Oxford College is revealing the identities of greater than 20 folks whose portraits will probably be placed on show to attempt to promote larger “variety”.
It needs to redress the steadiness from the college’s partitions being lined with photos of “lifeless white males” by including extra girls and ethnic minorities.
The portraits embody broadcasters Dame Esther Rantzen and Reeta Chakrabarti.
Oxford’s head of equality Trudy Coe stated it was “sending a sign”.
This commissioning of portraits is without doubt one of the largest initiatives by the college to create a extra numerous vary of individuals portrayed in its public locations – together with extra girls, folks from ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians and other people with disabilities.
The college confronted a high-profile controversy final yr over whether or not a statue of Cecil Rhodes must be eliminated – after claims that the Victorian colonialist’s attitudes on race made him an unsuitable determine to be commemorated.
The brand new photos on the traditional partitions will embody scientist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and writer Jeanette Winterson. There may also be some males, together with movie maker Ken Loach.
“We’re not taking anybody down – however the portraits have been nearly solely males and we’re simply starting to redress the steadiness,” says Ms Coe, head of the college’s equality and variety unit.
“It would permit college students to search for and see individuals who appear like them. It is sending a sign to a wider vary of scholars that they belong right here,” she says.
Ms Coe says the brand new photos will replicate the trendy actuality of college life – and the individuals who have been painted or photographed have been nominated by present employees and college students.
The folks depicted have hyperlinks with the college – similar to being former college students or educational employees – with the factors that they had been examples of excellence and widened the vary of images from the “slender and conventional” and “challenged stereotypes”.
Among the many folks to be represented will probably be criminologist and incapacity rights campaigner, Marie Tidball.
“Symbols are vital,” she stated.
There are hundreds of thousands of individuals with a incapacity within the UK, Ms Tidball stated, however they’ve a “lack of visibility in public areas”.
The commissioning of an image of an instructional with a incapacity was a “very vital” step in the direction of ensuring that every one sorts of scholars may really feel at house on the college, she stated.
“I actually hope that this speaks to children now doing their GCSEs,” stated Ms Tidball.
And he or she rejected solutions of an extra of political correctness as “absolute nonsense”.
BBC journalist Reeta Chakrabarti stated it was a undertaking which mirrored the college’s present employees and dwelling alumni.
These are people who find themselves “alive and kicking, a illustration of recent day Britain,” she stated.
“You would simply proceed to painting the identical folks, however it would not be a mirrored image of how the college and society have modified,” she stated.
“Completely different ages, completely different societies rejoice completely different values.”
As a pupil at Oxford, she stated “there weren’t many individuals there who had been like me, from my type of background”.
However she had an “overwhelmingly optimistic expertise” and “nothing about Oxford made me really feel misplaced”.
Oxford College has confronted questions on whether or not it’s admitting sufficient poorer college students and state-school pupils.
Admissions figures printed earlier this yr confirmed that Oxford had one of many lowest proportions of state school pupils of any UK college.
This confirmed that universities similar to Bristol, Durham and Cambridge had been admitting the next proportion of state college pupils than Oxford.
The brand new portraits:
- Diran Adebayo (novelist)
- Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter (librarian at All Souls Faculty, Oxford)
- Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell (astrophysicist)
- Professor Dame Valerie Beral (Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford College)
- Professor Dorothy Bishop (Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at Oxford College)
- Reeta Chakrabarti (BBC journalist)
- Dr Penelope Curtis (arts administrator and former director of Tate Britain)
- Professor Patricia Daley (Professor of the Human Geography of Africa at Oxford College)
- Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (main well being care educational)
- Anne-Marie Imafidon (girls in science campaigner)
- Professor Dame Carole Jordan (astrophysicist)
- Professor Aditi Lahiri (Professor of Linguistics at Oxford College)
- Kelsey Leonard (ﬁrst Native American girl to earn a level from Oxford College)
- Hilary Lister (first disabled girl to sail solo round Britain)
- Ken Loach (tv and movie director)
- Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch (Professor of the Historical past of the Church at Oxford College)
- Jan Morris (historian, writer and journey author)
- Kumi Naidoo (South African human rights activist)
- Dr Henry Odili Nwume (Winter Olympics British bobsledder)
- Dame Esther Rantzen (broadcaster)
- Professor Lyndal Roper (Regius Professor of Historical past at Oxford College)
- Professor Kathy Sylva (Professor of Instructional Psychology at Oxford College)
- Marie Tidball (member of Oxford College’s Regulation School and incapacity rights campaigner)
- Jeanette Winterson (novelist)