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Twin initiatives to help minorities

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Two projects aimed at furthering the prospects of BAME professionals in academia have been launched.

CILIP – the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals – has announced the official launch of its Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network, led by CILIP trustee, Shirley Yearwood-Jackman.

The network is aimed at being the UK-wide professional network for the BAME community within the library, knowledge and information sector. It will provide a forum for BAME information professionals to share experiences, support each other and build connections, and support the advancement of BAME professionals in the workforce.

The launch of the BAME Network will help to address the under-representation of people of colour within the library and information workforce as identified in the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping data (2015).

Shirley Yearwood-Jackman, CILIP trustee and chair of the BAME Network Steering Group, said: 'The launch of the CILIP BAME Network represents exciting times for BAME library, knowledge and information professionals and for the profession as a whole.

'The Network provides six key goals that all library, knowledge and information professionals can support in order to address the under-representation of BAME colleagues in the workforce, support their advancement and develop diverse library, knowledge and information services. We look forward to working with individuals and organisations alike.'

Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP, added: 'I am extremely proud to be working with Shirley and the steering group on the launch of this new network. Initiatives like DILON and the new CILIP BAME Network are a vital part of addressing the under-representation of people of colour in our profession. . We very much hope that the network will be a driving force in encouraging new BAME people into the sector, creating new opportunities and highlighting to employers the need to fully support the development and promotion of BAME professionals.'

'I would like to personally thank Shirley and the team for working with us to create this new network. CILIP firmly believes that the BAME Network should be run by and for BAME professionals and without their hard work and commitment this would not have been possible.'

Meanwhile, the publisher SAGE has partnered with Leading Routes, an initiative that supports Black students, encouraging them to stay on at university and move up the academic ‘ladder’ through PhD study and employment as academics and future professors.

SAGE will support three ‘Black in Academia: Staying the Course’ events during 2020. Taking place in three cities outside of London, these events will aim to create spaces and opportunities to celebrate Black achievement in higher education, furthering the conversation about the representation and experiences of Black students and staff in universities in the UK.

Kiren Shoman, vice president of editorial pedagogy, commented: 'For research outputs to thrive and have lasting impact, we firmly believe that it must come from a body of researchers that reflect the diverse make-up of society. However, the levels of people from BAME backgrounds working in academia remains severely low. We’ve been inspired by the work of Leading Routes to address this widespread and deep-rooted problem and are pleased to be working with them on this series of events.'

Paulette Williams, founder of Leading Routes, added: 'Our work to support the next generation of Black academics could not be possible without input and support from actors across the scholarly community, from publishers and learned societies, to universities and student groups. A highly-regarded, independent, mission driven publisher of academic literature, we’re delighted to be working with SAGE as we continue to address the challenges faced by students and academics from African Caribbean backgrounds.'

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