Iman Khan

Decolonising the curriculum: Exploring anti-racist and intersectional pedagogies in higher education.

Iman Khan

Iman is a doctoral researcher within the Institute of International Management. Her research is a part of the Centre for Doctoral Training on 'Unequal Academic Citizenship: Opportunities and Barriers to Participation and Inclusion of Cultural Diversity and Intersecting Identities in Higher Education (CITHEI)'.

As Loughborough Students’ Union's Postgrad Support and Social Network committee chairperson, she has always taken a keen interest in student advocacy and building a platform for elevating BAME student voices. Her research challenges the flow of knowledge and focuses on innovating action research interventions and pedagogies for decolonising higher education curriculum. As someone born in colonial Hong Kong, Iman's identity and family history have always been directly impacted by British colonisation for generations. Her time spent growing up in London and Dubai has been the building blocks of her insatiable curiosity of why people behave the way they do.

This is reflected in her choice to study for a BA in Business and Marketing at University of Essex and, subsequently, a Masters in Digital Marketing at Loughborough University London; she’s always been fascinated with multicultural consumer demographics and how these indirectly influence daily behaviours. For both her BA Hons and MSc degrees, Iman achieved Distinctions for her dissertation works in investigating the culturally relevant and organisational-level barriers to digital marketing adoption within London-based startups during lockdown and exploring Muslim consumer attitudes towards brand activism in the context of #FreePalestine on Instagram.

By representing PSSN as chairperson to senior university stakeholders, Iman participated in Loughborough University's CARE x CUK Leadership Training to understand anti-racist activism within higher education institutes. She was able to swiftly assimilate into Loughborough's staff and student community to proactively engage with other ongoing anti-racist initiatives such as providing REC feedback and conducting relational and house meetings for the University's Listening Campaign. In October 2021, she co-hosted Loughborough University’s first-ever Race Equity Town Hall alongside Dr Angela Martinez Dy at Loughborough University London to launch the action plan to shift Loughborough University’s culture to an actively anti-racist institution.

For all her chosen professional and volunteering experiences, Iman takes a community-centric approach. She has previously worked in the tech sector as a Community and Marketing intern for Women in Tech Revolution to improve HR diversity and inclusion practices by empowering professional female communities outside and within the sector. Iman is also an active volunteer for the Islamic Association of North London (IANL) where she acts as a youth development officer that facilitates positive community development activities for the local young Muslim population. Similarly advocating for Muslim student needs within sports at Loughborough, Iman works with fellow CITHEI doctoral research Rhianna Garrett on implementing Rhianna’s ‘Active Together’ sports diversity and inclusion project from University of Exeter to Loughborough University and London.

PhD research description

Iman’s PhD project aims at developing a framework for designing anti-racist and intersectional approaches in social sciences and business studies. The first strand will use mapping and content analysis techniques to chart the design and language of existing decolonising projects. The second strand will use qualitative interviewing techniques to explore the perceptions of change among professionals and students who are actively involved in curriculum decolonisation. This project will extend scholarship on how long-term societal change can be achieved by shifting the centre of gravity of canonical structures in education.

PhD supervisors

Iman is currently being supervised by Linn Eleanor Zhang, Cristian Tileagă and Iris Wigger.

Awards, grants or scholarships received

During her time as the Postgrad Support and Social Network (PSSN) committee chairperson, Iman won a Loughborough Academic Award and the Loughborough Experience Award for eight months of her work as PSSN's chairperson that revolutionised the postgraduate taught experience at Loughborough University London. She spearheaded innovative communication flows, collaborations and partnerships with Loughborough University’s student bodies and LSU key departments to launch 15+ sports, arts and community social events for London students through offline and online channels.

Interests and activities

Iman currently leads as a committee chairperson for the Postgraduate Social and Support Network (PSSN) and sits on Loughborough Students' Union's BAME Student Council, BAME Consortium, Academic Experience Board and the Doctoral Researcher Council to advocate and improve the student experience for Loughborough University London students.

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