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Equality conference

Equality groups conference

8 September 2021

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 2023 will be held at Manchester INNSiDE Hotel from Thursday 16 November - Saturday 18 November.  All conferences will be held in a hybrid format using Zoom. 

The convening notice for the conference has been issued in branch circular UCU2097

Delegates must register before the deadline of Tuesday 17 October

Register Here

The conference will hold four separate half-day conferences for migrant, LGBT+, women, black & disabled members, and a plenary session for all equality strands. Not all delegates will need to be at the conference for the full three days.  

Thursday 16 November, 09:30 - 13:00 - Disabled Members' Annual Conference

Thursday 16 November  14:00 - 17:30 Women Members' Annual Conference

There will be a dinner for all delegates attending from all strands on Thursday evening from 19:30.

Friday  17 November, 09:30 - 13:00: plenary session 

Friday 17 November, 14:00 - 17:30 Black Members' Annual Conference

Saturday 18 November 09:30 - 13:00 Migrant Members' Annual Conference

Saturday 18 November 14:00 - 17:30 LGBT+ Members' Annual Conference

Notes on previous conferences

Equality groups conference 2022 

The conference held at Conference Aston from  Thursday 8 December - Saturday 10 December 2022.

UCU's equality groups conference 2021 was held online using Zoom from 2 - 4 December 2021.

The conference includes five separate half-day conferences for black*, disabled, LGBT+, migrant and women members, and a plenary session for all equality strands.

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.

Migrant members' standing committee

At UCU congress 2019, it was agreed to establish a migrant members standing committee as part of the UCU equality structures. The two national executive committee (NEC) seats for migrant members were also created. From autumn 2020, the migrant members' conference will be part of the annual equality groups' conference. Please contact UCU press office for further information or advice.

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

*UCU uses the term 'black' in a political sense to refer to people who are descended, through one or both parents, from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia (the middle-East to China) and Latin America. It refers to those from a visible minority who have a shared experience of oppression. The word is used to foster a sense of solidarity and empowerment.

Last updated: 5 September 2023