We are a group of graduate students at the University of Cambridge who want to follow in the footsteps of others who have successfully been making time and space for the discussion and promotion of anti-racist practice in youth literature studies.
STARYL (Striving Towards Anti-racist Research in Youth Literature) was formed during a moment of global attention on issues of systemic anti-Black racism and in response to specific incidents at the Centre for Research in Children’s Literature and, on a broader level, the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge during the summer of 2020. We are all past or present graduate students at this research centre, although our outlook is international and beyond the academy.
We are by no means experts in anti-racist research praxis - far from it. Rather, we are committed participants engaged in a process of learning and unlearning - a process that we see as a life-long journey. As graduate students, we believe that one way to combat racism and white supremacy in our field and within our institution/university is to foreground the work of Black and Indigenous scholars and other scholars of colour in all areas of youth literature studies. Deeply concerned by the accounts of individuals within our field, particularly those of Breanna McDaniel and Dr Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and inspired by initiatives such as REIYL and Academics4BlackLives, we have put together a programme of online events led by BIPOC scholars, which will run throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
All undergraduate and graduate students, educators, researchers of all levels, and people generally interested in the topics covered - irrespective of their background, affiliation, and prior knowledge - are welcome to register for these events and engage with the materials archived here. PLEASE NOTE: The number of attendees for certain talks may be limited. When this is the case, priority will be given to students, post-docs, and early career researchers.
This project is an intervention. It is a student-led initiative independent of the Faculty of Education and the Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Cambridge.