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University hands back award in support of equality


University marketing team win Digital Entrepreneur award but announce they will be handing it back in protest at the "misjudged" tone of the ceremony.

This November, a team from the University of Bradford attended the Digital Entrepreneur Awards, held at the Principal Hotel in Manchester. After being shortlisted for one of the award categories, the University went on to win the award but unfortunately felt they had no choice but to give the award back, Emma Bridge, Associate Director (Marketing Communications) at the University explains why:

“We were amongst the winners, receiving the award for “Most Innovative use of Video or Animation”, for our bold efforts on tackling perceptions about the University of Bradford and the city.

“But unfortunately we didn’t feel much like celebrating. The tone set at the event left us greatly saddened and with little room to reflect on our success. Much of the evening’s content was inappropriate and unnecessary and, we felt, a step backwards for digital in terms of respect and kindness towards all colleagues.

“The diversity and dedication that all those shortlisted demonstrated was not reflected in the ceremony. As an organisation, the University of Bradford is deeply committed to equality and diversity: our 50:50 campaign hopes to establish us as the first university to see true gender equality in Computer Science; our Celebrating Women in Engineering campaign shines a light on our amazing staff and students working in this area; and our university-wide initiatives, like This Prof Can, are designed to create a better gender balance throughout our organisation.

Mark Garratt, Director of External Affairs at the University of Bradford said: “There was a compere making sexist jokes and a bunch of burlesque dancers on stage. It was like going back to the days of Bernard Manning.

“We thought afterwards and we couldn’t possibly keep the award. The whole ceremony didn’t sit comfortably with what, as a university, we are trying to promote.”

Read the full open letter

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