October 24, 2023 | University Partners

Staff and Students of LJMU celebrate South Asian and East South-east Asian Heritage Month

'Cultivating Representation: If you can see it, you can be it’

The Diversity and Inclusion event held at the Student Life Building this week ‘Cultivating Representation: If you can see it, you can be it’ was open to all staff and students to celebrate South Asian (SA) and East South-east Asian (ESEA) Heritage Month and highlight the importance of representation and its role in empowering individuals, especially within the SA and ESEA communities.

Moni Akinsanya, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Dr Denise Lee, Associate Dean Diversity and Inclusion (Faculty of Engineering and Technology) welcomed staff and students to the event.

Moni Akinsanya said: “Not many people have heard of ESEA Heritage Month. It’s an annual celebration that was launched in September 2021 to give visibility to the history, heritage, and contributions of E&SEA people in Britain.

"At LJMU, we see it as necessary to celebrate our South Asian and ESEA community of staff and students this month, as we have a staff and student body that represents more than 100 countries across the world, including E&SEA communities, and we want to ensure a sense of belonging for all.”

Attendees then listened to guest speakers:

  • Viv Yau, co-founder of Besea.n, Founder of Bee Influence and a British-Hakka-Chinese activist and entrepreneur
  • Ky Russell, an artist, creator, and music producer of Black American and Japanese heritage
  • Dr Pooja Saini, LJMU Reader in Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention, Co-chair of the Women Academics Network, and recipient of the National Asian Women of Achievement Award of British Indian heritage

The speakers all shared their work, their reflections and their own experiences coming from SA and ESEA heritage. Discussions included their thoughts on representation within the media and film industry, creative arts and music, and finding their place in society.

Dr Pooja Saini ended her presentation with the powerful message:

“Be you, not their version of you.”