Good news for race equality in Irish universities and colleges.

The Higher Education Authority Anti-Racism Principles have been signed over the last few months by many Universities and HE Colleges across Ireland after approval by their Governing Bodies, including University College Cork , University of Galway, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, Technological University Dublin Technological University of the Shannon, Atlantic Technological University , South East Technological University, Dundalk Institute of Technology , Carlow College, St Patrick’s, National College of Ireland , and MIC.

These commit each University or College to acknowledge inequalities and racial discrimination in higher education, and to embed a culture of race equality across their institution.

These principles were developed by the HEA with higher education stakeholders following the 2020 report which highlighted racial abuse, discrimination and salary gaps affecting minority ethnic staff in higher education.

Recommendations in the report by Marta Kempny and Lucy Michael were across eight areas – supporting diversity in staff, supporting diversity in student recruitment, making race/equality policies transparent, reporting mechanisms, awareness and training, fostering diversity in HEIs, leadership and data collection

Senior leadership in HEIs were most commonly identified as the group most critical to the process of improving race equality in higher education and there is an opportunity for real evidence-informed leadership in this area by HEIs. High level commitment is crucial.

Huge thanks to all in the HEA staff and voluntary working groups who injected so much energy into this. We have been privileged to play a supporting role in the research. All credit now goes to the teams across each University that are implementing the HEA Race Equality Plan.

Pictured: screenshots from announcement of signing at ATU, SETU, NCI, ATU, UCD, UCC, TU Dublin, and TUS.

Tus https://tus.ie/tus-signs-hea-race-equality-anti-racism-principles/
Tu Dublin https://tudublin.ie/explore/news/tu-dublin-signs-anti-racism-principles-for-higher-education.html
ATU
https://www.atu.ie/news/atu-commits-to-combat-racism-by-signing-heas-race-equality-anti-racism-principles
NCI
https://www.ncirl.ie/News/ArtMID/748/ArticleID/890/NCI-signs-anti-racism-principles
SETU
https://www.setu.ie/news/setu-president-signs-hea-anti-racism-principles
Mic
https://www.mic.ul.ie/news/2023/mic-signs-hea-race-equality-principles
Carlow college
https://carlowcollege.ie/news/carlow-college-signs-hea-race-equality-anti-racism-principles/
UCD
https://www.ucd.ie/equality/information/raceandethnicequalityinucd/
University of Galway
https://www.universityofgalway.ie/equalityanddiversity/raceequality/anti-racismprinciples/#
UCC
https://www.ucc.ie/en/registrar/news/signing-of-anti-racism-principles-for-irish-higher-education-institutions-.html
UL
https://www.ul.ie/equality-diversity-inclusion/equality-diversity-inclusion-0/standing-together-embracing-diversity

Supporting the Arts Council’s promotion of equality

We are delighted to have been involved in a number of projects with the Arts Council supporting the promotion of equality in the arts sector in Ireland and the implementation of policy changes to fulfil the organisation’s obligations under the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

Strategic Evaluation

In 2022, we carried out an evaluation of the Arts Council’s first 3 year Equality, Human Rights and Diversity (EHRD) Policy and Strategy  with Navigo Consulting, including interviews with key staff across all areas of operations and focus groups with artists across all equality grounds.

The Arts Council has in August launched its new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Plan 2023–2028 , composed by the Arts Council’s Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion team, drawing on our evaluation and recommendations.

Analysis of Equality Data

In 2023, we conducted an analysis of the 2022 equality data gathered by the Arts Council from all awards scheme applicants. This was published in August.

Read the full report at Equality Data and Arts Council Awards 2022

The following differences are most pronounced, and these strongly reflect the patterns evident in the previous year.

The analysis in this report is based on diversity data submitted as part of applications made to the Arts Council and for Arts Council schemes managed by Create and Arts & Disability Ireland in the year 2022. The diversity of applications and awards are compared in terms of disability, ethnicity, gender, and where possible, geographic location. To understand the relative demographic representativeness of applicants and recipients, each of these metrics have been compared (where possible) to the population of Ireland Census 2022. This report presents a summary of key findings from that analysis.

  • There is a higher proportion of both applicants and recipients who identify as female compared to the general population.
  • Individuals who identify as having a disability are under-represented amongst applicants and recipients compared to the general population.
  • In respect of ethnicity, the rate of application and award is lowest among individuals who identify their ethnic background as Other or Mixed, Asian or Asian Irish, Black or Black Irish, or belonging to the Traveller Community.
  • Geographic spread was uneven, with Dublin was significantly over-represented in terms of proportion of applicants and recipients compared to the population. Cork, Galway, Wicklow, Clare and Sligo were also slightly over-represented in applications.

Arts funding in Ireland: exploring factors affecting grant awards to Black and Black-Irish artists.

In its 2021 Awards Data Report, the Arts Council published data which showed that Black or Black Irish artists made up 1.9% of applications, 1.5% of successful applications, 1.4% of unsuccessful applications, and 4.5% of applications deemed ineligible. The proportion of ineligible applications is higher than any other ethnic or racial group. We undertook research for the Arts Council of Ireland to understand why Black or Black-Irish artists were more likely to be deemed ineligible than other ethnic or racial groups amongst applicants to Arts Council funding.

