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Seven projects receive funding from JEDI Fund

More focus on diversity in Antiquity, workshops for students with disabilities, and a card game to share stories about diversity: these and other projects will receive funding from the JEDI Fund in 2023.

The JEDI Fund was instituted to contribute to the faculty’s D&I priorities outlined in the Work Plan, with a specific emphasis on education and the learning environment. All staff and students in the Faculty of Humanities were invited to apply.

‘As a member of the selection committee, I enjoyed reading the various project proposals by our students and members of staff,’ says Rajae El Morabet Belhaj, student member of the selection committee. ‘It’s inspiring to see how students think of fun and educative activities to make others feel seen and included.’ This year, the projects below have been honoured.

Classics: Changing the Conversation

Classics: Changing the Conversation (CCC), a joint initiative of the Sophia Aeterna study association and the Greek and Latin Language and Culture, Classics and Ancient Civilisations, and Ancient History study programmes, explores issues of diversity and inclusion both in Classical Antiquity itself and in practices of engaging with ancient cultures, such as academic research, teaching and heritage stewardship. CCC will apply a dual format, consisting of an on-campus discussion platform with invited experts and interactive discussion, and reflective duo podcast interviews with experts, conducted by students. To change the conversation, we have to be willing to have difficult and courageous conversations. This is our mission.           

The project team consists of Tazuko van Berkel (Centre for the Arts in Society), Zoé Bazalgette Courrèges-Lacoste (MA Classics and Ancient Civilisations), Miko Flohr (Institute for History), Lisanne Ledegang (BA Greek and Latin Language and Culture); Sophia Aeterna), Ada Migliazza (MA Classics and Ancient Civilisations), Evelien Nijveld (MA Classics and Ancient Civilisations), Christoph Pieper (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society), Sienna van der Poel (BA Greek and Latin Language and Culture; Sophia Aeterna), Jessy Rensink (MA Classics and Ancient Civilisations), and Thirza Vis (BA Greek and Latin Language and Culture; Sophia Aeterna).

Getting creative

Many students with a disability are not able to participate in activities organised by associations and sport clubs. We want to organise four workshops related to handcrafting, as this is something practically all students can participate in. The aim is to create a safe space where students with a disability can relax and do something fun together. Having a social activity that’s completely accessible to all students, while also having a lot of fun is very important.

The project team consists of the board members of the Access & Support Platform (ASP): Anna-Feline Breukers, Jan-Chris Kampfraath, Maria Ghita Voineag, Luca Lavranos, Felicitas Dieke, and Kirstel Pool.

Diversifying Ancient History

This project aims at a thorough revision of the reader that is part of the introductory course in Ancient History, used by ca. 300 first-year students every year. While the current learning content offers an excellent overview of the status of ancient historical research, it needs diversification. Key themes in this revision are the thematisation of the (political) use of the Graeco-Roman past in the present, a stronger emphasis on pluralism and diversity within Greek and Roman society, and a better representation of the scholarly community. With these innovations, the course will cater to the needs of the present generation.

The project lead is Leanne Jansen (Institute for History), who will work with her student assistant and colleagues from Ancient History department.

What’s your story? Let’s talk about diversity through a card game!

Having open conversations about diversity and inclusion is an important first step towards change. Such conversations can be emotional and vulnerable, however, and, especially when conducted in the public space, they can be uncomfortable both to start and sustain. This project aims to tackle this issue by developing a card game that helps students and faculty members to exchange and respond to stories about themselves that relate to diversity, inclusion and belonging. The concepts of ‘storytelling’ and ‘play’ are central to this project: while storytelling has proven to be an effective diversity intervention in higher education, the format of play can enhance empathic listening and lays the foundation for critical intervention by creating a safe sharing space.

This project is led by Tingting Hui ( Centre for the Arts in Society).

Through each other’s eyes: Early medieval England and the Middle East

This student-staff project intends to make a series of informative videos that highlight cultural interactions between England and the Middle East in the early Middle Ages. How do archaeological finds and travelogues inform us about cultural contacts between England and the Middle East? How did Arabic travellers and geographers depict England, and how was the Middle East represented in Old English literary texts? By showcasing these cultural interactions, these videos will combat common misconceptions about the Middle Ages, such as the use of images of English Crusaders against Saracens in anti-migrant rhetoric, which are increasingly appropriated by right-wing extremists.

The project team consists of Fatima al Moufridji (student BA English Language and Culture) and Thijs Porck (Centre for the Arts in Society).

Embodiment and Emotion at the Intersection: Reimagining Identity in Contemporary Discussions

The initiative for creating an inclusive learning environment demands new discursive resources for articulating marginalised experiences and enabling productive conversations on justice. Our project organises an event series (informal seminars, workshops, and creative activities) that introduces the burgeoning studies of embodiment and emotions. Informal seminars explore how to reimagine body image, queer identity, gender equality, animal rights, and climate change as our shared lived reality. Applying the knowledge from these seminars, we then organise a workshop on anger to discuss its productive potential for resisting oppression. The Symposion study association will also run student-focused activities (e.g., film nights, creative writing sessions, brain-storming colloquiums) that drive extra-curricular socio-intellectual engagement with intersectional perspectives.

The project team consists of Jingjing Li (Institute for Philosophy), Clara Mendes Pereira (MA Philosophy and board member of Symposion) and Fabius Schoendube (MA Philosophy and board member of Symposion S.V Board).

Developing a language support programme for students of Korean and Japanese with reading difficulties

This project aims to develop a language support programme for students with reading difficulties who are learning Korean or Japanese as a second language. This will be achieved by adapting existing support methods for students with reading difficulties who have Korean or Japanese as their first language and by applying these methods to the course content of the Korean and Japanese Studies BA programmes. This kind of language support programme will provide students with language-specific tools to overcome their difficulties, thus contributing to a more inclusive and supportive language programme. This can also serve as a model for other language-oriented programmes.

This project is led by Eun-Ju Kim (Institute for Area Studies).

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