Whilst it is important that field leaders consider EDI during fieldwork it is always a bit difficult to work out who is ultimately responsible.

We are just normal lecturers and not necessarily trained in dealing with many of these EDI issues. There is also a responsibility for students to disclose information before they go; they must take responsibility as well.  We have had situations where the student has disclosed information to the wider university, but that information has not been shared with us as field leaders. This makes it very difficult for us in planning. If we know early on, we can get things sorted weeks before the actual field courses. Something we now try to do is encourage students to seek the help they need rather than relying on pastoral help from academic members of staff who are not necessarily trained to deal with pastoral issues or who are unaware of the issues. We also need to avoid staff overstepping the boundary between what is academic support (which we are trained in) and what is pastoral support (which we are not experts in). I think this is a wider issue which needs to be considered and addressed.

There can be a real burden on students to provide the information that we need ahead of fieldtrips. Often universities, at the start of the courses, require students to disclose information. This can be very generic and can be very out of date. It doesn’t really pick up the information that we need for a field trip. So, for every trip we have a form that relies on students to provide us with information that is relevant and specific to the field trip.