Student fellows

Our student fellows are the best people that you can’t wait to meet and hire and change the world.

Image credit: 350, CC BY-NC-SA

Malcolm Richards

I’m a doctoral researcher with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter. My interest in decoloniality relates to emergent research which articulates a living history of critical dialogue and dialogic teaching from across Black communities. I used to be a teacher, senior leader, and local authority advisor in England and Wales schools. I’ve written essays, chapters and co-edited books. My most recent is Beyond The Blockade: Education in Cuba (2020: co-editor) – which includes essays by UK Black educators observing educational realities for Afro-Cuba in Havana and Pinar del Rio. I also like singing, dancing to roots reggae, UK Garage and Jungle while cooking ital food. I live in Devon with my wife and two daughters.

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Neha Shaji

Hi, I’m Neha and I’m a postgraduate researcher with the English and Film Department! My interests within decolonisation involve the restructured classroom space which I see as an area with decolonial potential: of an equivalent exchange of knowledge. My academic pursuits involve world literature and cinema, with my PhD research focusing primarily on South Asian queer representations. I’ve attempted to involve myself in decolonial pursuits including organising events through student representation roles since 2018, and believe that pedagogical and epistemological decoloniality is only enough when in tandem with the physical decolonisation of the university space. I also like amusing earrings and portrait painting!

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Riadh Ghemmour

Azul Fellawen (Hello in Kabyle language)

السلام عليكم (Asalam Alaykum)

I am Riadh Ghemmour, a doctoral researcher in the field of education. My broad interests include: critical theories in education, students’ experiences in writing MA education dissertations, Indigenous methodologies and decolonisation. I am also a Student Fellow at Exeter Decolonising Network, with a focus on decolonising research methods curriculum at the Graduate School of Education (GSE, UoE). I am also the co-founder and a co-editor at Decolonial Dialogues shared space. My approach towards decolonisation is grounded in ethics of care and a paradigm of co-existence to embrace pluriversal forms of knowledge within and beyond the academy.

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Madiha Abbas

Hello! My name is Madiha Abbas and I am an undergraduate studying Geography BSc. Originally belonging to Pakistan, I have lived life in both the East and the West. Through this, I have earned a clear understanding of how colonialism has shaped the lives of several. I believe the effects of colonialism have been too often ignored or displaced onto the logics of modernisation and world capitalism. I also believe that education is key to looking past such logics – forming and articulating anti-colonial thought. As my fellow colleague on this project Neha, states, ‘students are not just integral to the process of academic decolonisation but rather active potential participants within it’. Hence, like most of my fellows – I want to use the project as a vehicle to create, promote and further develop decolonial thought and practise, especially within my department. I also aim to not only be a keyboard warrior and want to make an actual difference in the world.

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Hanife Hursit

Hi! I am Hanife, a third year History student. I am passionate about decolonising the history curriculum and believe that empowering students individually will encourage decolonisation within the wider university community. Alongside my academic pursuits, I have co-founded a creative arts network entitled ‘The Creative Switch’ (@creativeswitchexeter), which spotlights BIPOC creatives, their work, and their experiences at university. This was originally inspired by my work on tackling existing issues of diversity within Exeter’s creative circles alongside other facilitators at ‘Opening Up Exeter’ (@openingupexeter). I have also recently started a student-led podcast named ‘The Minority Effect’ (@minority_effect) which sheds light on different as well as shared experiences of minority groups across different UK institutions.

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Clara El-Akiki

I am Clara, a 4th Year Arabic and Islamic Studies student. I am deeply interested in languages and the social sciences, with a specific focus on the South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) region. The questions that shape my work are grounded in resisting established norms of knowledge production.  This year, I am involved in ‘The Roots Resistance, a project seeking to challenge the established norm of information absorption and distribution at the University of Exeter and beyond. In creating a platform for BIPOC creatives at Exeter and financially compensating their efforts, The Roots Resistance aims to forge a space for present and future BIPOC talents, hoping to create a community invested in ensuring the sites of knowledge production are accessible and available for all.

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Finlay Carroll

Hi! My name is Finlay and I am a third year English & Drama student. I first became aware of Exeter Decolonising Network through my involvement in Opening Up. This movement sought to facilitate overdue conversations about the inclusivity and sustainability of student arts. Soon, it became impossible to ignore the structural issues lying beneath the questions we were asking about extracurricular theatre at Exeter. Working as a student research fellow is a new and challenging experience for me, yet I am excited to explore the possibilities and limitations of performance in imagining a decolonised world.

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Asha Ali

Hi, I’m Asha, a third year Middle Eastern Studies student. I am a mature student, I started my quest for education in 2015. Prior to coming to University, I worked at Dartington Social Research Unit, as an Innovation Specialist, at my time there I co-founded a social enterprise called 3Hadvisor (3H), the aim of 3H was to shift power balance, making services accountable to the young people that they served, moving away from systematic model and putting relationships at the core. This year I am part of ‘The Roots Resistance’, a multimedia platform that seeks to not only challenge the established norms but also highlights the multitude of talents held by BIPOC at the university and beyond! Academically, I am interested in looking at anti-blackness and racism within the Muslim community, looking at the multilayers of racism faced by Black Muslims in the U.K.

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Rhea Agarwal

Hi, I’m Rhea and I am a final year undergraduate student studying Law. My interest in understanding and questioning colonialism developed from an early stage while studying history in high school – which inclined me to working towards the absolute necessity of decolonizing the curriculum for future generations. Education is the foundation of intellectually developing such ideas and understanding issues with a diverse and open mindset rather than one which is biased or one sided. These issues were further highlighted rather prominently while studying for my law degree and this project has provided me with the opportunity to help the promotion of decolonial thought and process, along with reaching out to those currently struggling with similar issues. Additionally, I also do pro bono projects and fundraising events for charities such as WaterAid. 

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