Oxford University promotes diversity in new portraits

  • IANS

    IANS | London

    March 31, 2017 | 04:03 PM
Oxford University

Oxford University (Photo: Getty)

Oxford University has unveiled a range of new portraits including those of Indian-origin people to be a source of inspiration for the students and to improve the diversity balance on the walls of the world-famous university.

The portraits, mainly paintings and photographs, include a mixture of men and women from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Linguistics scholar Aditi Lahiri, human rights activist Kumi Naidoo and BBC journalist Reeta Chakrabarti join the likes of British film and television director Ken Loach and astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell among the latest batch of around two dozen portraits.

The new works are to be displayed in the university's central public spaces and will be shown at an exhibition in Oxford later in the year.

Rebecca Surender, advocate and pro-vice-chancellor for equality and diversity at the university, said: "It is hugely important for students and staff to feel at home at Oxford, and to feel inspired by people they can relate to".

"This series of portraits, created by a talented group of artists, will broaden the range of people represented around the University. All of those selected to take part have made enormous contributions to Oxford life and to society more widely," Rebecca said.

This commissioning of portraits is one of the biggest projects by the university to create a more diverse range of people portrayed in its public places, including more women, people from ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians and people with disabilities.

All the people depicted have links with the university - such as being former students or academic staff - with the criteria that they were examples of excellence and widened the range of pictures from the "narrow and traditional" and "challenged stereotypes".

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