Jamie Chan is a PhD researcher and doctoral tutor in the School of Psychology looking at social class and body image. With Dee Dragani, she ran a workshop at the Festival of Doctoral Research on LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
“Inclusivity” has become a somewhat popular word these days. In conjunction with the Festival of Doctoral Research 2021, we ran an LGBTQ+ inclusivity workshop for researchers in Sussex that aimed to highlight good inclusivity practices in research, to reflect on inclusivity in our own research, and to answer questions surrounding inclusivity and related actions.
Why is inclusivity important?
“I don’t know if inclusivity is my research priority”
If we’re doing research, then inclusivity should be our priority, because we’re naturally part of the system that generates knowledge and every single person should be taken into account.
“I don’t know if I can make such big changes in my research”
Achieving inclusivity is a big step forward and we know that big steps can be discouraging. In our workshop, we proposed small achievable steps that can make our research a lot more inclusive.
“I’m inclusive enough in my research”
That’s great! However, inclusivity is not an exhaustive checklist, but rather a continual and active process of observation, reflection and participation. So, there is no harm in continual learning and reflecting!
What was the workshop about?
We covered a range of areas in our workshop relating to research and researchers. For example, we emphasised the importance of using inclusive language with suggestions of inclusive terminology (e.g. transgender, gender affirmation) in place of outdated terms (e.g. transsexual, sex change); we highlighted practical steps on how we can be more inclusive when designing, writing and thinking about research; we also focused on how we can create inclusive conference experiences and environments for LGBTQ+ participants in general and trans participants specifically.
As part of being inclusive, we were conscious about creating space for our participants to take part and ask any questions (regarding specific inclusivity challenges that they face in their research). This segment was a great opportunity for us to learn about one another’s experiences and come up with suggestions for solutions collectively.
Take away message
Inclusivity can look different in different projects. It is often not a clear-cut checklist, but a complex mix of navigating conventions and change. But what’s really important is that we start actively considering inclusion in every research decision that we make because small steps lead to larger change.