The Society for Italian Studies is actively engaged in a number of activities and initiatives that aim to further embed values of equality, diversity and inclusion amongst our community.

In August 2020, the Society approved the proposal by Dr Emma Bond, current holder of the research portfolio for the SIS, to set up a temporary EDI Working Group. The group met twice over the Autumn of that year in order to identify a set of recommendations for the Society to take forward under the aegis of a new, longer-term Working Group. These recommendations were:

  1. Carry out a diversity audit among undergraduate and taught postgraduate cohorts, research students and staff.
  2. Support staff, faculty and students to produce some short online videos for use in school recruitment that would be specifically tailored to a widening participation agenda. When circumstances allow, provide support for face to face recruitment activities in schools.
  3. Produce more extensive good guidance documents and policies on key practices and topics for members to be made available via the SIS website.
  4. Look into offering some funding to support attendance at SIS conferences and events for scholars from the Global South to encourage connectivity beyond the Anglosphere.
  5. Commit to championing diversity in choice of keynote, guest and plenary speakers at SIS sponsored events.
  6. Create a resources hub on the website to host guidance documents and scholarship on decolonization and diversity work in Italian Studies and work towards making the website look representative of a more diverse, inclusive Italy.
  7. Celebrate excellence and innovation in curriculum reform and/or scholarship through awards or small funding pots from the SIS.

These proposals were shared with the SIS community at the Annual General Meeting in January 2021, and an open call to join the EDI Working Group was launched. The Working Group is composed of 20 active members who concentrate on particular actions over the course of 24 months.

From January to June 2021 we focused activity on recommendations 3-7 in the above list. New guidance documents and policies, as well as information on EDI Excellence Awards and EDI funding for conferences and events can now be found in “Our Policies”.

From September 2021 we will turn our attention to recommendations 1 and 2, and we will also continue work populating “Our Resources” hub.

Any member of the SIS is welcome to join the Working Group and help with these actions. If you would like to join us, please email Claudia (claudia.dellacasa@ucd.ie)  and Katrin (katrin.wehling-giorgi@durham.ac.uk). We are also keen to hear your comments and feedback, which you can send direct to Claudia and Katrin.

Blog posts on decolonisation and diversity