Celebrating Diversity Day 2016 was an event held by the University on the 9th of March 2016, in which was opened by the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Carole Swarbrick. The University’s Pro Vice Chancellor Baroness Warsi said ”It doesn’t matter where you come from, or where you are going, Bolton will allow you to believe. The event gave staff and students an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into groups with differing characteristics but to also engage with and take part in different activities/events such as the discussion that took place in the afternoon. Guests were invited to discuss the topic for this year which was Unconscious Bias, looking at the impact that unconscious bias has on equality and diversity with a particular reference to mental health. A further session was also held for both academic and professional services colleagues, this session concentrated on communicating positive approaches to working with dyslexia and also tools which can be used for working with students with dyslexia. The session was lead by Chathurika Kannagara who is a PhD student at the University of Bolton, researching dyslexia and positive psychology. She has already published a number of papers in distinguished journals.
In the Library was a display of preliminary photographs ‘’We are Bolton’’ recording life in Bolton through individuals and places and an exhibition ‘’Disability Discrimination Act: Celebrating 20 years’’ previously displayed at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
In the early afternoon visitors were given the opportunity to visit different stands which were held in the Student Learning Zone to inform others of their culture or specific group, this included a Chinese chopstick demonstrations, henna hand painting and a bread stand where guests were given the opportunity to try different breads from around the world. Other stands included the George House Trust, Lancashire FA-Kick it out campaign (Racism and homophobia in sport), Students’ Union LGBT Society and many more. A competition for school children was also held in which children were able to submit pieces of art of what they thought represented diversity in their community.
Throughout the event there where several speakers and performers on the stage in the Student Learning Zone, this included a demonstration of african dancing, Essa Academy and their drummers, Dr. Ana L Borges Da Costa lead Portugese Circle Dancing along with two visiting poets an the themes of equality and diversity. Overall the event was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how diverse our community is and to raise awareness of several cultural issues.