Liberating Our Curriculum: Diversity in Class Resources


Dr. Deborah Custance, Academic Director of TaLIC and Senior Lecturer at Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, reflects on diversity in class resources. This is the first reflection in a series of cases looking at inclusive teaching.

I was lecturing on comparative psychology a few years ago and presenting one of those images of monkeys evolving through to apes, early hominids and modern humans. A student raised her hand and asked, “Why are these pictures always of white men?” It got a really interesting discussion going about these kinds of illustrations.

human evolution black to white
Image source

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 13.37.28Afterwards, I was thinking about this discussion and took a look at the slides from a number of lectures. I was shocked to see that nearly all the images containing people were of Caucasians. I realised why as soon as I started to try and swap out some of my images for more widely inclusive photos. I usually just conduct Google image searches when preparing lecture slides. When I looked for images to illustrate my lecture on the evolution of parenting, I had to scroll quite far down to find anything other than white, heterosexual parents. Ever since, I have been much more mindful with respect to the kinds of images I select.

What I have learned:

Consider the images you select for lecture slides and make sure that they are not by default dominated by white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied subjects.

Further Resources

Fiarman, S. A. (2016). Unconscious bias: When good intentions aren’t
enough. Educational Leadership, 74(3), 10-15.
Guo, S., & Jamal, Z. (2007). Nurturing cultural diversity in higher education: A critical review of selected models. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(3), 27-49.


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