The story of the 'Together against racism' campaign

This campaign was part of the Understanding Racism Transforming University Culture (URTUC) report and action plan, the aim within the campaign was to focus on individual experiences of racism, and highlight how students and colleagues can report experiences, and how to develop allyship.

The development of the campaign evolved into a student and colleague partnership, with many involved in developing the concepts, content and narrative.

Involvement of the Social Marketing programme

Dr Thomas Anker from the Adam Smith Business School, took the URTUC report and used it as the key concept for his Social Marketing programme in the academic year 2021/22.

This innovative approach to a real-time social marketing campaign ensured the students on the course got to base the courses theoretical approach on a current issue at the University in which they were studying. It also ensured there was co-ordination between the academic-led, the EDI team and research author, and the External Relations team in the University.

There was also a guest academic speaker from the US, who discussed racism in advertising across the decades. The students on the course presented their campaign pitches to a combination of academic and professional services colleagues.

Many of the ideas used within the pitches have been incorporated into the final campaign, and the students on the course were invited to participate at the focus group events.

Focus groups 

In late 2021, the Equality and Diversity Unit and External Relations hosted the first Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student and colleague focus group where we asked three questions:

  • What behaviours do you think we need to highlight/address in a campaign?
  • What campaigns have stood out for you, and why? What made it effective?
  • What does a safe, happy educational/working environment look and feel like for you?

This focus group gave the campaign team a strong sense of direction, on both the issues students and colleagues experienced, and the importance of having an impactful campaign which had to be seen as not just a PR exercise.

Developing the campaign

The Campaign team took forward the ideas and working with External Relations creative teams design some initial concepts based on experienced racial microaggressions raise in the URTUC Report, from the Social marketing programme and in the focus groups.

Once the concepts had been designed, the Campaign group then took them round a wider pool of focus groups to gain feedback on the creative, and to workshop the straplines. This included an open focus group for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and colleagues, student brand ambassadors, the Race Equality Group and the Equality and Diversity Strategy Committee.

Final concepts were then approved, and the strapline agreed, prior to planning soft and full launch. The launch video, website content was then designed in the summer of 2022, with the EDU and ER working closely on all aspects.