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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

Diversity PIE in Leeds

In February we launched our Diversity PIE pilot programme at Leeds Co-Op Academy, focusing on racial and ethnic diversity. This is a six-week programme which has been designed to give students a safe space to explore different backgrounds, question stereotypes and discuss the challenges ethnic minorities may face. It encompasses all five slices of PIE, but has a large focus on community cohesion.

Here is a whistlestop tour from Munji of what the group has covered in the last 6 weeks:

We started off by playing some games such as Diversity Bingo, getting to know each other and the types of diversity that exist in the group. I couldn’t believe how many of the young people spoke 3 or more languages and that none of them had visited France! We then looked at our similarities, where I paired individuals together and encouraged them to find things in common with each other; Netflix shows, ice cream flavours and parents were popular commonalities!

Every week, we had a cuisine of the week, where I sourced cultural food and drinks chosen by the students. I kick started this with Indian food that I have grown up with and encouraged the young people to try a bit of everything and give me their frank opinions. I loved their openness, honesty and respect when they listened to my stories of how this food and drink had been embedded in my childhood! We also tried Romanian and African snacks during the course of the programme too – these were a big hit!

The next part of the programme was all about developing the group’s self-esteem, pride and confidence in relation to their own identities. The presentations were one of my favourite parts of the programme and it was so refreshing seeing a group of young people asking mature questions to/about each other!

We continued with the digital skill building by then producing digital content to help educate others. The group were given complete control over the subject and form of their digital content, and they didn’t disappoint. I saw stop motions dismantling stereotypes about black people, posters explaining why stereotypes about Romania are wrong/harmful and animations about Africa.

We ended the programme with a hard hitting conversation about racism and a frank conversation about why people are racist and how the young people could complete small actions to help eradicate racism. Their mature and thoughtful responses showed how far we had come in the 6 weeks and we celebrated by playing Diversity Trivia in the form of Kahoots created by the young people themselves.

I can’t wait for their trip to Manchester in May where we will be going on a cultural food tour of Manchester and seeing the diversity that exists in the city centre!

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