NETWORK FOR TACKLING ELITISM, CLASSISM, RACISM, AND SEXISM IN OUR KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTIONS
This network aims to eliminate the profoundly entrenched mechanisms of structural elitism, classism, racism and sexism in our knowledge institutions in order to make them welcoming and inclusive spaces for everyone.
Our Belgian research, education and knowledge institutions have great potential to contribute to society, nevertheless, they are profoundly characterized by structural elitism, classism, racism and sexism. This is the shared starting point of our network. By sharing information and best practices, between institutions, language communities and academic disciplines, we hope to lay bare this unjust reality, to better understand how these inequalities manifest themselves and to develop strategies that aim to transform the status quo.
We are committed to thinking about how our knowledge institutions and their financing modes are entrenched in broader exclusionary societal processes, such as patriarchy, capitalism, (neo)-colonialism. We can only begin to rebuild our knowledge institutions, making them accessible to everyone and enabling them to truly serve the whole of society when these different mechanisms are understood and challenged.
As such, our knowledge institutions must also acknowledge their role – past and present – in excluding certain societal groups as well as certain bodies of knowledge. This acknowledgment creates the ground for opening up a space that is safe and welcoming, one in which it is possible to co-create knowledge institutions for a shared and just future.
By bringing together staff from all Belgian research, education and knowledge institutions, who work in different languages, come from different disciplines and have different backgrounds, we aim to extend each other’s understanding by sharing experiences, knowledge and information, which can be strategic action plans about discriminations, diversity and inclusion or more grassroots strategies for change. In addition, through the network, we hope to amplify each other’s projects and aspirations, and to support, affectively and politically, everyone fighting for social justice and who are isolated in their respective institutions.
Our working language is English, but concerns can be expressed in any of the working languages of Belgian research, education and knowledge institutions.
The coordinating committee of our network is composed of staff from a diversity of Belgian knowledge institutions.
We value efficiency but are not willing to sacrifice democracy. As such, participation and inclusion, are fundamental, which means we aim to make decisions, via consensus, that all members (whether precarious, public or strategic) support.