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BERA Announces the 2023 Equality in Education Award recipient

The BERA Equality in Education Award recognizes an individual whose work has sought to address wider issues of inequality and discrimination in education.  The nominee’s work will not only have advanced issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in a local and/or national and/or international context, but there is evidence that this work has contributed towards creating sustainable structural change in systems and structures that perpetuate inequality and discrimination.

This year marks the first time this honour has been awarded and the BERA judging panel were pleased to receive a significant quantity of impressive nominations.

BERA is delighted to announce that the 2023 BERA Equality in Education Award recipient is:

Professor Vini Lander, Leeds Beckett University.

As one of the supporting nominations said, Vini Lander “has demonstrated an unwavering focus on social justice seeking to transform education for a more racially just education system. This quest has always been enacted with an ethos of collaboration evinced in her many joint research projects and publications, and her steadfast commitment to mentoring people of colour.” BERA is enormously honoured that Vini is the inaugural recipient of this award.

Vini Lander is Professor of Race and Education and Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED) in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University. She is also Visiting Professor of Race and Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University.  Professor Lander’s research focuses on race, ethnicity and education. She uses critical race theory as a theoretical framework to examine race inequalities in education, specifically in teacher education. 

The persistence of educational inequality based on race from early years to higher education has spurred Vini to educate teachers to think beyond the status quo, which may perpetuate these inequalities and to understand why they persist. Teachers make a valuable contribution to children’s educational experiences and journeys and teachers deserve better preparation to teach in a racially diverse society.  This has been Professor Lander’s guiding principle throughout her career in teacher education. Vini challenges students to think differently, supporting them to find ways to act to make a difference in their schools and classrooms.  Professor Lander’s inspirational teaching was recognised with the award of a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE) in 2014.  

Professor Lander’s research focus primarily on race and teacher education examining pre-service teachers’ attitudes to race and the recruitment of racially minoritized candidates to initial teacher education and training (ITE/T).  Professor Lander’s research highlights how the white space of ITE/T serves to embed and reproduce predominantly white curricula and practices which perpetuate the dominance of whiteness.  Her research with colleagues in Spain indicates similar patterns of cultural dominance within ITE/T despite the expressed needs of student teachers in Spain and England to know more about teaching in racially diverse contexts.  Vini Lander has also undertaken research on the mandate to promote fundamental British values within ITE/T.   A policy which positioned students from Black and global majority heritage groups, especially those of Muslim faith, as suspect others who were subject to greater surveillance and scrutiny in schools and universities. Professor Lander’s research also examines the lived experiences of teacher educators of colour in the UK and abroad. Their marginalisation and slow rate of career progress highlights the depth of work required to address racial inequity in ITE/T.

In 2022, in collaboration with Professor Heather Smith at Newcastle University, Professor Lander launched the Anti-Racism Framework for Initial Teacher Education and Training.  This was followed by a successful Framework conference in March 2023 attended by over 100 teacher educators.  The Framework has already had an impact on ITE/T practice and recently Professor Lander delivered a seminar about the Framework and the underpinning research for teacher educators in Japan.  The Framework is designed to instigate change in teacher education curricula, placement practices and ITE/T management to address evident racial inequity in teacher education.

Professor Lander has been commissioned by schools to undertake research on the rise of racism.  Over the last four years Professor Lander has worked with over 100 organisations to develop anti-racist knowledge, understanding and practices.  Professor Lander wrote the CRED Anti-racist Schools Award which now has over 120 schools participating to become anti-racist institutions for the betterment of their students, staff and communities.  In addition, CRED has launched two anti-racist school networks in the cities of Leeds and Liverpool.  Professor Lander is pivotal in the work taking place within these networks.  In addition, organisations such as the Race Equality Foundation have commissioned CRED to conduct a literature review related to the impact of Covid on the educational progress of racially minoritized students.  

Through her research and work with practitioners Professor Lander has made a tangible difference to how schools and higher education institutions address racial inequalities in a quest to establish greater racial equity.

Professor Lander will be presented with her award at the BERA 2023 Awards Ceremony on November 8, 2023 in London. BERA members can register to attend here

Professor Vini Lander

Profile picture of Vini Lander
Vini Lander, Professor

Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality at Leeds Beckett University

Vini Lander is Professor of Race and Education and Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED) in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University. She is also Visiting Professor of Race and Education at...