#thisiswhoiam – UC Diversity Fest 2017

Building on the success of UC Diversity Week 2015, UC held a Diversity Festival from 17 July to 11 August 2017. Diversity Fest 2017 was co-created with students and staff to ensure broad appeal and prominence of its key messages: we aspire to be a community were people treat one another with respect and dignity, despite our differences.

The festival was an opportunity to celebrate and embrace the individuals that make up our UC community. It was a special time to highlight who we are, what unites us and what challenges us. The festival created spaces and opportunities to talk about important issues that influence our present and future selves as students, staff, and leaders in the community including equity, respect, inclusion, and belonging.

We set the ground by inviting students and staff to complete a survey in April 2017. A total of 197 responses were collected and analysed. The results showed a preference for events spread over more than one week. Respondents supported a range of topics combining social and educational opportunities for learning, discussion and fun. It was also important for activities to be accessible to people on different timetables and with various commitments.

The final programme included 26 events, an interactive billboard, privilege walk activations in each campus library and a diversity film series showcasing different films every Friday evening. Our most popular events were the Night Food Market and Femsoc Comedy Night. Talks on a variety of topics including autism, intersectionality, and casual racism were also well attended. The final week of the festival was dedicated to Wairua Week – a celebration of faith and spirituality in all its forms.

A special thanks to our sponsors, UCSA and UC Foundation, and to our co-creators the UC students and UCSA club members! The University is committed to bringing more Diversity events to UC throughout the academic year. If you’d like to contribute an idea, or get hands-on with the events next year please email student-success@canterbury.ac.nz