Dismantling Structural Racism and Eurocentrism in Higher Education Institutions
An im/possible roundtable


Brief description

This session consists of a digital roundtable discussion with guests from different European or Pan-European contexts. The overall topic of this roundtable is to put to the fore how structural racism and Eurocentrism manifests in HEI. With a particular focus on the local context, the participants will discuss along four thematic blocks strategies to diagnose and overcome structural racism and eurocentrism in academia. It does so by reflecting on the limits and potentials of a dialogue between HEI, civil society organizations and/or activism. Thus, the roundtable brings into dialogue European academia with local activists/representatives from civil society organizations who work in the fields of antiracist, decolonial and migrant activism and/or apply intersectional approaches.

The roundtable’s focus will have two aims: First, it will discuss the challenges and difficulties in diagnosing structural racism and Eurocentrism in HEI and look at obstacles and potentials for social, economic, racial and intersectional justice in academia. Second, it aims at strengthening the dialogue between independent researchers, academics, practitioners, artists and members of civil society organizations. Perspectives from the outside and from within academia will be mirrored with reality, to critically reflect both structural racism and the difficulties in fighting against it from within academia. The following questions, organizing four thematic blocks will guide the roundtable discussion:

  • What are the dimensions and dynamics of structural racism and Eurocentrism in your institution? Have they changed over time, and if so, how?
  • Are there diversity and anti-discrimination policies in place in your institutions?
  • How do they address and challenge institutional racism? How would you evaluate the outreach and impact of these policies in preventing racism in institutions?
  • What other strategies exist in your countries and institutions to combat racism? Are your institutions participating in this struggle and how? Do you know initiatives of decolonizing knowledge in your country and in your institution? What are they addressing, how do they work and how do they interact with the institution and the public?
  • Does the decolonization of knowledge and education need the university?

The roundtable is supported by online live note taking on the Miro board to include the audience and further support a general impression of racism and eurocentrism in HEI in Europe. The following questions might inspire the note taking process:

  • How is structural racism and eurocentrism reflected in your university?
  • Are you aware of any diversity & Anti-discrimination policies of your university or of a university you are familiar of?
  • Does this reflect on the diversity of staff and students?
  • Are there anti-racist student groups at your HEI? Can you tell a success story?
  • Do you think student anti-racist activism can impact the career of students (negatively)? Why (not)?
  • Do you think including decolonizing knowledge into the academy can a have a lasting positive impact on education? Why (not)?


The roundtable discussion aims to provide an overview of the challenges that scholars and activists face on different levels, when confronting structural racism and epistemic eurocentrism in European HEI. Participants are provided with an overview of the different realities in the countries participating in the BRIDGES project. The roundtable aims at offering a platform for a common analysis and understanding of the historical and social contingencies as well as the political conjunctures constituting and crossing biographies and communities in struggle. Finally, it hopes at contributing to an exchange of lessons learned and successs stories to further contribute to strengthen anti-racist, feminist and decolonizing networks in Europe both within academia and civil society.

Necessary materials and resources for execution

The roundtable will be delivered through the online meeting platform Zoom. The open-source online platform Miro will allow everyone to take notes during the discussions.

Each of the guests should have a device that has a good camera and microphone. In case the event shall be recorded, and the recording function of the platform is disabled, here should be a backup recording option.

The roundtable can be recorded. This way, after the roundtable has ended, it can be uploaded as a presentation video or as a podcast onto BRIDGES.

Expected results

Lessons learned from each other will be identified, as well as new forms of cooperation between academia and activism to decolonize higher education and its institutions.

Derived materials from the activity (to be uploaded on this website)

The roundtable discussion can be recorded. That way it can be uploaded to the virtual lab and other digital platforms. Also, if translation was offered, this can become a base for writing a roundtable report, which can be uploaded to the virtual lab and/or published in an international journal.


  • Chair
  • Translator
  • 1-2 Moderators
  • Technical assistant, if possible: responsible for making sure all the microphones are muted, and hackers/intruders are expelled