Liberating Our Curriculum: Diversity in Class Resources

Profile picture of Dr Debbie Custance

In this brief reflection, Dr Deborah Custance, Academic Director of Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre and Senior Lecturer at Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, discusses lack of diversity in class resources.


I was lecturing on comparative psychology a few years ago and presenting one of those images of monkeys evolving through to apes, early hominids and modern humans. A student raised her hand and asked, “Why are these pictures always of white men?”. It got a really interesting discussion going about these kinds of illustrations.

Image shows human evolution depicted as the transformation from a black monkey to a white man.
Image source 

Text blog saying, I was shocked to see that nearly all the images containing people were of Caucasians.Afterwards, I was thinking about this discussion and took a look at the slides from a number of lectures. I was shocked to see that nearly all the images containing people were of Caucasians. I realised why, as soon as I started to try and swap out some of my images for more widely inclusive photos. I usually just conduct Google image searches when preparing lecture slides. When I looked for images to illustrate my lecture on the evolution of parenting, I had to scroll quite far down to find anything other than white, heterosexual parents. Ever since, I have been much more mindful with respect to the kinds of images I select.

What I have learned:

Consider the images you select for lecture slides. Make sure that they are not by default dominated by white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied subjects.

Further Resources

Fiarman, S. A. (2016). Unconscious bias: When good intentions aren’t
enough. Educational Leadership, 74(3), 10-15.
Guo, S., & Jamal, Z. (2007). Nurturing cultural diversity in higher education: A critical review of selected models. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(3), 27-49.


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