A Phenomenological Exploration of the Holistic Experiences of Students of African Descent at a Post-1992 University in England

Patrice Seuwou*, Dilshad Sarwar, Andrew Pilkington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportConference Contributionpeer-review

Abstract

HE (Higher education) has the potential to break intergenerational poverty by bringing about social mobility and justice, thereby transforming the lives of many from disadvantaged backgrounds. In recent years, considerable progress has been made to widen the participation of black students in the UK HE sectors. It has been observed that candidates from black and minority ethnic groups go to university in good numbers, but they don’t achieve as well as their white counterparts. In the past few years alone, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have shone a stark light on the racial inequalities that exist throughout all sections of UK society, including within HE. Key obstacles remain to building on and sustaining the progress that has been made, ensuring the participation and success of deprived groups and delivering fair access. These groups experience a higher risk of poverty, social exclusion, discrimination, and violence than the general population and their constant struggle to secure top positions in the UK economy. In this study, IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) has been used to explore the holistic experiences of students of African descent attending a post-1992 University in England through the lenses of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Pierre Bourdieu’s tools. We evaluated their challenges and coping strategies to survive in largely white-dominated spaces. Findings reveal that students met a combination of psychological, academic, and financial difficulties relating to anxieties of adjusting to a new culture for international students, language difficulties, new ways of learning and assessment, and having to work alongside their studies. Moreover, substantial inequalities persist throughout their student lifecycle, exposing systemic discrimination and broader campus political, cultural, and social realities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationiCERi 2022
Subtitle of host publication15th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Place of PublicationSpain
PublisherInternational Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Pages7234-7243
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-09-45476-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2022
Event15th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Seville, Spain
Duration: 7 Nov 20229 Nov 2022
http://iceri2022@iated.org

Conference

Conference15th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Country/TerritorySpain
CitySeville
Period7/11/229/11/22
Internet address

Keywords

  • Widening participation
  • African descent students
  • Post-1992 universities
  • CRT
  • Bourdieu
  • IPA

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