Angie Wright (she/her) is the author for our Tackling Harassment: Promoting Cultural Change in Higher Education programme. Angie is the Education Development Lead at Stop Hate UK, the leading UK charity combatting hate in all its forms. She has spent her career teaching in various contexts, including 11 years as a secondary school teacher, and develops training for people of all ages to raise awareness of hate crime and its effects.
What do you consider your career highlight/s?
On joining Stop Hate UK I worked on a project across the Yorkshire and East Midlands which, along with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, developed and delivered workshops in secondary schools. The aim of the project was to encourage young people to consider the harms created by persecution and segregation, and to be active in standing against discrimination when they see it happen. The students’ responses in the workshops, and at a visit to the Centre, were so encouraging. They left with a resolve not to allow these kinds of injustices to go unchallenged, demonstrated in videos and poems that they developed in their time on the project. It was also a huge privilege to be able to speak with some extraordinary people who are survivors of the Holocaust, and to hear their stories of brave and inspiring individuals who took action to protect those being persecuted.
Why did you decide to collaborate with Epigeum on Tackling Harassment?
Being invited to write for this course was something that followed on naturally from the kind of work I was already involved in at Stop Hate UK. The themes of discrimination, persecution, ‘othering’ of whole communities and individuals, encouraging safe responses to injustice, are strong in all my work. This was an opportunity to take it up a level, research in more depth and reach more people with the anti-hate message which is central to the work of Stop Hate UK.
What was the most satisfying part of working on Tackling Harassment?
I really enjoyed my conversations with my editor, Katie, and Commissioning Editor, Kat, where we discussed and explored the topics I would focus on and angles I would take in writing about them. The collaborative nature of the process was at once challenging and reassuring – knowing that there was a panel of advisors from the academic world helped me test out ideas. I knew there would be robust and honest comments where necessary, but also well-founded approval for the material that eventually went to press. I feel the final product has been thoroughly reviewed and scrutinised, by experts and people with lived experience of discrimination, which gives me confidence that it will be a valuable course for students and staff in universities and colleges.
What are you currently working on outside of Epigeum?
Sadly, our work at Stop Hate UK is needed more than ever. Recent events both nationally and internationally have shown that hate has not gone away and people continue to live with expressions of prejudice against them, just for who they are. I am leading another schools’ project in West Yorkshire which aims to empower young people to speak safely and confidently about race and racism, whether they experience it themselves or see it around them. Again, the theme focuses on ‘what can I do about it?’ and will involve creative responses for pupils to use in their schools for assemblies and anti-racism campaigns. I am also delivering teacher training on Hate Crime, and working with several large organisations to support their diversity and inclusion work.
What do you do in your free time?
I took up playing the trumpet in my late 30’s and now play in several bands at concerts and parties, which fills the gap left when I gave up teaching classroom music in a secondary school a few years ago. It has been great recently to do some outdoor performances in local parks, and I have been grateful during the pandemic not to be reliant on music for my income, unlike so many of my friends. I have a growing set of grand-daughters who are a source of fun and cuddles, and for whom I do a lot of sewing and knitting. I also enjoy hiking in the Yorkshire Dales – or anywhere with decent scenery – with my husband.
Our Tackling Harassment programme consists of a complementary pair of interactive, online modules that will support universities in tackling harassment and hate. Taking a holistic approach, the programme’s modules, Being an active bystander and Responding to disclosures, combine evidence-based best practices with expert learning design to raise awareness, counteract barriers to reporting and intervention, and encourage positive social and cultural change throughout the whole university community.