Key details

Main Campus or online
Study Delivery
Face-to-face or online webinar
Course Duration
Half-day session


Re:Tension is a short 20-minute film that follows Thapelo, a bright and capable university student, on a day where he is unwittingly forced to question the judgements of his tutors and peers, and delve deeper into his own actions, choices and beliefs.

Re:Tension addresses the topic of institutional racism and the gap in student retention amongst BAME (Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic) students within British universities. The film was inspired by analysing statistical data that highlighted the unexplained dropout rate of BAME students.

The film attempts to provide a real insight into unconscious racial harassment within the higher education system and micro-aggressions that often go unnoticed.

The toolkit

The toolkit, developed by Associate Professors Syra Shakir and Ricardo Barker, uses Re:Tension and the aftermath debate to openly challenge racism and discrimination.

It encourages group discussion around accountability and responsibility, uses a theoretical model titled ‘The Forced Silence’ and Dr Sean Walton provides an exploration of Critical Race Theory in the fight against discrimination.

Black student sitting on a bench.

How is it delivered?

A half-day session delivered by Syra Shakir, Ricardo Barker and Sean Walton.

Following the screening of Re:Tension, Syra, Ricardo and Sean will begin the aftermath debate. The audience will be split into groups with opportunities to discuss the film, how it made them feel and feedback to the group. Attendees will be encouraged to share personal experiences and reflect on racial inequality in their institutions.

It is anticipated that the University will come away with actions that can be implemented.

How many people can attend?

There is no maximum number of attendees – the more people involved, the better.

Who should attend?

All staff members – lecturers, researchers, professional services, Leadership and Executive teams – we can offer separate sessions for different schools and departments if required.

All students, from any level and any subject background, including alumni.

How much does it cost?

In-person or online delivery for the full customised workshop (3 hours) with a bespoke follow-on online session (2 hours) for reflection and review within 3-6 months.

The cost in person is £7500 + travel costs and accommodation if necessary. Online delivery costs £6500. Customised and bespoke projects to be priced individually.

Meet your trainers

Re:Tension teaching staff sitting on a sofa.

Ricardo Barker

Ricardo Barker is an Associate Professor and multi-disciplinary Filmmaker with over 30 years’ experience in Drama, Documentary and Music. He joined Leeds Trinity University in 2008 and specialises in the practice of Film Making and Script writing. Re:Tension, a short film written, Directed and produced by Ricardo about institutional racism and micro-aggressions within Higher Education, was nominated for Best Educational Film at the 2020 Learning on Screen Awards and was also Screened at the 17th Festival International Du Film Panafricain De Cannes. As a freelance filmmaker, Ricardo has produced and directed content for BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

Syra Shakir

Syra Shakir is an Associate Professor in Learning and Teaching at Leeds Trinity University. Syra works on embedding race equity in the curriculum, decolonisation, anti-racist pedagogy and co-creation with students to build belonging. Syra collaborated with film maker Ricardo Barker to develop a toolkit for tackling racism in higher education using film and the aftermath debate. Syra is also a qualified social worker with children and families.

Dr Sean Walton

Dr Sean Walton is an academic and educationalist who has previously worked in a variety of roles related to education and educational development, including as an Advisor in the (then) Higher Education Academy’s research and evaluation team; as a Senior Lecturer in Education; as the International Director for a faculty of education; and as the Head of a Centre for Educational Development within a large and diverse Northern university. Sean’s teaching-related roles, and research, focus on: Critical pedagogy; critical race theory in higher education; Marxism and education; critical theory; and issues of social justice within the education system. I am also interested in the philosophy of education, inclusive educational policy and practice, and wider societal issues related to education.

Book a session

For more information or to book your session, please contact us

Email the team