We investigated a wide range of factors which might contribute to this high rate of ineligible applications. We reviewed a wide literature on barriers faced by minority artists, analysed available application data, and in March 2023, we invited Black and Black-Irish artists to take part in this research on a confidential basis regarding their experience of the application process. Participants in the research interview were compensated for their input by the Arts Council in line with its Paying the Artist policy.

The findings will inform a review of the application process to ensure that decision-making processes are based on best practice and applicants of all backgrounds are treated fairly. A summary report with recommendations which anonymises interview contributions has been shared with the Arts Council.

For more on the Arts Council’s work on equality, see https://www.artscouncil.ie/Equality-Diversity-Inclusion/

Queries about the above publications should be directed to the EDI Unit at www.artscouncil.ie

Migrant Integration: comparing Ireland and Northern Ireland

A new report Comparing migrant integration in Ireland and Northern Ireland was launched on 6 March as part of a series of research papers under the #SharedIsland joint research programme between the Department of Taoiseach’s Shared Island Unit and the ESRI.

This report examines migrant integration in Ireland and Northern Ireland, using information from national and international surveys as well as a consultation event with migrants, their representative groups and other key stakeholders. Migrants are defined as those born outside their country of residence. The report compares the composition of the migrant population in Northern Ireland and Ireland. It considers migrant employment rates and the nature of jobs they hold, as well as migrant-origin young people’s academic outcomes and wellbeing, compared to their native-origin peers. It also considers attitudes to migrants in both jurisdictions, and migrants’ experience of the border in Ireland.

Lucy joined the panel for the launch as one of the report’s external reviewers, along with Councillor Lillian Seenoi-Barr, Derry & Strabane Council, and Ivy Goddard, Director of the Inter Ethnic Forum for Mid & East Antrim, with journalist Sorcha Pollak, author of New to the Parish: Stories of Love, War and Adventure from Ireland’s Immigrants, as moderator.

Read the report’s highlights and download the full report at https://www.esri.ie/news/new-esri-research-highlights-high-employment-among-migrants-in-ireland-and-northern-ireland

https://twitter.com/merrionstreet/status/1632720434352336897?s=20
https://twitter.com/merrionstreet/status/1632710176108167168?s=20

Child Protection in Ireland

We are currently undertaking research on behalf of the Fundamental Rights Agency (EU FRA) alongside researchers in all 27 member states on a thematic report mapping national child protection systems.

Our report on Ireland will be produced during spring 2023 and submitted to FRA for review and publication (date not yet confirmed).

FRA previously published a similar report on Child Protection Systems in the EU in 2015

https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2016/mapping-child-protection-systems-eu

2fm talks about bias

Lucy was on the Jennifer Zamparelli show on Tuesday 14 February to answer Jen’s questions about unconscious bias, what it means and why it’s trendy right now, and alternative approaches to tackling discrimination

Lucy was on the Jennifer Zamparelli show on Tuesday 14 February to answer Jen’s questions about unconscious bias awareness, what it means and why it’s trendy right now, and alternative approaches to tackling discrimination

Read our briefing here

The Unconscious Bias Approach to Equality

Listen back here

https://www.rte.ie/radio/2fm/clips/22212726/

2022 in review

HUGE THANKS to everyone who worked with us in 2022.

It’s been an incredibly busy year for us, and a very satisfying one!

We had 3 full-time team members, 2 part time, and 11 project staff, based in Dublin, Galway and Belfast.

  • Dr Lucy Michael – Director
  • Dr Niloufar Omidi – Senior Researcher (Human Rights Law)
  • Dan Reynolds – Researcher (Social Analysis)
  • Dr Ka Ka Tsang – Researcher
  • Dr Marta Kempny – Researcher (Social Analysis) (not in photo)
  • Megan Elliott – Executive Assistant

We are grateful for all our team members and partners and how they help us to further our work on equity, inclusion and justice.

The She Leads Fingal programme was designed and led with 5 prominent local leaders in Fingal. Ayo Yusuf, Geraldine Rooney and Catherine Joyce led the in-person delivery with Lucy.

The Belfast Inequalities research was conducted with a team of 8 peer researchers from the city.

  • Maria Teglas
  • Ezzaldin Thabet
  • Nattassa Latcham
  • Marty Pilkiewicz
  • Mary McDonagh
  • Salwa Al Sharabi
  • Eva Logan
  • Support: Denis Long and Pauline McGarry

The Belfast Inequalities programme was delivered in partnership with ACSONI and POLCA.

Our clients this year in Ireland, the UK and Europe included:

Arts Council of Ireland

Belfast City Council

Church of Ireland

Croí na Gaillimhe SVP Asylum Support Group

Fingal County Council

Galway City Partnership

European Network Against Racism

EU Fundamental Rights Agency

Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC)

Irish Deaf Society

Irish Council of Churches

Irish Network Against Racism

Maynooth University

New Communities Partnership

Policing Authority

University of Galway

From the archives: Race Equality Works for Northern Ireland

In December 2015, Business in the Community in the UK published a major report on racial equality in UK workplaces. While this was an important piece of research, there were some obvious gaps in the Northern Ireland data.

