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After a day spent reflecting on creating a space where diversity is respected, encouraged and celebrated in the learning studio I continually find myself returning to the individual experience. Throughout the day my writing tutor peers and I shared our own reflections on racism both generally and within the context of the education system in which we are working. While we had varied, fresh perspectives on many points there were also many moments of commonality between us, especially in the value we place in these conversations and the importance of creating this environment in our roles as tutors.
For me, one contributes to creating a safe space for diversity by knowing your ‘stuff’– all the ideas, values, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and hidden biases that have come to compose who you are as an individual. It’s about bringing awareness to how these things act as a lens through which you see the world so that, when need be, you can find another lens through which to look. By proceeding with that self-awareness in one hand and a heavy dose of openness and curiosity in the other I think a space can be created in the Learning Studio that feels safe and inclusive for our students and peers. By having the courage and honesty to bring your authentic self into relationship you invite the same from those you connect with. If we can bring these relational qualities of openness, curiosity, and acceptance into our work as writing tutors then we can help our students to use their creativity and amazingly unique perspectives as assets in their communication and writing.