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Research project

Confident to talk

Project overview

This project seeks to understand the reasons behind low rates of reporting racial discrimination from racially minoritized students at the University of Southampton during course placements (mainly NHS), and what can be done to improve both rates of reporting, and bring about an environment of zero tolerance towards racist discrimination in the workplace.

The project stems from concerns around reporting of racial discrimination in course placements in Health Sciences. This elicited the question as to why this was the case. A number of reasons were shared by students with lived experience: i) fear that they would not be listened to; ii) they considered the incident too small or insignificant to report (although it impacted them); iii) they thought the complaint needed to be written or voiced formally; iv) they didn’t want the repercussions of reporting such an incident.

It is frustrating to see that minoritized students continue to suffer racism and discrimination, and yet have no mechanisms and seemingly afraid to hold people and institutions accountable for failing to make work spaces safe for these students. We want to see change in this, and this project is, therefore, a small step in this process of change.

This project is important because currently ethnic minority students (UK-based Black and South-Asian students, as well as Asian students from overseas, present in the above-mentioned seminar) clearly feel they do not have a safe place to share their experiences about placement. This is despite 24% of staff levels within the NHS being ethnically diverse. Yet, University of Southampton students who participated in this seminar did not feel comfortable reporting these experiences via the NHS route either.


Other researchers

Dr Julie Vullnetari

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Linking migration to development
  • Older people in migration and development
  • Critical border studies
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