National Inclusion Week 2020 - What inclusion means to me: Dr Tori Sprung

29th September 2020

As part of National Inclusion Week (28 September to 2 October 2020), and in line with the recently established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, BASES will be sharing stories from the EDI Committee Members on what inclusion means to them, to help raise awareness about Inclusion in the workplace.

National Inclusion Week 2020:

What does inclusion mean to me?

Being asked to summarise What Inclusion Means To Me has aroused an interesting set of reflections. As a person who ticks numerous “diversity boxes”, I feel very connected to the matter through my own lived experience. I champion the subject in my professional life because I care deeply about inciting change. I have an array of role models who continually inspire me that range from close friends to public figures. We lost one this week, and in the spirit of the trailblazing Notorious RBG I will not only describe what this complex concept means to me but, more importantly, I invite you to join me in a call to action.

I began constructing a paragraph about treating one another fairly, ensuring equal opportunity, decency and respect. Of course, inclusion is all of these things but, crucially, it is about creating a safe space that allows every individual to be their authentic self and feel valued as such. The word creating is fundamental here as it implies conscious and deliberate action. Inclusion is not passive! While we have a collective responsibility to practice inclusion; fundamentally, impetus is borne of those in positions of leadership. We are some way off living and working in an inclusive culture; inclusion is evolving, and we must continue to talk openly, check ourselves, and others.

Inclusion, in short, is not simply inviting someone to ‘join the team’. It is the considered construction of a diverse and representative group of individuals who listen, who place real value on one another’s opinion, even if these differ, and who ensure active and equitable participation in a decision-making process.

If Sport & Exercise Science as a discipline, which is historically non-diverse/inclusive, can get this right, we have so much to gain.

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Dr Tori Sprung                                                                                                                                                Member, BASES Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee                                                                     Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University

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BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

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