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Last updated: 20 Jul 2021 3:23pm

As part of the University's new Civic Engagement Strategy, learn about the working currently undertaken within the theme of Soicety.

Published Thursday, 13th May, 2021 in University news

City recently unveiled its new plans for a Civic Engagement Strategy to support its engagement activities locally, nationally and globally with the following vision:

Building on City’s charitable roots, we work with and for our vibration and diverse communities to create and share knowledge and skills, strengthen and connect partnerships and enable opportunities in order to enrich and transform lives.

The strategy has been categorised into five themes: Economic prosperity, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Society, and Sustainability.

Within the Society theme, City is aiming to challenge and tackle social inequality and promote the value of diversity through its research, approach to education and institutional cultures and values.

City’s objectives:

  • Positive action to promote diversity and equality in the recruitment of students at all levels from local disadvantaged groups.
  • Pro-active engagement with local communities and schools to widen participation in higher education.
  • Setting up and working on research topics that address key challenges in social inclusion locally.
  • Partnership with local organisations working to tackle social inequality in London.
  • Working with partners to ensure achievement of action plans of external benchmarks relating to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (e.g. Bronze Award from Racial Equality Charter)

Ben Robinson, Community Volunteering Officer, sits on the Civic Engagement Task & Finish Group, and has run City’s Start-Ed Commercial Legal Clinic since 2014, stated:

We can all do this – schools, departments, and individuals – in ways particular to us. Our service-learning initiatives and community volunteering programme share an ethic of service across the student body and amongst colleagues. Our legal clinics teach law students their own value and instil this service ethos in a new generation of lawyers. Our interventions range from broad signposting (referring to other services within City or elsewhere) to representing clients in court during insolvency proceedings.

What it means in practice

Access and Participation Plan

This sets out how City will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from City. Specific plans are being devised around supporting access and outreach, student continuation, student attainment and progression into graduate-level employment. A lot of this work falls under the education theme of the civic engagement strategy.

Implementing City’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

This includes development programmes such as ‘Leadership at City’ or the Aurora leadership development initiative for women. In the past year, City has launched a reciprocal mentoring programme as well as the North London Leadership programme, a new cross-institutional mentoring scheme for BAME colleagues from City and London Metropolitan University.

Helping to combat digital poverty during the pandemic

City’s Widening Participation Outreach team developed learning packs that were distributed through schools and food banks to families impacted by digital poverty, as well as an outreach blog that parents, teachers and students could access to support home learning. The team engages with around 100 schools each year to empower underrepresented learners to access and succeed in higher education, delivering a programme of targeted activities.

Legal clinics

Law students provide a range of services, including free, confidential and independent legal advice on all areas of common law and employment law, in these free legal clinics for local people.


You have the opportunity to volunteer through the community volunteering brokerage system. Additionally, you can choose to set up your own project to meet a need in the wider community.

Girls That Code

Staff in the IT department as well as the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering are working with girls to improve diversity in technology.

Residents’ Forum

City meets with local neighbourhoods twice to a year to update on its activities, address any concerns and hear feedback. City staff also attend other meetings with local residents to work together for the community and to help improve social inclusion.

Hear Me Speak

Journalism students have come together to support and work with at-risk young people to engage in journalism. The projects, in collaboration with Engage London and the Pilion Trust, aim to voice challenges experienced with living in Islington, through various forms of media such as expanding writing skills and different multimedia practices. The theme for the Islington based project is called ‘Hear Me Speak: respectful practice towards authentic young voices in media’.

Expert Women on Air

City’s Department of Journalism monitored the proportion of expert women interviewed on six flagship UK news programmes (2013-8). The underrepresentation of women experts represented caused shock in the industry, with the resulting campaign to ensure women experts were accurately represented resulting in a doubling of female expert participation.

Gender and Sexualities Research Centre

The Centre analyses how gender and sexuality intersect with social divisions and identities and fosters interdisciplinary dialogue, collaboration and research within City and beyond.

Do you think we’re missing anything, either in this theme or the others? Let us know by sharing your views in a short survey.