Diversifying curricula: how are people of colour represented in lecture slide images?

Ahn, Mi Young; Quinlan, Kathleen M. and Adewumi, Barbara. 2023. Diversifying curricula: how are people of colour represented in lecture slide images? Teaching in Higher Education, ISSN 1356-2517 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Diversifying higher education curricula has been called for as one way to reduce racial inequalities in higher education. This study makes an original contribution by focusing on images of people in lecture slides. We explored how people of colour versus white individuals were portrayed in images (n = 250) used in lecture slides in four first-year core social sciences modules and whether the images were likely to be ‘inspiring’ to racially minoritised students. Drawing on visual content analysis used in textbook studies and thematic analysis, we developed a novel method of analysing lecture slide images. Only 12% of the images presented people of colour in positive, non-stereotyped and active roles that could be described as inspiring. People of colour were less likely to be presented and less likely to be featured exclusively in an image than white people. By applying a Critical Race Theory framework, we discuss implications for curricular reform.

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Funding: We are grateful to Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), which financially supported this work as part of the process evaluation for Impact of Diversifying HE Curricula on the White/BAME Attainment Gap.


hidden curriculum, lecture slides, visual content analysis, racial inequalities, higher education

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6 November 2023Accepted
21 November 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2024 10:15

Last Modified:

05 Jun 2024 15:38

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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