Since 2006, staff network Imperial 600 has been flying the flag for LGBTQ+ staff through promoting equal rights and championing diversity.
To mark thirty years since Section 28 of the Local Government Act banned the promotion of homosexuality by UK local authorities, Imperial 600 have launched a campus-wide recruitment campaign to encourage more staff, postgraduate students and allies to join the network.
For over ten years, Imperial 600 has supported staff and postgraduate students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other identities (LGBTQ+) at the College, as well as allies of the community.
We caught up with co-Chairs, Caz Ulley, Student Recruitment Marketing Manager and Dan Todhunter, Assistant Registrar. After being elected just over a year ago, Caz and Dan told us what they’ve been working on and their plans for the future of Imperial 600.
What are the network’s latest developments?
"Imperial 600’s strategic role in ensuring LGBT+ voices are heard is crucial." Steve Cook Senior Teaching Fellow
Dan: One of our goals was to identify how we can make Imperial 600 more reflective of the diverse LGBTQ+ community at Imperial. In particular, we want to better support minority groups within the LGBTQ+ spectrum and promote the advancement of women. This has been a big driver behind the work that’s gone into our new strategy.
Caz: Dan and I spent six months conducting consultations, face-to-face interviews and an online survey with our members to gather feedback on what our members want from Imperial 600. We’re now in the final stage of gathering feedback on the draft version of our strategy.
Are you working with other institutions?
Dan: Yes, we’ve formed a LGBTQ+ collective with the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL) and King’s College London which we call LUKI. Working together allows us to push the boundaries and be more ambitious in what we want to achieve. We’ve also focussed more on supporting minorities within the LGBTQ+ community. For example, the first event that we held in September 2017 had a particular focus on exploring trans/gender queer issues through performances by two trans artists.
Caz: LUKI also allows us to share best practice between the Chairs. We gain access to new people and ideas and can focus on supporting those who are underrepresented within our respective networks. Recently, we’ve also formed an LGBT+ network with our museum neighbours (the Exhibition Road LGBTQ+ Network) which has given our members access to private tours of the museums, as well as a broader range of people to network with.
What do you love most about your roles?
Caz: Creating a brand new visual identity for Imperial 600 has been a major highlight for me. I work in marketing in my day job, so it’s been nice to be able to use my skills for the benefit of the network. And seeing that new-look on our London Pride t-shirts and banner last year did make me feel really proud.
Dan: Before my appointment as co-Chair, I wasn’t a member of Imperial 600. Since getting involved, I’ve been really surprised by how much I didn’t know about LGBTQ+ issues, and how much I’ve learned. We’re also both so glad that we’re doing this role together as it’s really useful to be able to rely on someone else for support and motivation.
What are your plans for the future of Imperial 600?
When we took over as co-Chairs of Imperial 600, there were around 60 people in the network. Through word of mouth alone, we’re now approaching 140 members and we hope this recruitment campaign will increase that number. We hope that by 2021, we can have the 600 members our name suggests.
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