Diversity Festival

Each year the Diversity Festival provides a focus through which the University actively promotes, challenges and develops an understanding of equality, diversity and multiculturalism. The theme of the 2016 Festival was "Wellbeing and Belonging"

The Diversity Festival is open to all students, staff and the wider community and will give you a unique opportunity to learn and experience different cultures and perspectives.


Exploring Wellbeing and Belonging - a great Festival!


Click on the links below to see the recordings of our fantastic speakers


The University’s 11th annual Diversity Festival took place from 29th February – 11th March with 50 events taking place across the fortnight, organised and co-ordinated by An Croenen Brutsaert, Equality Officer and Gemma Edwards, Learning and Development Business Partner.


Over 600 tickets were sold for the array of exciting sessions and attendees included staff, students, members of the public and staff from other organisations.


The Festival has been hosted by the University since 2006.  What began as a small, internal, week-long events has grown into a fortnight which attracts high profile speakers and many attendees and of which the organisers are very proud.  From feedback received from other universities, we know that the Festival is recognised as an example of best practice in the sector and since its inception has been nominated and shortlisted for two national awards. The festival aims to challenge perceptions of the University community and introduce the public to the many aspects that make up the University’s work and research in the field of diversity.


The Festival, with a theme this year of ‘Wellbeing and Belonging’, launched with a thank you from Mr Adrian Lee, the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor with overall responsibility for Equality and Diversity and included a thought provoking presentation from Prof Ruth Ashford on her own personal journey in HE, followed by our keynote speaker Eilidh Milnes who spoke about her book, the Diversity Dashboard with an entertaining presentation including ‘mental flossing’ and positivity pointers! 


Other highlights throughout the fortnight included Prof Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor at the University of Liverpool, who spoke about Women in HE and the action needed to address inequalities; the launch of the University’s Athena Swan Bronze awards with Professor Paul Walton of the University of York and writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry; an afternoon focussing on extent of sexual harassment, sexual coercion, rape and domestic abuse in student populations across England through the Intervention Initiative (Bystander Awareness Training) and culminating in the presentation of the White Ribbon Award to the University of Chester, in recognition of its leading role in creating an environment where students can feel safe; a Mental Health study day and an array of mental health sessions throughout the fortnight and a disability awareness session with Emma Hawkins from I Wheelie Can.


Training sessions proved very popular this year with staff and students alike, most notably the workshops on Unconscious Bias and Suicide Prevention booking up fully on the day of ticket release. One of the most popular events of the fortnight was the full day ‘An International Perspective on Midwifery’ event with keynote speaker Jef Mennens who talked about realities of midwifery abroad, about being a male midwife, and running his Independent Midwifery Practice in The Netherlands.   With almost 90 attendees, the feedback on this event was fantastic.


Other departmentally run events included ‘Pride in Health and Social Care’ including a guest speaker from Stonewall as well as inspiring presentations by our own students, and World Social Work Day at Warrington with workshops and a theatre production.


As usual, there was also an array of fun events including Brazilian dance/ martial art Capoeira, Tai Chi and the highly successful Chinese Activities Afternoon. The University’s volunteering student, Steven Li Shengqi, demonstrated to staff, students and community participants the basic principles of Chinese Calligraphy and Chinese guest artist Wang Chong, demonstrated the contemplative art of Chinese stamp making.
Feedback has included the following
“I just wanted to thank you and your colleagues for organising the Women in HE event today. It was excellent. I thought all speakers were engaging, informative and inspiring and I’ve come away with lots of things to think about!”
“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and found useful the things I attended from the [Diversity Festival] – Unconscious Bias and Disability Awareness.  The speakers were excellent, I would have liked to have attended more, lots of interesting things on the programme.”
"Thank you for caring so much about diversity to put this Festival on with all the hard work and organising that must be involved."
This year, twelve students will be presented with the Student Equality and Diversity in Action Award in recognition of their contribution to the success of the Festival.
Diversity Festival 2017 will take place from 27th February - 10th March 2017 with a theme of "Connect and Thrive."
If you have any ideas for next year's events you would like to organise or attend, email equality@chester.ac.uk