Race, Ethnicity & Equality

Protesters against police brutality and racism at the centre of the Mangrove Nine trial, 1970. The National Archives, Catalogue reference: MEPO31/21 (3)


Inequality remains a major challenge for historians in UK higher education. Historians of colour are severely underrepresented at all academic levels, while curriculums and research – and the libraries and archives that support them – often fail to reflect the rich histories of racial and ethnic minority groups.

To address these issues, in 2017, the Royal Historical Society established a Race, Ethnicity & Equality (REE) Working Group.


The Race, Ethnicity and Equality (REE) Working Group

The REE Working Group continues to meet. From 2019 to 2020, it was strengthened by the appointment of Dr Shahmima Akhtar, Past & Present postdoctoral research fellow, followed by Dr Diya Gupta, who took up the Fellowship in October 2020.

With the Royal Historical Society’s support, the REE Working Group seeks to:

  • identify barriers to racial equality and diversity in the discipline of History;
  • facilitate curriculum reform that diversifies and decolonises undergraduate and taught postgraduate History programme content, as well as teaching practice;
  • tackle workplace racism and support inclusive learning environments in UK university History departments;
  • address the under-representation of historians of colour, both students and staff, in higher education;
  • encourage and, where appropriate, facilitate and support work towards greater racial equality, diversity and inclusivity in earlier tiers of education, and in other cultural institutions and aligned disciplines;
  • identify strands of activity in which adopting an international perspective on race offers new avenues for the promotion of race equality in History.


Current RHS REE Working Group Members

Dr Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham) – Co-chair
Dr Jonathan Saha (Durham University) – Co-chair

Dr Shahmima Akhtar (RHUL)
Dr Adam Budd (University of Edinburgh)
Professor Margot Finn (UCL)
Professor Laura Gowing (KCL)
Professor Emma Griffin (RHS President/UEA)
Dr Diya Gupta (RHS/IHR)
Professor Heidi Safia Mirza (Goldsmiths)
Professor David Olusoga (University of Manchester)
Dr Meleisa Ono-George (University of Oxford)
Dr Kennetta Hammond Perry (DMU)
Mr John Siblon (City and Islington College)
Dr Patrick Vernon
Dr Rob Waters (QMUL)


During our 150th anniversary year in 2018, we published a landmark report on Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History. This report evidenced the scale of under-representation, the extent of workplace racism, and the limitations of History curricula. Read the publication press release and full survey data.The publication of the 2018 report sparked considerable public debate, and we are delighted that it has been the subject of meetings and discussions at History departments across the UK.

In December 2019, we published a Roadmap for Change Update I. It summarises how individuals, universities, learned societies and other institutions, including the Royal Historical Society, have responded to the 2018 report and its findings.

In November 2020, we published Roadmap for Change Update II. The report surveys the race, ethnicity and equality initiatives undertaken over the past year by the historical community in the UK. Its purview includes departments, faculties and schools, along with heritage organisations and learned societies, as well as the RHS itself.


Download the 2018 Race Report


Download the 2019 Roadmap for Change I


Download the 2020 Roadmap for Change II


Contacting the RHS about the Race, Ethnicity and Equality reports

If you would like to give us feedback about an event or initiative related to the Society’s race, ethnicity and equality work, or if you are interested in hosting a future event with us, please complete the online contact form to get in touch.