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The Big Read 2020

Introduction from the Vice Chancellor

Welcome to Sheffield Hallam University’s Big Read 2020.

This year, we have chosen ‘Natives’ by Akala for Sheffield Hallam’s Big Read. We invite all our students and staff to read it. ‘Natives’ is an important, engaging, and above all challenging book by a provocative author.

‘Natives’ sets out powerful and wide-ranging arguments to help us understand inequality in the UK. It explores racism and the ongoing legacy of an appalling history of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, discrimination and prejudice – making a strong case about why we need to confront that legacy.

Akala’s clarity of voice, sharp analysis, and personal experience will make you think, question, and reflect. I hope it will also prompt you to talk about racism and to consider what action you can take as an individual to be actively anti-racist, and what action we can take collectively as a university to combat racial injustice.

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to social justice and to creating opportunities. Neither racism nor intolerance of any kind have a place in our community. Like all institutions, there are challenges and we need to do more.

I am proud of the diversity of our student body. We are working on improving diversity in the curriculum and closing gaps in outcomes. I want people to be able to call out inequality when it is experienced or witnessed. I want anyone – regardless of who they are – who comes to Sheffield Hallam to be able to study, work, and thrive - to truly feel they belong.

You may not find this book an easy read. It is challenging and provocative. Reading this book and talking about racism will help us work together to eradicate prejudices in our community and to act as a beacon of social justice.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands