Understanding our history

Earlier this month, participants from Connecting Diverse Voices mutual mentoring programme (CDV) attended an engaging training session led virtually by Paul Davis from the Home Office. 

CDV logo

Paul’s session was inspired by Black History Month and his desire to promote an inclusive approach to UK history. He spoke eloquently about our connection through diversity and how anti-racism is a topic which affects everyone. 

Paul said:

“‘Understanding Our History’ encapsulates the importance of reflecting on the past; it is about appreciating our collective history to shine a light for the future.”

Busting myths and reflecting on progress

The session busted common myths about UK history and highlighted the multi-ethnic origins of our language, music, food, business and overall society. Paul uncovered a series of eye-opening facts on inventions by black, asian and minority ethnic individuals, including the three-system traffic light and the elevator, to appliances we use daily. Paul emphasised that many cultures continue to enrich our society with vibrancy, colour and ingenuity.  

The session reflected on the progress in equality including breakthrough anti-discrimination laws of 1965, the Equality Act of 2010 and the ongoing advancement to make the Civil Service the most inclusive employer in the UK by 2025. 

Anti-racism is for everyone

Paul provided the following key takeaways on how we can all be more anti-racist:

  1. Educate yourself and others through a variety of books, films and documentaries.
  2. Be an ally – support all colleagues of colour by becoming aware of any micro-incivilities.
  3. Anti-racism is about learning – accept you will get it wrong sometimes,
  4. Learn to ask the right questions.
  5. Fight racism wherever you find it.

Reflections from participants 

Rob Hall, Deputy Director of Communications, Home Office:

“This pacy, interactive session connected a number of important ideas about diversity, bias and how history is told. There was also practical action and challenge to help participants consider anti racism practice and reflect on their own positive contribution.”

Rikki Holt, Communications Manager, Competitions and Markets Authority

“The session is an illuminating eye-opener into parts of history that are not taught as widely as they should. This is a session with education in mind. It gives a firm reminder about why to obtain equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace we need to understand the historical experiences of our colleagues of colour.”

Laura Dolphin, Head of Points-Based Immigration System Communications, Home Office:

“This session broke down barriers in engaging with our shared history and brought fun to the process of considering bias in our storytelling. It provided an open and engaging forum to encourage participants to reflect on their role in anti-racism practice.”

Connecting Diverse Voices 

Connecting Diverse Voices (CDV) is a mutual mentoring programme that seeks to increase the diversity of voices at the senior levels of the Government Communication Service through building impactful mentoring relationships, focusing on prioritised areas of diversity and inclusion.

To apply for the 2021 programme, please contact the CDV team

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  • Connecting Diverse Voices team (1)