to the United Nations and UNICEF for the world’s 15 million Romanies and the only Romani to have been appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Educating the public about Romani history and culture has been a colossal task for Hancock because most individuals do, unfortunately, have a graphic mental image of the “typical gypsy,” but they have formed their ideas from all the wrong information.

“They do not know that seventy percent of the Romani population of Nazi-occupied Europe were murdered during the Holocaust.”

“This ridiculous fictional image has taken on a life of its own,” says Hancock. “The cliché description of Romanies is so deeply rooted that it may never totally be eradicated. There are countless representations in films and books of Italians as Mafia members, but no one actually believes that all Italians are Mafia members. That is not true for my people”.


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – May 2013

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month, being celebrated in England between 23 and 30 May. With this in mind we have chosen Stephen Fry as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Stephen is well known for his variety of talents including; being an actor, quiz show host, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director, activist, and board member of Norwich City Football Club. However, what is less known about Stephen is that he suffers from Bipolar Disorder.  He was finally diagnosed when he was 37 years old having experienced mental health problems for much of his life.

He has spoken publicly about his experience with bipolar disorder, which was also depicted in the documentary ‘Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive’. During the programme, he was dismayed to discover the extent of prejudice surrounding mental health problems;

“I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.

“Once the understanding is there, we can all stand up and not be ashamed of ourselves, then it makes the rest of the population realise that we are just like them but with something extra.”

He is involved with the mental health charity Stand to Reason and is a celebrity supporter of the mental health charity ‘Time to Change’.


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2013

April is Autism Awareness month and with this in mind we have chosen Luke Jackson as our Inspirational Diversity Champion.

Luke Christopher Jackson is a British author who rose to fame at the age of 13, when he wrote a book from first-hand experience about his life with Asperger syndrome. In the book, entitled ‘Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence’, Luke writes about his younger autistic and ADHD brothers, providing amusing insights into the antics of his younger years and advice for parents, carers and teachers of children with Asperger’s.

Luke’s main reason for writing was because “so many books are written about us, but none are written directly to adolescents with Asperger Syndrome. I thought I would write one in the hope that we could all learn together”.  The book created a sensation and greatly increased general awareness of the condition.

Luke left school at the age of 14 “after completely having had enough”. He has since been singing and playing in a band, has written two further books and has appeared in documentaries about Autism.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – February 2013

February is LBGT History Month and with this in mind we have chosen Ben Summerskill as our Inspirational Diversity Champion.

Ben Summerskill OBE is the Chief Executive of Stonewall – the largest gay equality organisation in Europe.

He has successfully expanded Stonewall’s work from parliamentary lobbying into other fields including, workplace equality and campaigning against homophobia in schools. He led successful campaigns for the repeal of anti-gay legislation, the introduction of Civil Partnerships and the introduction protections against discrimination in the provision of “goods and services”, covering areas from healthcare and housing, to hotels and holidays. Highlights of his achievements include leading a successful parliamentary campaign in 2007-2008 for the introduction of a criminal offence of incitement to homophobic hatred and a campaign in 2009-2010 to enable gay people to celebrate civil partnerships in religious premises.

Under his direction, Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, promoting good practice among major UK employers, has grown from 35 to 600 members, who employ 5.5 million people between them, ranging from IBM and Tesco to the armed services and MI5. Stonewall’s ‘Education for All’ programme, launched in 2005 to help tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools, is supported by 70 major teaching and children’s organisations.

In 2006, he was appointed a Commissioner on Britain’s new Equality and Human Rights Commission. He was awarded an OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list and was appointed to the committee of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2009. In 2010 he was a finalist as Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2011 he was shortlisted as Britain’s Most Admired Charity Chief Executive in the Third Sector Awards.