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Equality conference

Equality groups conference

UCU's annual equality conference combines a joint equality conference for black, disabled, LGBT+, migrant and women members as well as dedicated sessions for the five constituencies, joint sessions, various workshops and guest speakers.

Annual equality conference

UCU's Equality Groups Conference 2020 will be held on line from Thursday 3 - Saturday 5 December.

Delegates must register before the deadline of Monday 16 November.

The conference will hold five separate half-day conferences for black, disabled, LGBT+, migrant and women members, and a plenary session for all equality strands. To attend any of the five equality groups, delegates must self-identfy to that particular group.

Thursday 3 December, 10:00 - 13:00 Migrant members' conference

Thursday 3 December, 14:00 - 17:00 Women members' conference

Friday 4 December 10:00 - 13:00: plenary session 

Focussed on building a shared equality agenda for the future, this session will reflect on concerns arising from the Covid-19 crisis and consider how to  put equality at the heart of UCU's work to build a  fairer education system for the future.

Friday 4 December, 14:00 - 17:00 Disabled members' conference

Saturday 5 December 10:00- 13:00 LGBT+ members' conference

Saturday 4 December 14:00 - 17:00 Black members' conference


Equality groups conference 2019

The 2019 conference was held in Birmingham from 21 November - Saturday 23 November  and included half-day conferences for each of the four equality strands, and a plenary session on 'othering' which marginalises and devalues people based on their protected characteristic or class. This was followed by a session on how to progress equal pay claims in the workplace and identifying pay gaps for different equality groups.

Speakers for this session include:  

  • Michael Braithwaite (Windrush campaigner and lived experience)
  • Sam Heyes: need for trans inclusion (Essex University)
  • Claire Sosienski Smith, (Vice President for HE)
  • Zamzam Ibrahim (NUS President)
  • Dr Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary


Important   Migrant Members' Standing Committee

At Congress 2019, it was agreed to establish a Migrant Members Standing Committee as part of the UCU equality structures. The two National Executive Committee seats for migrant members will be elected as part of the NEC elections that will take place in the autumn (election results in March 2020). A migrant members' conference to establish priorities and to elect the other 10 places to the committee will take place in the next year. This is to enable the committee and priorities to be established with the two NEC representatives in place. From Autumn 2020, the migrant members' conference will be part of the general equality groups conference.

Further information will be issued in the Friday email and be on the website. Please contact UCU press office for further information or advice.

Notes on previous conferences

Equality conference 2018

The 2018 conference was held in Manchester from 29 November - 1 December 2018 in Manchester, and included half-day conferences for each of the four equality strands, and a plenary session on exploring the rise of the populist right in Western Europe and North America, with reference to class politics, the politics of hate, austerity, the hostile environment and our own identity. Speakers included: Moyra Samuels, Justice4Grenfell; Peter Purton, a trade union champion for disability and LGBT rights and author; and Omar Khan, Director of the Runnymede Trust. There was also a short session with Jo Seery from Thompsons Solicitors on running a discrimination case.

Equality conference 2017

The 2017 conference  took place in Birmingham from 23-25 November.  The conference included the four equality strands, plenary session on organising and campaigning through the prism of intersectionality. This session will discussed how we address the issue of intersectionality in how we organise and campaign. It will also discuss class inequality and the move by the Scottish Parliament to bring in the socio-economic duty which has not be enacted as part of the Equality Act in the UK. Speakers were Kalwant Bhopal: Professor of Education and Social Justice  Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of the Equality Trust.

There were FE & HE workshops delivered by Andrew Harden (UCU head of further education) and Paul Bridge (UCU head of higher education).

Equality conference 2016

The 2016 conference took place in Birmingham from 1-3 December. The conference included conferences for the four equality groups and a plenary for session opened by Vicky Knight, UCU vice-president. The session was based on 'supporting members after Brexit' and discussed the rise in racism and xenophobia since the EU referendum, the immigration issues that may face our members and the potential impact on equality and employment rights. 

Sector specific workshops were held and delivered by Andrew Harden (UCU head of further education) and Paul Bridge (UCU head of higher education).

Speakers included Dawn Livingston, Organiser with HOPE not hate, Sally Brett, Senior Policy Officer, TUC and Kirsten Forkert, UCU member at Birmingham City University, Malia Bouattia, NUS president, Cooper Bates, Leeds City College, Trish Fay, Durham teaching assistant & Sara Tomlinson, NUT.

Equality conference 2015 

This conference was held over 3 days at the View Hotel in Eastbourne.  The conference included equality strand session, workshops and guest speakers. More information can be found in circular UCU685.html.

Equality conference 2014

The conference was held over three days at the Manchester Centre. The conference incorporated all the equality strands and a plenary session that had speeches from UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, TUC senior equality officer, Sally Brett, Nathaniel Coleman, UCU with a question and answer session. More information can be found in circular UCU605.html

For more information please contact UCU's Equality Administrator

Last updated: 7 September 2020