Mar 31, 2017 12:04 PM EDT
Oxford University will showcase a new series of portraits celebrating women and ethnic minorities. Over 20 new portraits were commissioned in a bid to diversify the range of alumni and staff. The portraits are a mix of paintings and photographs
Trudy Coes, Oxford University's Head of the Equality and Diversity Unit told CNN that they're not taking down a single portrait and that they recognize the huge achievements previously at Oxford. At the same time supplement and better reflect the current diversity.
The series are mostly female and will include people with disabilities, gays, lesbians, ethnic minorities and several prominent men. Coe said that the series shows the visible landscape of the university. One in four students are student of color and there has been a shift in terms of more women and people with disabilities attending the university.
Over a hundred nominations, the subjects of the new portraits were selected by a committee. The two main criterias for consideration were that the nominee had to still be an active part of the Oxford community and they were people making a difference nationally or internationally.
The Gant Daily reported the new portraits also intend to celebrate invisible diversity, which are individuals that outwardly appear no different from others, but may have experienced mental health problems, or had a different sexual orientation in an era when it was prohibited said Coe. Oxford traditionally honored academics, the new series will celebrate a broader range of achievements, she added.
The series included novelist Jeanette Winterson, human rights campaigner Kumi Naidoo, journalist Reeta Chakrabarti, activist and broadcaster Esther Rantzen and director Ken Loach.
The new series of portraits has been in progress for the last four years and will go on display in Oxford later in the year. Coe said she hopes it will encourage even more students from different backgrounds to come to Oxford and it will also inspire the individual colleges and departments.
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