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Black Women’s Narratives of NHS Work-Based Learning: An Ethnodrama

The Difference between Rhetoric and Lived Experience

Peggy Warren

This is an eight-scene drama portraying black women reliving their journey through higher education and work-based learning. Black women’s voices are the focus, reflecting on the complexities and dynamics of institutional power, professional exploitation, silencing, subordination and non-transformative education. A black feminist standpoint theoretical approach with an autoethnographic presentation invites the reader into the camaraderie, emotions, tears and laughter of a cohort of mature black healthcare workers engaging in a foundation degree with a promise of promotion. The author captures the voices of the women, weaves in her own account and sets the stories in fictional locations. Using cultural sayings, black philosophy and black music in a creative way, this work offers a platform from which to start discussions on black women’s labour in the NHS.

Peggy P. Warren is a transformative educator who is on her third career in the National Health Service. Most recently she has led in the areas of leadership and management development and diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. She has worked for decades in the field of work-based learning, supporting staff predominantly working in low-skilled, low-paid roles who were determined to make the most of second-chance educational opportunities. Her key research interests include black women, diversity and autoethnography. She is committed to making research accessible to wider communities and has had her research reworked for theatre production.