This case study by Lisa Evans-Massey the Programme Lead for Low Intensity Psychological Interventions and Module Lead for ‘Values, Diversity and Context’ provides an overview of the opportunity students had to engage with the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre to explore racism.


What was the programme/module?

The module (Values, Diversity and Context) helps students to develop their ability as reflective practitioners and how to adapt practice to make mental health support more accessible. Students reflect on how they react to difference so that they can work effectively with patients from different backgrounds. We explore intersectionality throughout the module.

Themes covered: Social inclusion, protected characteristics, Equality Act 2010, older adults, women’s and men’s mental health, long-term conditions, religion, spirituality and beliefs, sexuality and gender identity, learning disability, power in the therapeutic relationship, ethics, interpreters, stigma, diversity, cultural competence, racism, employment support.


What happened?

Overview: Engaged with the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre to provide students with the opportunity to explore racism.

Description: The SLRC staff were welcoming and created an experience where students got to see, read and hear Stephen’s story as well as that of his parents who have fought so hard for justice. They then provided an interactive workshop where students got to reflect on what they knew, what they thought they knew and what they don’t yet know.

Context: It came about because I attended the inaugural SLRC lecture and went through a range of emotions during the evening event – hope, despair, embarrassment, inspiration, sadness. It motivated me to want to do more and to find out more. It occurred to me that our students might learn more from being immersed in the topic, rather than having a guest speaker come to talk to them in the safety of their classroom. I wanted to recreate for the students the emotive response that I’d had.

Evaluation: Students fed back immediately after the session that they were inspired and saddened. In response to student feedback, we’ve brought the session forwards to the first week of the module because they said that it gave them context and helped them to begin to consider their own cultural competence, as well as their own reactions. It was a huge success and impacted positively on engagement throughout the rest of the module.


How did it aid students to develop skills and competencies to act in the future for sustainable development?

We wanted to motivate students from the outset and drive passion for continued life-long learning around diversity. The SLRC has helped us to do that in ways that we never imagined. The work that they do is essential for learning. Students were able to consider how their actions or views could impact on others. They were inspired to continue to find out how to work together to help patients from different backgrounds manage their mental health difficulties and could see how their responsibility as a clinician played a part in building a better world. The learning translated into their understanding of ethical practice and legislation underpinning their practice.


Which SDGs link to this subject?

The module focuses on poverty, hunger, health and wellbeing, education, gender equality, reduced inequalities and partnerships. By exploring social inclusion and social exclusion, as well as intersectionality, our students are building their understanding of the interlinking aspects of the SDGs and how their roles play a part for everyone in society.


Why are the SDGs important to this subject?

It is important for students to understand the bigger picture. No matter the topic, SDGs are about the future of our society and of our world. Students and their children are the future; change needs to happen now for the impact to be felt later on.


What are your recommendations to colleagues?

As an academic, go along to the SLRC and see for yourself what they do – education and research. They hold open days and are open to the public during the week. There is also a calendar of activities and events taking place throughout the year, which can be used as additional resources for knowledge and education (students and staff). Contact the staff directly to discuss your programme and the learning objectives. The staff are incredibly helpful and created a tailored workshop to help our students meet the learning objectives for our module.



  • Excellent tour – definitely worth including it for all future cohorts 
  • It added context and created a lot of food for thought.
  • It was moving and really challenged me to think about my own biases
  • It would be good to have more information about the fight that Stephen Lawrence’s parents went through – in relation to the racism and biases that they experienced from people and departments
  • A longer session could include the activities that they set and time for reflection in that environment
  • The staff are really knowledgeable and passionate, which made it really engaging


Hear from the students:

“The afternoon was great, it really added context to the module immediately and allowed us to focus on the reason for the module. I was aware of the Stephen Lawrence case but not the details so to see it play out on the walls of the research Centre was very powerful. The lecture form Fatima afterwards was brilliant, she is very engaging and raised important points to consider in terms of culture and heritage along with race and how we see this which may have an impact on the patients we treat. She gave some good pointers for how we can start to learn more to address this knowledge gap ourselves, and for me this highlighted the importance of history and geographical politics on individuals culture and life experience.”

“Absolutely amazing! I feel this is a must for any course. I feel the tour highlighted Stephen as a person and was heart-breaking to hear his story. The lecture afterwards about race was amazing Fatima was captivating and engaging – she highlighted lots of misconceptions around race and blew my mind, as I really didn’t know anything about race but now, I feel more informed and that my eyes have been opened.”

“It was a fantastic experience to learn about a specific event that occurs and to learn from Fatima regarding the intricacies that are often overlooked when thinking about race and culture.”

“I enjoyed that the lecturer was ready to discuss difficult topics and was not afraid to be provocative at times.”

“I really enjoyed it, and didn’t have any knowledge of who Stephen was prior to the talk, so it was brand new for me. I enjoyed the afternoon seminar and it has given me some excitement to learn more.”

“SLRC tour was the perfect way to begin M3. It was enlightening, thought provoking, and both challenged the way I thought about several topics such as race, ethnicity adding depth to my knowledge too.”