The University has established awards for staff and students who have made important contributions to the EDI agenda. The EDI Staff Champion awardee is Karen Ross, Professor of Gender and Media, School of Arts and Cultures.
Karen went above and beyond her day-to-day responsibilities to address these crucial issues, demonstrating her outstanding commitment and impact through a recent, high-profile project working with older woman in the community.
That project, ‘NOT Acting Our Age: Older Women Challenging Stereotypes and Celebrating Life’ was about giving older women a public voice and visibility and delivered three outcomes: digital story-telling workshops and the uploading of those digital stories to a repository hosted by Curiosity Creative; flashmob/community choir in Grainger Market on International Women’s Day 2017; photographic exhibition staged at the City Library and the Discovery Museum.
The project responded very well to four important missions of the university: promoting equality; community engagement; increasing visibility; working with stakeholders. It involved more than 150 local women across its three activities; strengthened existing relationships between the university and the City Library, Discovery Museum and City Council; and produced considerable interest and coverage from local media.
In terms of impact, the 'NOT Acting Our Age' project is a very good example of the way in which research findings can be translated into action and have a real impact on people’s lives. In this case, a group of local older women have contributed their own stories to an archive of stories from the North-East, have participated in a community event and had their photos taken in poses of their own choosing and rendered visible to the public, both at two exhibitions and projected onto the big screen on Northumberland Street.
The project continues to have resonance as the photographic exhibition will be permanently exhibited in the Armstrong Building, enhancing the diversity of the university’s visual landscape. The women who participated in the different aspects of the project have described their involvement as 'uplifting', 'fun' and 'empowering'.