The permanence of systemic racism in the UK and USA means that Black people are disadvantaged in myriad ways, including within the Academy. While the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, alongside the Black Lives Matter movement, has increased awareness of the challenges faced by Black communities, these issues remain, both in and beyond higher education. Furthermore, there is still a paucity of research individualising the experiences of Black people, who are often homogenised with other ethnic minority groups. This paper explores the impact of COVID-19 on UK and US Black students and academic staff, utilising a critical race theory (CRT) framework. Analysis revealed that Black students and staff experienced COVID-19 against the backdrop of racism as a “pandemic within a pandemic” (Laurencin and Walker, Cell Systems 11:9–10, 2020), including racial (re)traumatisation, loneliness and isolation. Other themes included precarious employment and exploitation. Recommendations are offered for penetrative interventions that can support Black students and staff in the wake of strained race relations neglecting their adverse experiences and a global pandemic.


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Cite as

Arday, J. & Jones, C. 2022, 'Same storm, different boats: the impact of COVID-19 on Black students and academic staff in UK and US higher education', Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-022-00939-0

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Last updated: 01 November 2022
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