London festival focuses on diversity in education

A London conference will hear this week why identity is an increasingly important consideration for Further Education and Skills providers.

The Festival of Identities, which takes place at CityLit, London on May 10 and May 11, will feature a line up of employers, learning providers and thought leaders to showcase the importance of identity in removing barriers, changing behaviours and motivating others to succeed in learning and work.

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Mark Malcomson, Principal and Chief Executive of City Lit, said: “As the largest adult education centre in Europe, we attract an enormous diversity of individuals from different cultures, backgrounds, age groups, interests and viewpoints each year and enjoy celebrating this rich diversity in our teaching and learning practice.

“We are delighted to act as host for what promises to be a though provoking event with real impact.”

Organisers say the festival will highlight how learning providers in all sectors can use multiple approaches from arts to research to promote diversity and prepare learners for a ‘superdiverse’ future.​ Some of the companies attending include: The Association of Colleges, bLack of Respect Campaign, Learning and Work Institute, and the Women’s Leadership Network.

Catina Barrett, Head of Inclusion from Learning and Work Institute, said: “Fifty years on from the 1965 Race Relations Act we need to accept that people are still facing many of the same blocks to equality of opportunity, alongside several new ones.

“There’s an urgent need, especially within the changing landscape of Further Education and Skills, to address why too many people remain excluded in learning and work and face barriers to social mobility.

“We have real opportunities to innovate for the future for people from every background and stage of life but we need to ask what it is that we can do right now – as leaders, teachers and learners – to ensure that we use our agency to deliver change. The Festival of Identities will offer different ‘ways of seeing’ identities as a deliberate provocation to help us answer this question and more.”

She added that the festival would also look at accountability in the collection and sharing of equalities data.

Anyone wanting to attend the festival can book tickets at


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