Making liberation mainstream with Liberate LUU
Liberate LUU has been my biggest project all year. It has pushed into all areas of our organisation and has been able to influence LUU & University’s strategy as well. This year was a lot of trial and error, a lot of asking questions, and a lot of meetings trying to get buy-in for the campaign. In the end, the impacts have been far-reaching and I’m so proud of myself and all my colleagues that worked with me on this, especially Madeline Bebbington from the Political Engagement Team.
Liberate LUU is all about embedding Liberation work into all that we do, and in the long term, it is working on being an anti-oppressive and liberated organisation. We’ve been able to start this from the beginning of the academic year. Our first partnership was with Hyde Park Picture House, putting on five films that evoked discussion and represented our liberation groups. My favourite film on the list was But I’m A Cheerleader. We were able to establish Liberate LUU: Clubs & Socs to ensure that our Clubs and Societies are inclusive, accessible and open to as many students as possible. Now all of our societies are required to work on a Liberation Statement as part of their compliance documents, and one committee member has to look after inclusivity within their role. We’re wanting to work to professionally develop our committee members to be engaging, inclusive and forward-thinking student leaders. I’ve been able to get into a policy that LUU should have a permanent Liberation space. That work will be going on for years, but I hope to come back for the opening.
The biggest thing I think has been the development of my ‘How to Be An Ally’ workshops for our students to take part in. We were only able to do one this year but it was well attended and got great feedback. Now we’re wanting to work with the University to try and progress this campus-wide. These are just a few things within Liberate LUU, because if I mentioned them all we’d be here for a week. I’m all so happy with all the events, strategies and policies that Liberate LUU has been able to influence and I’m so excited to see how it all progresses over the coming years.
Creating an Anti-Ableist Union
All of my work this year could probably be within Liberate LUU, but I did want to separate some smaller projects that I think deserve their own little shoutout. I have been able to make Anti-Ableism LUU’s next focus by bringing it to internal committees and discussing it with different teams in the organisation. Now it is best practice to focus on accessibility and inclusion across communications, resulting in changes to LUU design, digital and social approaches.
I was also able to work within the Living the Union project (to redesign the physical union space) to advocate for our disabled and neurodiverse students, which has meant LUU is working to improve wayfinding and have sensory spaces in the building. Additionally there is website visual redesign work now in development with a strong focus on accessibility. There is much more to be done but I am proud of where we are at the end of the year.