The Matthew Caygill Lecture, 17:30 – 19:00 3rd May 2017

Last year Taking Soundings tragically lost Matthew Caygill, a founder member and a dear friend.

Matthew worked at the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University, and they are going to hold an annual lecture in his name…

The School of Cultural Studies & Humanities is pleased to welcome Dr Madeleine Davis who will give the inaugural Matthew Caygill Lecture on a subject close to Matthew’s interests.

17:30 – 19:00 3rd May 2017, Leeds Beckett University, Rose Bowl Lecture Theatre B, City Campus

Madeleine Davis (Queen Mary, University of London) will speak on ‘‘Among the ordinary people’: the New Left and working class political organisation’. Madeleine specialises in the history of political thought, particularly the development of socialist thought in Britain in the twentieth century. She has published on the work of intellectuals and activists associated with the post-1956 British New Left, and has a forthcoming book on The British New Left and its Legacy.

Madeleine’s research overlaps with many of Matthew Caygill’s historical interests as well as the contemporary concerns and challenges facing political activists. Matthew, a much loved and respected colleague, teacher, activist and friend who passed away suddenly in 2016, was keen to help students and younger researchers to think through ideas – particularly related to political ideology and social and cultural theory – and apply them to their own research. He had recently started his own PhD research into the cultural politics of the New Left during the 1960s.

Matthew was an integral member of staff in the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities, not least as our long-serving UCU rep. He taught on multiple courses since the university’s days as a polytechnic, organised memorable student trips to Berlin and Paris, and even taught students from other schools in the university. A committed interdisciplinarian, passionate educator, and staunch political activist, Matthew embodied Cultural Studies as we practice it in the classroom, through our research and in the wider community.

The event is free to attend, but booking is required. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-matthew-caygill-lecture-tickets-32401961138

 Refreshments will also be available at the event.

For further information, please contact Shane Ewen by email at s.ewen@leedsbeckett.ac.uk, or by telephone on 0113 812 3340.

Milena Buchs: Postgrowth: what about welfare and wellbeing? (16 March)

Leeds Taking Soundings presents:

Postgrowth: what about welfare and wellbeing?

Milena Buchs
In recent years, ideas of postgrowth economies have been gaining much wider appeal. This approach is based on critiques of economic growth from environmental and social perspectives, and on increasing fears about whether Western economies are entering an era of “secular stagnation”. In this setting, economic growth becomes both less desirable and less achievable.

All this has important implications for debates about the future of welfare and wellbeing. Advocates of postgrowth offer many good arguments about how social wellbeing can be maintained and even improved. However, they require more critical consideration. This is because the present welfare state and wellbeing are tightly coupled with growth-based capitalist market economies.

This talk aims to provide an overview and invites discussion of the main arguments about welfare and wellbeing in the postgrowth debate which is also the focus of our current Palgrave Pivot book project (co-authored with Max Koch).

Milena Buchs is an Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics, and Low Carbon Transitions at the University of Leeds. Milena’s background is in sociology and social policy. Her current research focusses on the relationship between low carbon transitions, welfare and well-being.  More here

Twitter: @mmbuchs

VENUE: Room CL311, Calverley Building, Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane

TIME: 6 pm – 730 pm, Thursday 16th March, 2017

HOW TO FIND US: Enter the university through the huge glass doors opposite the Dry Dock on Woodhouse Lane.  Walk straight ahead, descending a flight of about ten stairs. Turn right at the next set of stairs and get into the lift in Calverley Building. CL 311 is on the third floor.

For disabled access, please ask the staff at the reception desk on the right, through the glass doors.

Taking Soundings on The Northern Powerhouse with Dr Arianna Giovannini, 14 Feb 2017

TAKING SOUNDINGS IN LEEDS PRESENTS

Dr Arianna Giovannini on

The Northern Powerhouse and devolution: revolution or chaos?

The Northern Powerhouse agenda, and the devolution deals associated with it, were presented by George Osborne as the making of a ‘devolution revolution’ in the North of England. But while the signing of the ‘Devo Manc’ agreement has followed a rather smooth path, the plan is developing in an uneven way across other parts of the North, especially in the aftermath of Brexit and of Osborne’s departure as Chancellor.

The aim of this talk is to highlight the key issues underpinning the Northern Powerhouse and Devo-Deal discourses, questioning whether these strategies have the potential to lead to a more economically, politically and socially sustainable system of governance across the North. To unpack this argument, I will draw on the case of Yorkshire—an area that seems to epitomise most of the idiosyncrasies implicit in the current devolution agenda for the North of England.

It will be argued that, beyond rhetoric, the Northern Powerhouse and Devo-Deals agreements in the North are still part of an un-codified, ‘muddled’ process based on a centrally orchestrated patchwork of spatial and governance ‘fixes’ that lack a common purpose, a sound democratic basis and, crucially, a clear roadmap.

pastedGraphic.png

Dr. Arianna Giovannini is a Lecturer in Local Politics at the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University, Leicester. Her research focuses on territorial politics and devolution in the UK, with a particular emphasis on the ‘English Question’ and the case of the North of England. Currently, her work in this area concentrates on the tensions between technocratic and democratic approaches to devolution in the context of the recent ‘Devo Deals’ and ‘Northern Powerhouse’ agenda, as well as on the link between territorial identity and devolution in the North.

