Towards Inclusivity at the University of Warwick

An oral history study


  • Lauren Sleight Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry



Inclusivity, Oral History, University of Warwick, Higher Education, Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity


As part of the Then & Now project, oral histories were collected from staff and alumni about their experiences at the University of Warwick. During these interviews, participants often spoke about their own experiences of inclusion and exclusion at university, often in comparison to the perceived experience of students at university of today. Looking back to earlier decades of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s, those interviewed described the institution as primarily white, male, and middle-class. But, in their oral history testimonies participants reported feeling that that inclusivity at Warwick has undergone a transformation over the last 50 years. This article reviews these interviews and considers what the interviewees’ experiences can add to discussions about inclusivity and accessibility within universities. By focusing on three themes that were identified from these interviews - gender, race and ethnicity, and class - the article explores changing attitudes and experiences of inclusion and exclusion at the University of Warwick 1965-present. The interviews indicate that significant changes have taken place with regards to gender equality, but that less sustained changes have been perceived to have occurred in relation to class and race. By reviewing a small sample of interviews that were collated as part of Then & Now, this article demonstrates the potential that further oral histories could offer to our understanding of inclusivity at the University of Warwick and the history of Higher Education.


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A group of young university students studying around a kitchen table.