Decolonising the Institution #1

Decolonising the Institution #1 took place on January 15th 2018 in the Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Battersea.

0:00:00   Students’ Union Introduction

0:00:45   Cecilia Wee (Chair’s Introduction)

0:08:50   Danah Abdulla

0:19:20   Hannah Catherine Jones (read by Cecilia in her absence)

0:29:10   Tanveer Ahmed

0:42:44   Lola Olufemi

0:59:50   Panel Discussion

1:07:48   Audience Q & A

1:49:41   Summing up – Practical Actions


Chaired by CECILIA WEE

Are we tackling structural inequalities within the institution or ignoring them?

How can we incorporate forms of knowledge beyond Western philosophy?

Can we do more to engage with ethnic minority and working-class communities within London?

Does the RCA work with or against manifestations of racism, marginalisation and inequality?

What can we actively do to decolonise the RCA?

In this round table discussion we will discuss decolonisation within the RCA whilst looking to institutions such as SOAS and Cambridge University who are leading the charge to fundamentally challenge the White Male Western dominance of education within the UK.

DANAH ABDULLA is a Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures course at the London College of Communication. She completed her PhD in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the Founder, Creative Director and Editor of Kalimat Magazine and a founding member of the Decolonising Design research group (

TANVEER AHMED IS a visiting tutor in CHS Fashion and Textiles at the RCA as well as a PhD student whose research focuses on decolonising fashion design. Tanveer also runs a Black/Women of Colour Feminist Reading group at the RCA.

HANNAH CATHERINE JONES is a London-based artist, researcher, radio presenter, composer, conductor, and founder of the Peckham Chamber Orchestra. Hannah is a PHD candidate at the University of Oxford exploring the relationship between Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism and Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk.

LOLA OLUFEMI is the Cambridge University Students’ Union Women’s Officer and author of an open letter to academics in the English department calling for more black and ethnic minority authors to be studied on the course, interpreted by The Telegraph as “Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors”.

CECILIA WEE is a curator, researcher and Tutor in the School of Communication, Royal College of Art, London. Working with experimental sound, performance, visual art and design practices, she investigates the role of art and design in creating a more equitable society, exploring definitions of public sphere, economic systems, relationships with technology, environmental change, security and dialogue. Cecilia wrote her DPhil on the documentation of live art and is Chair of the Live Art Development Agency.