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From speaking about race to networking for women

Results of Diversity and Inclusivity Grants

MAASRICHT. An empowerment workshop for people of colour, female academics who learn to present themselves and their research better, and an app that students can use to report sexual violence. These are a few examples of what has been done with the UM Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) Grants. The project leaders presented their results at a meeting in the Bonnefanten Museum on Monday. In the meantime, the grants for 2019 have been distributed too.

“Kaaa-ja!” With a couple of karate yells, a young woman hacks into her ‘attacker’. That would quickly put an end to sexual violence, wouldn't it? That is not the solution, say the members of Safety Awareness for Empowerment (Safe) after this brief sketch in the Bonnefanten Museum. “Most cases of sexual violence don't take place in a dark alley, but in someone's own home, by someone they trust and like.”

So, they used the D&I grant to look for alternative solutions. A so-called chatbot was developed for victims of sexual violence. Next year, workshops about ‘mutual consent’ will be held at every faculty and trainers are being sought for the Flipping the Script programme, which was developed in Canada, to make women more resilient.

Two students who participated in another project – Empowerment Training for People of Colour and People with a Migration Background – speak about how training has helped them to respond better to racist remarks. “Speaking about race is often difficult and awkward, but we should still do it.”

While the results of the previous grants were being celebrated on Monday, the D&I grants for 2019 have already been distributed. One of them is going to Retirement UM, a research project by professor Aagje Swinnen. She is going to look at how academics who are about to retire, experience the transition from having a job to being retired. “How does the balance between work and home life change? To what extent do they identify themselves with their work? What is the UM's role? What do they expect after they have retired, but also, with whom do they speak about it?” A report with recommendations is expected in September. It will contain recommendations for the UM on how to maintain relations with this group in order to prevent a lot of knowledge and experience getting lost.

 

Who received a grant in 2018 and 2019?

The Diversity and Inclusivity Grants are meant for innovative projects that promote diversity, equality and inclusivity. A total of 75 thousand euro is available for this purpose every year. In 2018, seven projects received a D&I Grant: Empowerment Training for People of Colour and People with a Migration Background, Safe, Female Empowerment Maastricht University (a women’s network within the UM), People@UM (a video portrait of various people at the university), Entrepreneurial Thinking for Female Researchers, Wiekent School (to make potential first-generation students acquainted with the university), and UM Sports for every body (more diversity at UM Sports).

The grants for 2019 go to Retirement UM, 1st Generation Academics (exchanging experiences between first-generation students in various phases – bachelor, master, PhD, staff), UM Heritage (a video campaign in which people tell about how they ended up in Maastricht), Women in data science (a conference about successful women in data science), and the High School Summer College (free participation for twelve schoolchildren from the Euroregion).

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