Dr Philippa Townsend wins College Recognition Award for Advancing Inclusion

Congratulations to Dr Philippa Townsend who has been recognised for her work in advancing diversity in Divinity.

Dr Philippa Townsend has won the CAHSS Recognition Award for Advancing Inclusion. This is a great achievement and reflects all the work Dr Townsend has done towards advancing diversity in Divinity.  

The award, voted for by staff, is given to an individual or group who makes an outstanding contribution to progressing inclusion at the University. It aims to recognise those who celebrate diversity and difference and encourage others to do the same. It recognises those who challenge discrimination and unfairness by working to eliminate such inequity.  

Dr Townsend is a Chancellor’s Fellow in New Testament and Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Divinity.  

One of her key achievements in this role is the founding of the new network of “Staff and Students of Colour + Allies”, along with Dr Shadaab Rahemtulla. This provides a social and safe space for people of colour at the School of Divinity, and provides a forum for discussion among people of all ethnic backgrounds about how race equality can be promoted at the School.  

Dr Townsend has also been at the forefront of more recent discussions at the School which focus on decolonising the curriculum of Biblical Studies and the broader discipline of Divinity. The “Decolonising the Curriculum” working group, set up by Townsend, aims develop strategies for how to include a genuine diversity of voices and experience in the curriculum, as well as examining the ways in which racism and the aftermath of colonialism have shaped modern universities and systems of knowledge.  

This award also acknowledges Dr. Townsend’s adaption of social and safe spaces during the pandemic. She ensured school support networks, such as the NC Pride (LGBT+) group and PG lunch conversations, were moved online and continued their important work. 

Philippa has been an outstandingly committed holder of the post over the last year. She built on the success of her predecessors, who had spearheaded the School’s gaining of the first ever Theology and Religious Studies departmental Athena Swan Silver Award, by consolidating and extending the School’s contribution to gender equality and moving to do similar work on LGBT+ issues and issues of anti-racism, social inclusion and decolonising the curriculum. 

These initiatives have had palpable results in building up relationships between students and staff across gender, sexual and ethnic differences. 

Congratulations to Dr Townsend on winning the award! 


Dr Philippa Townsend's staff profile

Decolonising Divinity: A Roundtable Discussion

CAHSS Recognition Awards