Decolonising the Institution

15 January 2018 | 7pm – 8.30pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free and open to the public, no booking necessary but please arrive 15min prior to the start time and wait in the Dyson Building Café.

A roundtable discussion hosted by the RCA Students' Union, with Danah Abdulla, Tanveer Ahmed, Hannah Catherine Jones and Lola Olufemi. Chaired By Rathna Ramanathan.

Are we tackling structural inequalities within the institution or ignoring them? How can we incorporate forms of knowledge beyond Western philosophy? Can we do more to engage with ethnic minority and working-class communities within London? Does the RCA work with or against manifestations of racism, marginalisation and inequality? What can we actively do to decolonise the RCA?

In this roundtable discussion, we will discuss decolonisation within the RCA whilst looking to institutions such as SOAS and Cambridge University who are leading the charge to fundamentally challenge the White Male Western dominance of education within the UK.

Danah Abdulla is a Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures course at the London College of Communication. She completed her PhD in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the Founder, Creative Director and Editor of Kalimat Magazine and a founding member of the Decolonising Design research group (

Tanveer Ahmed is a visiting tutor in CHS Fashion and Textiles at the RCA as well as a PhD student whose research focuses on decolonising fashion design. Tanveer also runs a Black/Women of Colour Feminist Reading group at the RCA.

Hannah Catherine Jones is a London-based artist, researcher, radio presenter, composer, conductor, and founder of the Peckham Chamber Orchestra. Hannah is a PHD candidate at the University of Oxford exploring the relationship between Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism and Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk.

Lola Olufemi is the Cambridge University Students' Union Women's Officer and author of an open letter to academics in the English department calling for more black and ethnic minority authors to be studied on the course, interpreted by The Telegraph as “Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors”.

Dr Rathna Ramanathan is the head of programme for Visual Communication at the RCA. She is an international graphic design practitioner and researcher known for her expertise in intercultural communication design and typography, as well as nonmainstream and experimental publishing practices. Through her studio Minus9 Design, Rathna has worked with a range of clients from the BBC to UNICEF India.