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Decolonizing Graduate Careers


16:30 - 17:30

Online Workshop Series 2023

Decolonizing Graduate Careers
Image:, Vojetech Bruzek

Organised by Lilian Trechsel, Laurenzia Karrer and Camilla Steinböck, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern

Decolonizing existing structures challenges us to find new ways of thinking and acting decolonially in academia. In this workshop, we will discuss a concrete decolonizing strategy framework from Olivia U. Rutazibwa (2018) as a working tool. Along our empirical data from the "IGS North-South Tracer Study 2022 - Decolonizing Graduate Careers" we will discuss three steps:

1. De-mythologize: reflecting on new starting points for our narratives. The first step in the study was to challenge the brain gain/drain narrative as a Eurocentric narrative of Europe as a place where one would want to stay after graduation. Our study shows new narratives that assign value to home countries as a place to live and produce knowledge and highlights neo-colonial barriers to the free circulation of knowledge.

2. De-silence: Understanding the barriers and power structures of silence. As a second step, the study aimed to identify how alumni with different social positions and identities, and with different kinds of knowledge, are perceived and how hegemonic white-patriarchal frameworks can influence alumni work position, publication opportunities and movement in academia.

3. De-colonize: Questioning the goals and strategies of the own programme. The third step analyses and reflects the structures and aims of the graduate programme itself by asking which and whose knowledge production it serves and what knowledge it cultivates.

By sharing our implementation of Rutazibwas framework, we aim to a) demonstrate a starting point for decolonizing structures and b) create learning moments for ourselves and the guests of the workshop. Each of the three blocks will contain a very brief presentation of the results from our study as well as a reflection phase.

Finally, we would like to discuss in a participatory and reflective way, how we can move from the revealed power structures between global South and global North to possible actions for decolonizing academic structures.


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Languages: English