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Virtual Lincoln Unites 2021

Nupur Patel

Nupur Patel

  • MCR President (2019-20)

Almost a year after our lives were turned upside down by the Covid pandemic, many of us are still living far apart from each other and our beloved College. It has been a challenging time, to say the least, which has reinforced the importance of staying connected with others despite the distance. When the Lincoln Unites committee was formed at the beginning of the first lockdown, the uncertainty of life meant that we were unsure about what Lincoln Unites would look like and whether it would even take place. Luckily, with the support of College, we found ourselves organising the first ever virtual equality and diversity week from our computer screens. While we were disappointed to not have experienced events in person, one benefit of this new virtual landscape was that more Lincolnites, especially alumni, could take part in events from the comfort of their own homes. Our determination to give something for Lincolnites to look forward to led us to put together a jam-packed 2nd week of Hilary term (24 – 30 January 2021) that we will never forget.

We were determined to build on the success of last year’s week and to continue to spark important conversations about equality, diversity and inclusion within and beyond the University. During a time in which activist movements, including Black Lives Matter, have taken on more momentum, we felt it our responsibility to use the week as a platform to equally maintain discussions about allyship and activism within a prestigious educational institution like Oxford. Across the week we had a number of exciting events: a cook off competition to celebrate different international and cultural cuisines, an imposter syndrome workshop, an LGBTQ+ film festival and panel discussion about drag, a visual impairment awareness talk with the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, a Gender comedy night featuring the famous Oxford Imps, and a discussion about gender in academia, in partnership with Lincoln Leads. A particular highlight was the digital exhibition (‘I/Eye’) which highlighted the experiences of Lincolnites in relation to the concept of intersectionality. Coined by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, intersectionality is a way of thinking about identity, power and the multiple forms of disadvantages in life. Our participants addressed these themes through the mediums of poetry, photography, textile work (see below) and personal accounts. If you are interested in viewing the exhibition, visit: www.lincolnunites.co.uk (password: lincoln1427).

To me, Lincoln Unites is the epitome of community; in times of uncertainty and distress, it is a week that allows us all to connect with each other, this year across different locations and time zones. We share a common goal to uplift marginalised voices and make our society a better place. It has been a moving experience watching interest in Lincoln Unites grow, especially this year. What started off as a distant dream of mine has quickly become a wonderful week that has become a staple in the Lincoln College calendar. It is heartening to see so many dedicated JCR and MCR members working hard to keep it alive; they have been incredibly passionate about celebrating and promoting representation and unity in the community and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work. It has been a pleasure to serve as Lincoln Unites President for one last year and to graduate from the College this year knowing that Lincoln Unites will continue to flourish as more and more Lincolnites embrace it.

I would like to thank the College for their support of our initiative and their generosity in financing the week with the Lincoln for Life Fund. We look forward to seeing how the week flourishes next year as myself and this year’s committee pass on the baton to a new group of passionate JCR and MCR members.

Finally, I am very grateful to the wonderful Lincoln Unites committee 2020-21. I cannot thank you enough for maintaining what began as a very small pilot. I thank you for being so invested in the week and passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. You have inspired me to keep fighting the good fight and striving to make a positive difference as you have done this year.

Executive Committee: Olivia Sanchez (Lincoln Unites President 2020-21), Nupur Patel (Lincoln Unites President 2020-21, Treasurer), Grace O’Mara (Events Director) and Hui Ying Quek (Communications Director)

Events Officers: Cäcilie Habbel, Hui Ying Quek, Ilana Cantor and Selina Abächerli

Press Officers: Cynthia Cheloff, James Hughes, Mehmet Tatoğlu, Nina Sulkowski and Yanelle Cruz

Designers: Hannah Alcock and Julie Yeow