She is on Twitter @AriannaGi

VENUE: Room CL311, Calverley Building, Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane,

DATE & TIME: 6 – 7.30pm, Tuesday 14th February 2017.

HOW TO FIND US: Enter the university through the huge glass doors opposite the Dry Dock on Woodhouse Lane.  Walk straight ahead, descending a flight of about ten stairs. Turn right at the next set of stairs and get into the lift in Calverley Building. CL 311 is on the third floor. For disabled access, please ask the staff at the reception desk on the right, through the glass doors.

The populist moment: how to respond? (14 Dec 2016)

Leeds Taking Soundings’ next Readers’ Meeting will examine the new populism, focusing on Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US, but other countries will no doubt come into focus too.

For the meeting, we will have read this article by Chantal Mouffe (on populism), this article by Paul Mason (on Brexit) and this article by Zymunt Bauman (on Trump).

We welcome anyone who would like to join in an open-ended discussion. No charge.

The discussion will start at 7.30pm and end at 9pm (or earlier if we dry up). Then anyone who feels like a festive drink will repair to a nearby hostelry.

It’s on Wednesday 14th December. The discussion will be at Leeds Becket University’s city centre campus, in the Portland building, room 408. [CC PD408] This is best accessed through the huge glass doors on Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Dry Dock pub. There should be a helpful security person at the desk on your right. If not, walk past the library and the Grumpy Mule cafe area, down two flights of steps to the lifts on your left. Up to the fourth floor, room 408. This web-page might help.

 

Zygmunt Bauman speaks in Leeds on 30th November

Taking Soundings is delighted to host Zygmunt Bauman on Wednesday 30th November 2016. (Venue details below.) The title of Prof Bauman’s talk is

“Some comments on current social and political tendencies”

img_0030

Zygmunt Bauman, launching Taking Soundings in Leeds on 16th January 2007. (Photo: Guy Farrar.)

“Some comments on current social and political tendencies”

Zygmunt Bauman will be offering his answer to these two questions:

  1. What do Brexit and Trump tell us about the state of society today?
  2. What does the moral panic about the “influx of immigrants” tel us about society today?

You can get a preview of his analysis in this interview (released on 14.11.16) with Social Europe.

Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds, is one of the world’s leading sociologists. He is the author of more than 70 books, translated into many languages. (Wiki’s version of Bauman’s biography, ideas and Bibliography is here.)

He is one of the most persuasive of commentators on the effects of what he has called ‘liquid modernity’, pointing to its rampant inequality and the transition it makes from a welfare state to a security state.

Bauman’s analysis, we suggest, should inform the new progressive, left-alliance politics that is emerging in response to the authoritarian populist movements of the political right.

After his lecture, Max Farrar, who was a student of Zygmunt Bauman’s, will offer an appreciation of his work.

Date: Wednesday 30th November 2016

Time: 6 – 8 pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre C444, on the fourth floor of The Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University, Portland Crescent, Leeds LS1 3HB

Free event: pay as you can afford.

 

 

Telling the Truth about Asylum, 15 June 2016, 6pm

The next meeting of Taking Soundings in Leeds:

Lorna Gledhill on the Refugee Crisis: ‘Telling the Truth about Asylum: Changing the Narrative’ 

Faced with the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, how we talk about people seeking safety is incredibly important. However, certain messages have dominated public and political conversations about migration; some voices have been louder than others. This narrative has shaped the European response to the refugee crisis, with many countries shoring up their border rather than providing protection. Swarms, floods, and marauding migrants: we’ve all read the headlines.

We’ll be looking at how the language surrounding the refugee crisis has informed and influenced the way in which refugees have been welcomed and unwelcomed in Europe, whose stories have been heard and whose have been silenced, and think about what we can do to tell a different story. We will also discuss practical actions the Regional Asylum Activism Project and others engage in.

Lorna Gledhill is the Yorkshire and Humberside Activism Coordinator for the Regional Asylum Activism Project. She works with colleagues in the West Midlands and the North West to campaign for the rights of people seeking refugee protection in the UK. She is also a member of the David Oluwale Memorial Association’s Advisory Group.

Meeting information

At 6PM on Wednesday, June 15th at Leeds Beckett University, City Site

Calverley Building (CL) Room 211

Please note, this is not our normal venue. The Calverley building is best accessed through the huge glass doors opposite  opposite the Dry Dock pub, on grass Woodhouse Lane, opposite the multi-storey car park (which is probably the best place to park if you are driving).  Thought the glass doors, past the library on your left, past the Grumpy Mule café, then down the stairs until you reach the foyer. Use the lifts on the left of the foyer reception desk to get to the second floor, where you’ll find Room 211. Give yourself some extra time to find this if you haven’t been there before. Apologies for the inconvenience.

