Black PhD students are pioneers in their subjects, says professor

Hakim Adi urges early career researchers at first meeting of Black Doctoral Network UK to be resilient when facing difficulties

February 26, 2015

Black doctoral students have been encouraged to “break new ground” and “forge a path” for young scholars who come behind them.

Hakim Adi, a professor of history at the University of Chichester, told a group of early career researchers from minority ethnic groups that they are “pioneers” in their subjects and should not be discouraged by any difficulties that they come across.

Professor Adi was speaking at the first meet-up event of the Black Doctoral Network UK, a support group for PhD students, which has grown to 200 members since its launch less than a year ago.

The network, which is affiliated with the US-based Black Doctoral Network, is the first of its kind in the UK and was launched by two PhD students who felt isolated in the academy. The network has a Facebook group where members can exchange information, support each other and flag up calls for papers and conference opportunities.

Founders Monique Charles, of the University of Warwick, and Antoinette Kwegan, of the UCL Institute of Education, hosted its first meet-up for members in London earlier this month.

At the event, four academics from ethnic minority backgrounds talked about their experiences in higher education and gave advice to about 40 attendees who are starting out in their careers.

Professor Adi, who says he may be the first and only history professor in the country from an African background, said: “It took me 11 years to get promoted to professor from reader.”

He added that many of his non-minority colleagues secured similar promotions in three to five years. “It may take a while but eventually you will get there,” he said.

He continued: “We are breaking new ground and we have that responsibility to break into these fields for those who come behind us…It is our responsibility to forge a path for a critical mass to emerge. Don’t give up, don’t be demoralised by all these difficulties that can appear in front of you.”

holly.else@tesglobal.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate