Gender and disability-related projects dominate in the list of initiatives awarded funding by the Trinity Equality Fund (TEF) this year. Of the 15 initiatives granted funding by the college body, six relate exclusively to gender while a further three are centred around disability-related issues.
Of the remaining six projects promoting equality in Trinity for 2017/18, two will be focused on equality in general. One is entitled Empowering Through Self Help, while the other is an Equality Forum. Projects relating to age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and traveller community are among the groups and issues for which a subcommittee of the TEF awards grants. Each project receives a maximum of €1,000.
Speaking to Trinity News, Aoife Crawford from TEF referred to the significant number of gender- and disability-related projects awarded funding this year, stating that this “reflects the applications received” from staff and students.
Crawford added that TEF “would very much welcome applications in future years on themes that are under-represented this year, such as religion, sexual orientation or family status”.
One of the six gender-related projects, Bold Girls, will mark the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland in March. Staff and students of the MPhiI in Children’s Literature will curate an exhibition in the Long Room of significant historical children’s texts from the Library’s collections written by and about women.
The project was submitted by staff, along with Women Should Be Both Seen and Heard, a seminar series targeted at women, nonbinary/genderfluid individuals, and members of under-represented groups working in research and academia.
Another project centred on gender is Leaning in and Speaking Up, which will focus on female leadership in healthcare. Three focus groups with female healthcare students will be undertaken and the results of these focus groups will be presented at an information evening held in Trinity to highlight and provide information on this topic and the views of current students. A leadership workshop for healthcare students will then be created based on the findings.
Five of the awarded projects were submitted by Trinity students, including the 24-Hour Wheelchair Challenge, submitted by Senior Fresh student Niamh Herbert. The project took place last year also, but was funded by Disability and I, a fundraiser organised by Herbert and current Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Disabilities Officer Laura Beston. Non-disabled students spent a day in Trinity in a wheelchair, to experience the campus and their life as wheelchair users do.
Issues relating specifically age, the traveller community and socio-economic background will be dealt with by a project entitled Student Champions. In three-minute videos, selected mature students will discuss their reasons to undertake third level education. Each participant will discuss a person who has supported them in their desire to attend university.
An outline for the project explains: “There is great diversity among our community of mature students. Many come from socioeconomic backgrounds which are underrepresented in higher education. They range in age from 23 to their 60s. They come from inner city Dublin and rural Ireland, some are refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq, others are finally realising a lifelong ambition to study.”
Issues surrounding ethnicity and nationality will be addressed by two projects, entitled Native Scientist and Integration and Understanding through the Arts. The latter project will also deal with issues faced by asylum seekers and refugees.
Alongside the remaining initiatives awarded grants, these projects will be featured in the Trinity Equality Showcase during the start of the next college year. Last year’s TEF projects could be viewed by students in October.