Public Lecture Series 2013: Social Cohesion is More Important than Multi-Culturalism

Starts: Monday 4 March 2013 7:00 pm
Ends: Monday 4 March 2013 9:00 pm
Event type Public Lecture
Location Main Auditorium, Eastern Gateway Building
Multi-culturalism encompasses a variety of cultural differences, including those based on ethnicity, religion, class and sexuality. Is multi-culturalism leading to a breakdown in social cohesion?

Speakers: Professor James Knowles, Dr Sarita Malik, Professor Ian Rivers, Professor Benjamin Zephaniah
Chair: Professor Justin Fisher

Multi-culturalism is not just about race and ethnicity. Rather, it encompasses a variety of cultural differences, including those based on ethnicity, religion, class and sexuality. And, multi-culturalism is not a new phenomenon – it has always existed, not only in Britain but also around the world. Yet, it has recently been presented as being something that is in crisis, with some arguing that this is leading to a breakdown in social cohesion. The result is that some aspects of multi-culturalism have been subjected to increasing hostility. These lectures consider not only why multi-culturalism has been presented as a threat to social cohesion (and whether such concerns are justified), but also whether concepts such as minority rights may be augmented, but also jeopardised by multi-culturalism.

Speaker profiles

James Knowles 

James Knowles specialises in early modern literature and culture. He has written widely on Ben Jonson, the masque, and regional literary cultures in early modern Britain and Ireland, as well as on cultural exchanges between the British isles, Europe, and India and the Far East. He co-curated the 'Royalist Refugees' exhibition at the Rubenshuis, Antwerp (2006), and 'The well travelled book: the Book of Lismore', at the Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2011), and he is currently advising English Heritage on the re-display of Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Sarita Malik

Dr Sarita Malik is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Communications. Her doctoral research, based at the British Film Institute, analysed the history of Black and Asian representation on British television and was supervised by the renowned sociologist, Stuart Hall. Subsequently she worked for the BBC as a Researcher, and later as an Arts Programmer, research bid writer and Research Fellow on a large ESRC project exploring public understandings of regulation.

Sarita’s academic research is focused on how social processes and systems operate in relation to ideology and inequalities, with a particular focus on the relationship between the media and cultural representation. Current projects examine cultural diversity and public service broadcasting, reality TV and discourses of equality, and black and Asian British cinema. She has recently been the recipient of two Arts and Humanities Research Council awards on projects looking at the relationship between communities and screen culture. She is also working on helping the British Film Institute develop its Diversity policies through related research.

Sarita frequently blogs for The Guardian and contributes to a wide range of print and web publications. Media appearances have included Channel 4, the BBC, Sky Television and Russia Today.

Ian Rivers

Ian Rivers is a chartered psychologist and HCPC registered Health Psychologist.  He is  Professor of Human Development at Brunel University and a visiting professor within the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University. Ian is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the American Psychological Association and has conducted extensive large-scale studies on bullying behaviour and discrimination among UK school-aged children.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham. His poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’. His first real public performance was in church when he was 10 years old. By the time he was 15 he had developed a strong following in his home town of Handsworth where he had gained a reputation as a young poet who was capable of speaking on local and international issues.  

At the age of 22 he headed south to London where his first book PEN RHYTHM was published. The book did very well, but it was in performance that the Dub (Reggae) Poet would cause a revolution, injecting new life into British poetry. During the riots (or uprising) in Brixton, Liverpool, Handsworth and Tottenham in the 1980’s he was seen as an important voice representing black youth. He is also seen as one of the founders of the performance poetry scene, and he is a regular contributor to programmes on BBC Radio 4. Benjamin's mission has always been to take poetry everywhere, and as part of this mission he is one of the British Council’s most prolific ambassadors.

Page last updated: Tuesday 22 January 2013