Portsmouth Environmental Jam
We're working with the Bangladeshi community in Portsmouth as part of a larger programme by the Natural Environment Research Council to make Environmental Science more accessible, diverse and inclusive.
Lack of diversity in the environmental sector
The climate crisis is one of the world’s most pressing issues. It will affect all citizens around the globe. Policymakers are dependent on scientific evidence to support actions that will tackle climate-related issues. To produce the best scientific solutions, we need to ensure diversity within the profession.
Yet the environmental sector was ranked the second least ethnically diverse in the UK in 2007. Bangladeshi heritage students are among the most underrepresented groups in UK universities. This is true of our student community in Portsmouth, despite the Bangladeshi community making up the highest minority of 1.8% of Portsmouth’s total population.
About the project
This project seeks to address the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in environmental science at university level.
We intend to co-create knowledge with the Portsmouth Bangladeshi community to enable the development of effective measures for improving equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) in environmental science, specifically within higher-education (HE).
We also hope to increase the level of interest in environmental science from the Bangladeshi community in Portsmouth.
- Identify perceived barriers and strategies towards enhancing participation in environmental science, specifically within HE.
- Understand the complex relationships that shape Bangladeshi heritage students' pathways towards (or away from) university and their perceptions of environmental science, along with EDI measures seeking to increase diversity in HE.
Co-developing strategiesThrough participatory and creative methods we intend to co-create solutions through knowledge and approaches that support the participation of Bangladeshi heritage students in environmental science. We will gain understanding about what works for this community, what measures would encourage participation in natural sciences and find ways to put this into practice.
Environmental Jam for Bangladeshi students
A one-day Environmental Jam will take place in Portsmouth on Saturday 21 May 2022.
The event is aimed at students of Bangladeshi heritage, aged 13–18, who are studying at schools and colleges in Portsmouth. Our research team will deliver talks at local schools to introduce the project.
These students (along with a parent/guardian) will be invited to attend and enjoy a series of creative activities to explore the local natural environment and environmental science. Free refreshments and a meal will be provided on the day, along with a certificate and £10 gift card for each student to acknowledge their valuable participation in HE research.
The activity-based learning sessions will be led by Seekers Create — a creative social enterprise that is skilled in engaging young people in Portsmouth through creative and participatory heritage trails — and supported by academics from our School of the Environment, Geography and Geoscience.
Focus groups will also be held at the Environmental Jam, facilitated by our academics. Participants will be asked about their experience on the day, their ambitions for the future and whether they would consider studying environmental science.
Follow up interviews will take place approximately two weeks after to gather further qualitative data and in-depth responses.
We have partnered with Seekers Create who are experienced in using creative participatory methods to engage young people in Portsmouth through heritage trails.
The project is also supported by the Bangladeshi community and business groups in the city.
The research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) amounting to £74,904. Our project is part of a larger £1.7m programme by NERC, which aims to make environmental science more diverse, equitable and inclusive.