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Sociology in the Archives: Black and Asian activism by and for young people

A One Day Workshop

18 November 2019 (09:30–18:00)
British Library Knowledge Centre, London, UK 


  • Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Reader in Post‐Colonial Cultures at Sheffield Hallam University
  • Dr John Narayan, Lecturer in European and International Studies at King’s College London
  • Stephen Ashe, Researcher at the University of Manchester
  • Amelia Francis, PhD researcher at the University of Chichester and Young Historians Project (YHP)
  • Sue Lemos and Olivia Wyatt, Young Historians Project (YHP)
  • Daniel Frost, PhD student at University of Reading
  • Eshe Kiama Zuri, Jacob Oti‐Akenteng & Lisa Robinson, Black Lives Matter Nottingham Activist Group/BLMUK

About the Event

Racism has a significant impact on the lives of immigrants and racialised minority communities in Britain. This is evident in anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, demands for ‘assimilation’ and ‘integration’, criminalisation and securitisation of particular communities, and inequalities in terms of criminal justice, education, housing and healthcare, as well as more overt harassment, hate crime and far right activities. The experiences of young people are often at the heart of these struggles as examples such as cuts in social services, unequal employment opportunities, the attainment gap in universities, and challenges with the criminal justice system disproportionately affect youth from Black, Asian and other immigrant and racialised minority groups. However, in the face of these challenges, members of Black and Asian communities have a rich tradition of activism and community-led programmes in order to provide support and advocate for better conditions and social justice for young people. Representative examples include the anti-racist campaigns of the Asian Youth Movements on harassment from the police and fascists, the Black Parents Movement on access to quality education and others in the 1970s and 1980s and more contemporary examples such as Black Lives Matter UK. This workshop is part of the British Sociological Association-British Library project Sociology in the Archives that explores the use of archival research materials for sociological research. This year’s project, under the broad theme of race and ethnicity, examines young Black and Asian people’s involvement in activism in the UK.

This workshop aims to bring together scholars working on Black and Asian movements since the 1960s to examine both the history of activism for and by young people and reflections on this research, with an emphasis on research methods and particularly archives and oral history methods.

Papers will address young people’s campaigns or community activism and/or programmes advocating better opportunities for children and youth related to themes or sites of inequality, discrimination and activism, including:

  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Immigration
  • Housing
  • Employment Healthcare
  • Socio-economic inequality
  • Gender

Timeframe and Logistics

  • Potential participants should email an abstract of their intended presentation by 2 August 2019.
  • Applicants will be informed of acceptance by mid-August 2019.
  • Presenters must submit ‘work-in-progress’ papers of up to 3000 words two weeks in advance of the workshop on 18 November 2019 so they can be distributed and read by other participants.
  • After the workshop, papers will be considered for publication and a selection of authors invited to attend a further writing workshop. Please submit abstracts and bio sketches by email to Emma Abotsi and email if you have any questions.