Own goal or progress?

A letter from Tim Artus on the BPS Covid Coordinating Group.

When reading the opening material in the July/August 2020 edition (Covid-19 workstreams), the one thing that struck me was what seem to be the unintended low value Diversity and Inclusion is given. Reading the other workstreams, they are being led by professors, doctors, Lead Clinical Consultants, Presidents of the BPS, yet the Diversity and Inclusion workstream is represented by a student. Please, this is not focused on the individuals mentioned – instead, it is based on the titles of the individuals and how these titles attribute standing and stature within and outside the psychology community.

I understand this article will have been only a very short summary of the great work underway in many fields. However, appearances matter and this seems like an own goal by the psychology community. If Diversity and Inclusion is important, let’s show it is important.

- Tim Artus
Grantown on Spey

David Murphy, Chair of the Covid-19 Coordinating Group, responds:
The co-ordinating group was formed very rapidly in March in response to the crisis; however, one of the first actions was to appoint a Diversity and Inclusion Champion. At the same time, the Presidential Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion needed to take a pause as the original chair, Binna Kandola, needed to step down. We appointed Layne Whittaker as the Diversity and Inclusion Champion and her role involves linking with, and being supported by, the rest of the taskforce.

The role involves promoting consideration of aspects of diversity rather than being an expert in every area. I would strongly urge readers to view the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce webpage to read about and watch short videos from all of the amazing members of the taskforce. This letter, gives me a welcome opportunity to acknowledge the incredible contribution that Layne has made to the group. The insights and wealth of experience of different aspects of diversity she has brought to the group have been absolutely invaluable. I know all of the members of the taskforce are deeply grateful for Layne’s contribution, and that of other taskforce members.

The correspondent asserts that ‘appearances matter’… however, I believe that when we begin to see people rather than categories or titles, we will know we are making the sort of progress that the taskforce has been established to bring about.

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