Transnational Communities Programme

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Department of Sociology

"Participation and Representation of Black and Other Ethnic Minority People in Public Life"

Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October 2001

Burwalls Centre for Continuing Education, University of Bristol, Bristol

Recent events in Oldham and Bradford have once again forcefully demonstrated that the issues of 'race' and multiculturalism remain amongst the most pressing in British politics. Through their violent mode of expression, the ethnic minority youth do not only reveal the pervasiveness of the racial malaise in contemporary Britain, but they also raise serious concerns about the capacity of this country to ensure the establishment of a peaceful and harmonious multiracial and multicultural coexistence in the future. Analysing these urban unrests, media commentators have emphasised the dire realities of socio-economic deprivation and territorial concentration in marginalised neighbourhoods as relevant explanatory factors. They have also underlined other relevant aspects such as the demographic unevenness of ethnic minority communities, the difficult recognition of cultural and religious differences by local institutions and so on. Among all these facets of the everyday experience of black and ethnic minority people, there is one which has received insufficient attention and which is the blatant unevenness in the distribution of political power.

These tensions are far from being a UK exception. Other European countries and cities are confronting similar difficulties. The suburbs of French cities like Lyon, Paris, Lille and Strasbourg have witnessed outbreaks of urban violence on several occasions since the early eighties and all throughout the nineties. In Brussels, in the backyards of the headquarters of European Union institutions, seriously damaging episodes of street violence involving many youth of ethnic minority origin have taken place over the last decade. Besides the racial tension affecting new migrant communities in Southern Europe, all these events have led to important decisions and the reconsideration of multicultural and citizenship policies, all of which have inclined towards a more inclusive recognition of cultural diversity in the public sphere.

The Conference on the 'Participation and Representation of Black and Other Ethnic Minority People in Public Life' organised by the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship of Bristol University, in partnership with the Scrutiny and Equalities Unit of Bristol City Council, seeks to address this need for debate and intellectual exchange on the place of black and other ethnic minority people in public and political life. This objective will be achieved by a two day event which will bring together leading European and UK academic experts and practitioners. The conference will be the occasion of a launch of a report on ethnic minority participation in Bristol and will place the issues raised within the wider intellectual and political contexts.
The conference will pay specific consideration to the local level and to the experiences of cities and will also include a European comparative dimension. In line with this, the central themes that will form the main focus of the discussions during the Conference are the electoral political participation of ethnic minority people, the role of public policies in strengthening multicultural democracy at the local level, the changing conceptions of political representation, the place of cultural and religious identities in the public space, the emergence of black and ethnic minority politicians, etc.

SPEAKERS include:
Muhammad Anwar, University of Warwick-CRER (tbc)
Les Back, Goldsmiths University (tbc)
Hassan Bousetta, University of Bristol
Paul Burton, University of Bristol
Peter Courtier, Bristol Racial Equality Council
John Crowley, Centre d'Etudes et des Recherches Internationales (CERI)
Meindert Fennema, University of Amsterdam - IMES
David John, Bristol Race Forum (tbc)
Shahid Malik, CRE
Tariq Modood, University of Bristol
Anne Phillips, LSE
Marie Poinsot, ADRI-Paris
Tariq Ramadan, University of Lausanne
John Solomos, Southbank University (tbc)
Judith Squires, University of Bristol
Paul Statham, University of Leeds, Centre for European Political Communications
Maqsoud Zamir, Former Bristol Councillor

The Conference will take place in Bristol on 12th and 13th of October at the Burwalls Centre for Continuing Education, University of Bristol, Bridge Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol BS8 3PD. Located by the dramatic Avon Gorge and beside the famous suspension bridge, yet close to the bars and cafes of elegant Clifton, Burwalls is a most attractive venue for a weekend conference.

Registration charge: £30 for the two days, £20 for one day (no registration charge for PhD students and volunteers of community and voluntary organisations).

Accommodation and meals: £60 (includes dinner on Friday, overnight Friday night stay, Saturday morning breakfast, Saturday lunch and all tea/coffee refreshments).

Also available at extra charge and by advanced booking: Friday lunch (£10.00 residents/£11 non-residents), Saturday dinner (£11.50 residents/£12.00 non-residents) and Saturday overnight stay (£28 bed and breakfast).

Please confirm all bookings by Friday 21st September. Send registration forms with cheques payable to 'University of Bristol' to Chamion Caballero at the address below, where further information may also be obtained:

Chamion Caballero, Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, Department of Sociology, University of Bristol, 12 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UQ
Tel. + (44 117) 954 5591


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