European Union: Should leftists vote Brexit or Remain?

Leeds Taking Soundings’ next meeting is a debate about the referendum on the European Union.

On Tuesday, May 17th at 6PM in Leeds Beckett University, Calverley (CL)211.

 Please note change of location: instead of Broadcasting Place, we are meeting on the other side of the road in the main complex of Leeds Beckett University City Site. Enter through the main Woodhouse Lane entry in front of the Sheila Silver Library, past the library towards the Grumpy Mule cafe. There will be signposts towards the Calverley Building. The meeting is on the second floor.

Arguing to leave the EU will be Neil Davidson.

image001Neil  lectures in sociology at the University of Glasgow and is a member of rs21, RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance, and the Radical Independence Campaign. He is the author of several books, including the Deutscher Prize-winning Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003) and How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? (2012) His most recent book is Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition (2016).

Arguing for ‘Remain’ will be Pete Green.

image002Pete is a member of Left Unity and was formerly a Left Unity national speaker, a retired FE lecturer and union branch secretary, now writing a book on ‘Marx, Keynes and the Austrians’.

As always we will be aiming at delivering a friendly and educational discussion about a vital issue. Please contact Matthew Caygill at m.caygill@leedsbeckett.ac.uk for further information.

 

Tuesday, May 17th at 6PM in Leeds Beckett University, Calverley (CL)211. (See above for directions on the venue.)

 

 

Dave Webb speaks about Trident

6pm, Wednesday 17th February, Broadcasting Place BPAG10 (Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton)
Dave is a Professor Emeritus of Leeds Beckett University, a member of the Green Party and Chair of CND – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Trident has emerged as a key political issue in British politics – a major fault line in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
The United Kingdom has been committed to nuclear submarines carrying nuclear weapons as a supposed contribution to keeping global peace via the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) since 1969. Since the 1990s the nuclear missiles have been American Trident missiles. The British state is about to decide on a renewal programme with replacements designed to come into action in the 2020s. This has had the support of both Conservative and Labour parties, but with the leadership of the Labour Party now in the hands convinced of the Unilateralist case the issue has become very real. The cost will be huge.
Leeds Taking Soundings wants to discuss the political issues involved – Dave will present the case against Trident with expert knowledge, but we also want to consider what the alternatives are – for world peace and the economy of the UK. Leading unions have taken up positions in support of Trident arguing that their members’ jobs are at risk, so what is the alternative?
Timing of the meeting is strongly affected by the campaign against Trident: there is going to be a big and important national demonstration against Trident on Saturday February 27th and we would ask you to consider supporting this demonstration.
For more details of Soundings meeting contact Matthew Caygill at m.caygill@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.CND
Leeds Taking Soundings hold regular discussion meetings on matters of interest to left-wingers and progressives. Email Matthew at the above address if you want to be on our distribution list.
See the CND web-site: http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/no-to-trident

Leeds Taking Soundings Readers Meetings – Is the World ‘Awash with Hatred’?

Paul Mason6pm Wednesday, 10th February in Broadcasting Place Boardroom (opposite the Fenton pub).

PAUL MASON, the economics editor of Channel 4 News, Guardian journalist, soul fan, and author of a range of books, wrote a short article recently declaring that the world today is “awash with hatred.”

Do we share his concerns about the way things are developing?

If not, what’s he getting wrong and, if so, what might be done about it?

This is to be the discussion at the next Taking Soundings Readers’ Meeting at 6 pm on Wednesday 10th February at our usual venue, the Boardroom in Broadcasting Place (opposite the Fenton).

Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/11/mein-kampf-returns-to-germany-world-awash-with-hatred

As a companion piece (for eager readers), this article by Jonathan Freedland focuses on the dangerous soap opera that is unfolding – the Republic party’s leadership race – and the alliance of two cartoonish yet scary political characters; Donald Trump and Sarah Palin

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/23/trump-palin-funny-no-joke-republican-starsTrump Palin

 

Come along and share your views.

Antonio Martinez-Arboleda on ‘Spain: the Hothouse of the Left’

6pm Wednesday 20th January 2016 in Broadcasting Place BPA312 (Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton), Leeds Beckett University

The evolution of the Spanish Radical Left after the 15M Indignados movement of 2011-13 has been fascinating. A number of very diverse organisations, old and new, now live together in a demanding and blurring electoral space. Podemos, the new main actor of the Radical Left, has moderated its revolutionary language, discourse and programme, whilst the rest of the Radical Left forces are rapidly adapting to the new scenario. Is the Radical Left in Spain liquidated or simply liquefied?

Antonio Martinez-Arboleda, Principal Teaching Fellow in Spanish at the University of Leeds, will discuss the transformation of the Spanish Radical Left in the last 2 years. He will examine the December general election results, identifying the challenges that the different parties and movements of the Radical Left face.antonio