28 September 2018
Taking Up Space placeholder book cover

There is a serious problem in education. Over the last few years a number of reports have drawn the same conclusions about a lack of diversity and inclusion in universities, and yet nothing has really changed. Higher education is still a vital springboard to personal and professional success. Yet for many people, university is a distant dream, or an impossibility. And for those that go, it’s an unnecessary struggle. Taking Up Space aims to change that.

Regardless of who you are and where you study, your university years are transformative. They are a first taste of independence, and the beginning of a difficult transition into adulthood. As if this process isn’t challenging enough, navigating higher education as a black girl is a unique experience, especially when you go to one of the whitest universities in the country, the University of Cambridge. Centred around the narratives of two recent Cambridge graduates, and interspersed with their conversations with students past and present, Taking Up Space is a guide and a manifesto for change: tackling the challenges of access, unrepresentative curriculums, discrimination in the classroom, the problems of activism and life before and after university.

Upon the announcement of the book, authors Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi commented: ‘Diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords, especially in education, but it is time that we had honest conversations about what those two words truly mean, especially for young black girls. Through our stories and the experiences of past and present university students, this book seeks to fill the gap of often incomplete conversations about widening participation and inclusion at university. It will be the book that we wish we had before going into university and we hope it provides a comfort to those who will inevitably share our experiences.’

Editor Tom Avery of William Heinemann and Cornerstone added: ‘Chelsea and Ore are two young writers of extraordinary talent and ability, and two writers determined to tackle what is one of the biggest issues in education and in society today with intelligence, insight and humour. Taking Up Space will be an important book: an indispensable guide as well as a manifesto for real and lasting change, and a project we are extremely proud to be publishing here at Penguin Random House and #Merky Books.’

Taking Up Space will be published by #Merky Books in summer 2019, and you can  pre-order the book here.

Related articles