Poverty aware practice: challenging stigma in our communities
This presentation will discuss the potential of and need for cross-curricular integration of poverty aware practice.
Recent research at LJMU reveals that around 62,000 children in the Liverpool City Region are living in poverty with, in early 2021, more of the population in receipt of benefits than the national average. These young people are our potential students of the future and there is a need to challenge stigma those students face before, during and even after university.
Poverty can be a taboo subject but research by ATD Fourth World and Oxford University revealed that stigma, blame, and judgement was a painful part of the experience of poverty.
The media plays a fundamental role in shaping these perceptions. LJMU’s Media, Culture, Communication programme is researching and campaigning to challenge negative media representations. It hosted the national launch of the Reporting Poverty Guide for Media Professionals, produced in collaboration with National Union of Journalists and policy-change charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
This paper argues that open discussions about the problems faced by our students from under-privileged or deprived backgrounds can be motivating, confronting the taboo, and challenging the shame associated with poverty. Informing both staff and students of the background of these representations can bring a potential long-term positive effect on life chances and University experience.
As such, building on previous research, and recent provision of guest sessions in the School of Nursing and Allied Health and the School of Education, this paper posits that we can bring awareness of pervasive negative media representations of poverty to develop conversations and help build a safe community, where concerns can be raised. This, in turn, can inspire strength and courage in enabling our communities to speak out boldly and act for change.
As key role models, we can influence attitudes, values and behaviours, and can inspire the recognition that the experience of poverty is not a barrier to success at LJMU.
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