Date range
1 November 2018, 10:00am to 2 November 2018, 2:40pm
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This conference explores how inequality, identity, and belonging intersect with race in Britain.

In the wake of the Brexit referendum, a renewed debate on Britishness and British identities emerged, which challenged claims to belonging by long-established parts of the population. With the Windrush scandal and the creating of a purposefully ‘hostile environment’ for certain immigrant groups, the government faced accusations of racism.

The experience of inequalities based on skin colour or ethnic (and other) identities continues to shape the lives of many people in Britain.

This event is hosted in partnership with the Runnymede Trust, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Runnymede Trust is the UK's leading, independent race equality think tank. It generates intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.


Participants in this conference will engage in dialogue and debate about:

  • The meaning of citizenship in post-Empire Britain
  • The language we use to talk about diversity
  • How public prejudice towards Gypsies, Roma and Travellers has been termed ‘the last acceptable form of racism’.

Sessions will include: 

  • Race, Multiculturalism, Pluralism: What Are We Talking About?

  • Empire and Nation: The role of the past on race and identity in Britain today

  • From Windrush to Brexit: Race, Identity, and Citizenship in Post-Empire Britain

  • Faith and Belonging in Britain

  • Race, Class, and Inequality

  • Covert Racism: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

The full conference programme can be downloaded from this webpage.


Guest speakers participating in the conference include: 

  • Claire Alexander - Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

  • Lord Bourne - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

  • Zamila Bunglawala, Deputy Director - Strategy and Insight, Race Disparity Unit at the Cabinet Office

  • Rita Chadha - Interim Director, Migrants' Rights Network

  • Rabbi Helen Freeman - West London Synagogue

  • Maya Goodfellow - Freelance writer and columnist                

  • Elizabeth Henry - National Race and Ethnicity Adviser, Church of England

  • Sunder Katwala - Director, British Future

  • Shelina Zahra Janmohamed - British writer

  • Nasar Meer - Professor of Race, Inequality, Citizenship, University of Edinburgh

  • Professor James Nazaroo - Deputy Director, Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE)

  • Lucinda Platt - Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, LSE

  • Dr Faiza Shaheen - Director, Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS)

  • Jasvir Singh OBE - Chair, City Sikhs

  • Lisa Smith - Youth Programme Leader, Traveller Times 

  • Dr Sunny Singh - Writer

  • Patrick Vernon OBE - Social activist and commentator   


We will be holding a policy-focussed consultation to distil some of the learning from the conference, later in the series. We will also be publishing a report based on the outcomes of the conference and consultation, delegate blogs, and other forms of accessible learning resources to inform a wider audience.

Current series

Our 2018-19 series, ‘Identities & Belonging’, addresses pressing social and political issues through a multidisciplinary exploration of increasingly fluid identities and visions of belonging in 21st Century Britain and beyond.


Attendance at some of our events is by 'invitation only' because places are limited, and we aim to ensure a balanced and diverse representation of backgrounds and perspectives to enhance the quality of our dialogue and debate.

To register an interest in any of the events taking place, please contact our Programme Department at or call 01784 497796.

Event Type