Business in the Community Northern Ireland in partnership with Dr Lucy Michael and Maciek Bator of Craic NI undertook new research to explore the steps Northern Ireland’s employers are taking and the challenges they are facing in identifying and addressing racial inequality in the workplace.

The report Race Equality Works for Northern Ireland highlighted employers’ key considerations when addressing racist exclusion, discrimination, and unconscious bias in the workplace, both for BME staff and for staff considered ‘migrant workers’.

A range of measures were taken to address the race-equality agenda, including making dedicated budgets available for training, interventions and positive reinforcement, and hiring staff experienced in dealing with equality duties.

Organisations that perceived equality efforts as a central part of the human resources function reported higher rates of confidence among staff to address new issues identified and to reflect on workforce planning.

A unique feature of this study was that participants were asked, in interviews, to identify ways in which their own organisation could improve on race-equality efforts, which encourages an incremental approach to moving forward on race equality, while considering time and resources.

Prompts included thinking about ways to draw on past achievements, leveraging strategic opportunities to highlight positive experiences of diversity, or adopting new equality measures.

Obstacles to new activities were time, resources, competing demands in the ‘equality agenda’, and a lack of interest from management.

Most of these activities directly linked to bullying and harassment prevention or resolution, but some also addressed recruitment and selection activities, and a few mentioned interest in addressing promotion or progression.

Just under half of employers suggested that they could monitor ethnic or national identities more widely; however, for organisations with small numbers of BME or foreign-born employees, they were unsure about how to make use of that monitoring data. Almost all employers looked to the Northern Ireland census to benchmark BME participation in their business.

Clear links between diversity and excellence will drive focus and will ensure that efforts to address equality in the workplace are effective and efficient. Strategies should be longer term and should aim to raise awareness, so that you consult staff on their ongoing impact and can evaluate the impact of any strategies implemented. Short-term, strategies can be useful in making a start on race-equality work (particularly if other equality groups are significantly more embedded in the organisation), but they should be a prelude to an established and sufficiently resourced equality strategy.

Business in the Community NI’s Denise Cranston commented: “Progressive employers have, for some time, been integrating equality and diversity initiatives into core business functions, such as organisational strategy and talent-management programmes. But this research shows that they need to do more to achieve greater race and ethnic diversity. Business in the Community fully supports the recommendations in the report and calls upon all employers to commit to taking action in order to take full advantage of the opportunity that migrant and ethnic workers present.”

The results have been used to develop a new toolkit for local employers, sharing steps they can take to improve race equality in the workplace; these include the following:

  • Clearly communicating the value of diversity in an organisation
  • Committing to raising awareness of racial bias
  • Being aware of the wider context of high levels of racism in Northern Ireland, and that it is not the preserve of any particular group
  • Making sense of local demographics and the wider picture of race equality in Northern Ireland
  • Using open and transparent communication, with consultation and feedback being key to understanding how well established the message about diversity is
  • Being confident, knowledgeable and comfortable when talking about racial bias
  • Showcasing success by creating visibility for diverse role models
  • Keeping equality on the table and considering how the value of diversity is reflected in business activities

Download the Report

Inequalities in Belfast – full report

We are happy to say that the report Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller people residing in Belfast, produced for Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Public Health NI, with ACSONI and POLCA, is now available in multiple formats.

Cover of the Research Summary Report

We are happy to say that the report Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller people residing in Belfast, produced for Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Public Health NI, with ACSONI and POLCA, is now available in multiple formats.

Read the Summary Report online 

Download the report:

 Summary to download (from ACSONI website)

Full Report to download (from ACSONI website)

Get a printed copy:

Printed copies of summary in English, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Romanian and Somali available from goodrelations@belfastcity.gov.uk.


Download our infographics to share information from the research report


Inequalities in Belfast

Great media coverage from yesterday for our new report on Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast.

‘Call For Action’ On Inequalities Experienced By Minority Communities | Northern Ireland News, 01/12/2022 (4ni.co.uk)

Belfast’s ethnic minorities face racism, poverty and isolation, report finds – VIEWdigital

Belfast Council report on ethnic inequalities in city a “sobering” read – Belfast Live

Inequalities research should be a `call to action’ – The Irish News

Belfast: ‘People are having to leave their home due to racism’ – BBC News

Belfast’s ethnic minorities face racism and poverty, report finds – BBC News

Launch: Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast

We are very excited to share our new report being launched today at City Hall Belfast.
The report on Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast, was commissioned by Belfast City Council with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency NI. It is the first Council commissioned report of its kind in Belfast.
Our research partners are ACSONI and POLCA.


The research interviews were conducted in English, Arabic, Polish, Romanian, Cantonese and other native languages by a team of peer researchers from minority ethnic and migrant communities in Belfast.


The Executive Summary will be available on the Council website today in multiple languages. The full report PDF will be shared online by research partners and also available on request by email from the Council.