Imperial College London

Imperial community ‘listen and learn from one another’ in history dialogue


The Queen's Tower

Imperial’s community dialogue about the College’s history and legacy concludes with a staff and student forum on Wednesday 26 January.

In October the College’s independent History Group published a report shedding new light on Imperial’s associations with historical figures and undercelebrated people from Imperial’s past.  

This process will lead to a deeper understanding of our history and one another. Professor Ian Walmsley Provost

The report contained a number of recommendations, including reconsidering the names of some locations on campus like Beit Hall and the Huxley Building and called for the College to find ways to better mark the impact and contributions of brilliant but undercelebrated Imperial people like Abdus Salam. 

Following its publication the President and Provost invited the College community to read the report, learn more about the College’s history and share their views on how Imperial should respond to the issues raised in it.  

Hundreds of students, staff and alumni have contributed to the dialogue by email and through independently facilitated small group discussions, as well as many informal conversations within the community. 

A summary of contributions to date has been prepared with support from independent facilitators.

Imperial and its leadership have been clear throughout that free speech will be protected and that all views will be heard. It is “very much not a ‘cancel culture’ approach”, they have said. 

No decisions have been made. 

‌President’s Board will review the History Group report and contributions from the community. The College’s leadership will decide on how to proceed and inform the community at the end of February.  

Register to attend the forum 

History Forum 

The final element of the dialogue process will be an online History Dialogue Forum on Wednesday 26 January, 12.30-13.45, open to all staff and students. 

It is heartening to see the way our community is listening and learning from one another Professor Alice Gast President

The forum will be facilitated by the Consuls and provides a further opportunity for current students and staff to share their views with one another. 

To aid discussions, the College has published an initial summary of key themes that have emerged from the dialogue so far, which has been reviewed by the independent facilitators who conducted the small group sessions. A wide spectrum of views and ideas have been shared, from members of the community with very different personal, professional and political views and beliefs. 

President’s Board will consider the contributions and ideas from the forum alongside the views already shared by email and in group discussions. 

Imperial’s Provost Professor Ian Walmsley said: “We are very grateful to our community for their thoughtful contributions and ideas during this period of reflection. We have made no decisions yet, but we can be certain that this process will lead to a deeper understanding of our history and one another. I look forward to hearing what more our staff and students have to say at the History Dialogue Forum.” 

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial, said: “Imperial is a forward-looking institution and we do not shy away from difficult decisions. It is heartening to see the way our community is listening and learning from one another as we consider these important questions. President's Board will carefully consider all the views put forward during this valuable dialogue."



Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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