About the 2023 Conference
The conference, taking place on 6-7th September, will provide a collegiate, inclusive forum for critical discussion and exploration of the concept of student engagement and success, with a conference-wide focus on ‘sense of belonging’. In particular, the conference will centre around how the complex notion of belonging is experienced by students and staff from diverse and underrepresented communities and backgrounds in Higher Education Institutions through the sharing and celebration of collaborative research and initiatives from across disciplines.
The conference will encourage participation from all students and staff on an equal footing in the spirit of partnership and co-creation. The atmosphere will be a friendly and cooperative one, that will strive to enhance pedagogical understanding, foster cross-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration, and develop lines of communication and cultures in the space of belonging. The conference will welcome and appreciate the contributions of all members of Higher Education and will aim to support a sense of belonging within the entire sector.
Belonging and Success Research Group at the Univeristy of Leeds
The conference organisers – and the University of Leeds more widely – have a long and successful history of co-creation and partnership with students from a diverse range of backgrounds, including historically under-represented groups. These students work with academic staff on a variety of access and engagement initiatives, gaining vital experience of consulting and working with a variety of marginalised and under-represented groups within the student body, as well as sharing their own experiences to support development of initiatives across our campus, helping to ensure that conference themes, organisation and design are relevant, timely, and accessible to the widest possible community.
The conference will reflect the ethos of these wider student engagement initiatives at the University of Leeds, all of which have benefitted from partnership with the student body and which have been embedded in the student education culture. These include Curriculum Redefined – an ambitious project to embed (amongst other things) success and belonging, authentic assessment, and global citizenship at the heart of the student experience; the innovative Access and Student Success Strategy; and the student-focused work of the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence, not least the funded opportunity for students to be active researchers in Educational Engagement.
According to Royel Johnson, “Student sense of belonging is a basic human need […] critical for optimal learning, development, and student success.” Yet “racist and oppressive institutional structures […] coalesce in othering and unbelonging.” This conference encourages reflective, critical perspectives on belonging interventions that truly increase engagement and deliver equitable success for all students.
How we are running the RAISE Annual Conference differently in 2023:
Hybrid Conference Attendance and Presentations
The post-pandemic conference is ever evolving and this year we are delighted to be running the conference in a hybrid model, where we will be welcoming both in-person and online delegates and presenters, supported by the University of Leeds. Our ambition is to create an accessible conference experience for delegates unable to attend physically where we will work with our delegates and volunteers to create an inclusive community.
A vegetarian conference
Additionally, the RAISE Conference’s refreshments and lunches will all be vegetarian to support sustainability agendas and dietary requirements.
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