In this episode, Dr. Nini Fang, lecturer in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences, and Associate Director for the Centre of Creative-Relational Inquiry at The University of Edinburgh, shares her tumultuous, personal experience of delivering classes on racism and colonisation at an English university. This episode and blog post accompany our July-August ‘Hot Topic’: “Lessons from the Learning and Teaching Conference 2021“.
In the second episode of our Learning and Teaching Conference series, Nini Fang gives an intimate retelling of her experience about getting in trouble as a university lecturer after delivering sessions on racism and decolonisation on a ‘Difference and Diversity’ course. When organising the course, Nini read Reni Eddo-Lodge’s “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” and found herself affected by a story about the author’s close encounters with colonialism at university. Unbeknownst to Nini, Reni’s story would go on to haunt her many experiences of attempting to deliver antiracist education.
Nini then jumps into her story and brilliantly chooses to tell it in the third person, eliciting the feeling of being in the room during this tense experience while creating space for empathy. Her story also poses large questions: What role does endurance play in an antiracist curriculum? How does one walk the line of educating students on decolonisation and antiracism when these lessons may recontextualise some students’ identities while being familiar and deeply personal to other students? And how does one manage the divide that may emerge from these differing dispositions?
Endurance is not quiet acceptance, but the sense of waiting, of opening out oneself to the possibility that really looking into the gaze of the other might alert one to something that one did not already know. Something radically new.
– Nini Fang
This episode serves as a rare behind-the-scenes look at the experience of a university lecturer attempting to get collaborative reflection about racism and colonisation, and the unjust fallout which results. At Teaching Matters, we celebrate Nini sharing her story at the 2021 Learning and Teaching Conference, and appreciate her allowing it to be translated into this gripping podcast episode.
2:04 – Episode specific introduction
3:10 – Nini’s story
20:55 – Outro of episode
Dr Nini Fang
Nini Fang is a lecturer in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences at Edinburgh. Her work foregrounds lived experiences, examining how the socio-political bears upon the personal-subjective. Her teaching pushes for a more politically sensitive curriculum that addresses social inequality in the consulting room. She is a Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council. She sits on the Executive Board for the Association for Psychosocial Studies, the Editorial Board for New Associations (British Psychoanalytic Council). She is also the Associate Director for the Centre of Creative-Relational Inquiry (UoE)
Produced and Edited by:
Eric is a Mathematics and Statistics student at The University of Edinburgh, and a podcasting intern for Teaching Matters. Eric is passionate about university student mental health, interviewing researchers for the Student Mental Health Research Network at King’s College London, leading the University of Edinburgh’s WellComm Kings Peer Support Scheme, and conducting research on stigma for People With Mental Illnesses (PWMI). In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing sports, over-analysing hip-hop songs, podcasts, and any sort of wholesome shenanigans.