Ethnic minorities are better qualified but get fewer opportunities

We have received these important findings from the communications company working for a research group a Manchester University:

Better qualified but fewer opportunities

The British workplace is not as fair as many assume it to be. That is the implication of a comprehensive report compiled by the University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity. It concludes that white ethnic groups have a clear advantage in the labour market, despite non-white people out-attaining them educationally.

For example, Indian, Bangladeshi, Irish, Chinese and black African students are more likely to obtain five or more GCSEs at grade A* to C than their white counterparts. In higher education, over 40% of Britain’s Chinese, Indian and Black African groups have degree-level qualifications, compared with just 26% of white people.

Some of these well-educated members of minority groups do, of course, manage to fight their way into clerical, professional and managerial employment. However, the vast majority are facing what the report’s authors called “significant barriers to enjoying the levels of social mobility of their white British peers”.

Indeed, statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that unemployment among ethnic minority groups is rising rather than falling. Between 2012 and 2013, it increased from 13% to 14% – compared with the country’s overall figures of 8% and 7% respectively.

This infographic explores the data.

Connecting with the arts in general and books in particular

An excellent new website has just appeared which connects up all the many and various arts activities in and around Leeds.  It provides news, reviews, profiles and links to dozens of cultural providers. It will tell you what’s going on and provide a platform for all things cultural. It’s called State of the Arts and you can link to it here

The BigBookEnd festival is about to break out – a jamboree of talks and readings from books by Leeds-based authors from 29th May to 8th June. Headlining is Alan Bennett (well, he’s from Leeds), plus Anthony Clavane (well, he’s from Leeds, too) and including Taking Soundings speakers Tom Steele and Max Farrar, plus Emma Healey, Frances Brady and SJ Bradley.  The full programme can be downloaded here Big BookEnd prog_bbe14 (2) and you can visit its website here 

Emily Marshall and Anyaa Anim-Addo on Stuart Hall (14th May)

Here are some hints of the pleasures in store for you at the Taking Soundings event this Wednesday.

Dr Emily Marshall says: “I will be looking at Stuart Hall’s essay ‘New Ethnicities’ in some detail, as well as some of his most recent work and discussing his influence on my conceptualisation of identity and ethnicity (with a personal angle). I was also going to consider his complex relationship with his mother and his Jamaican roots.”

Dr Anyaa Anim-Addo says:

“I will be thinking from an Atlantic history perspective, and about the significance of Stuart Hall’s ideas for my understanding of the maritime world in the Caribbean.”

Max Farrar will be chairing the event and adding a few words about the influence of Stuart Hall on his own political and intellectual work.

Further information about the event is here

Reification and the crisis event on 25th March 2014

CSE Trans-Pennine Working Group

Friday 25th March, University of Leeds

Chris O’Kane (Sussex):  ‘Reification and Crisis’

2 – 4 pm, Beech Grove House

Chris’ work looks at Critical Theory and Marxism, and in particular at the notions of fetishism and social domination in the writing of Marx, Adorno, Lukacs and Lefebvre, amongst others. You can access his popular blog here , and a range of his recent papers can be viewed here

All welcome!

Leeds for Change – launch of the new hub website for radicals (April 2014)

Taking Soundings has been working with Tidal and Together for Peace since the Spring of 2012 to create a new hub website to link all the progressive organisations and individuals in Leeds.  Our aims are to make it simple for everyone to know what’s going on, make it easier easier to get involved, and therefore to help build the movements for social change.

We’ve done a lot of consultation, and raised a lot of money.  We have been able to build an exceptionally sophisticated website.  Anyone, or any organisation, who agrees with our core values – solidarity, justice and equality – can join. (Organisations pay a small fee.)  All members can post entails of their events, share their resources, write blog posts, and more.  Anyone, whether or not they are a member, can use the site to find out about everything that’s being done (and thought about) to change Leeds (and maybe the world) for the better.

The beta version of the site is being launched on Monday 7th April 2014, but all the tickets for that festive event disappeared as soon as they were advertised.

If you click here you’ll find out more.  Watch this space for details of how you can sign up.

Deep divisions even among the rich

A recent article in the Financial Times (14.2.14) opened with this:

A deep divide has opened among Britain’s high earners, with an “über-middle” elite reaping the rewards of globalisation while millions of “cling-on” professionals struggle to sustain a middle class lifestyle.

An analysis of almost 40 years’ worth of data on salaries for the Financial Times has found that a large, highly qualified group has slipped down the economic league table. The findings starkly illustrate the growing inequality, driven by the highest earners, that policy makers are grappling with. President Barack Obama hasidentified the divide as a central theme of his second term.

 We don’t feel terribly sorry for anyone among this group of high earners, but it’s clearly an important result of neo-liberal policies and will therefore shape political policy over the next few years.  More here 

Xenophobia underlies Cameron’s programme against the new migrants

Sociologists Malcolm James and Naaz Rashid attack the ConDem government for the xenophobia at the root of the recent announcements by David Cameron to restrict the rights of the Romanians and Bulgarians he imagines will flood into Britain in 2014. Gordon Brown and New Labour get some stick, too. More here. (Originally posted in openDemocracy 28.11.13.)

But there is resistance: here are some photos from the protest against the current Immigration Bill organised by Leeds No Borders, outside the UKBA office on Kirkstall Road, Leeds, on 21st November 2013

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Festival of Politics in Leeds from 4 to 8 November

Leeds Met’s School of Politcs and Applied Global Ethics has a full programme of events from Monday 4th to Friday 8th November, including:

– Roger MacGinty on peace building (Monday 1200)

– Andrew Grinnell on building civil society power locally (Tuesday 0930)

– Steve Wright on civilising the torture trade (Tues 1300)

– Sunder Katwala on immigration (Tues 1500)

– Peter Lees (on drones), Noel Sharkey (on robots) (Wednesday 1300)

– Experiences of Israel and Palestine (Wed 1800)

– Fred Pearce on peoplequake (Thurs 1130)

– James Meadway, Helen Flynn and Bill Adams: progressive alternatives to austerity (Thurs 1330)

– Alex Nunn and colleagues: mock UN debate on Syria (Friday 0930)

– Rachel Reeves ‘Building a One Nation Economy’ (Fri 1600)


Full details and registration form here

Cyril Pearce speaks on 1914-18 war resisters on 9th October

Organised by the Ford Maguire Society

Cyril Pearce (University of Leeds) is speaking about War Resisters  in the First World War

Cyril Pearce has been working on the history of British 1914-18 war resisters since before the publication in 2001 of his book Comrades in Conscience: the story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War. That book was a detailed exploration of the anti-war movement in his home town of Huddersfield. Since then he has extended his work to create a national picture based on an exhaustive database of British conscientious objectors. The database, now the Pearce CO Register, has been incorporated in the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ digital platform and is the basis for his new book, Communities of resistance: patterns of dissent in First World War Britain, to be published in 2014.

6PM, Weds, Oct 9th
Leeds Met University, Broadcasting Place (BPAG10), Woodhouse Lane

Stop the racist “Go Home” campaign

An early day motion is being presented to the House of Commons opposing the government’s “Go Home” campaign against migrants in the UK. It’s being supported by AARX, Action Against Racism and Xenophobia, a new group composed of academics working closely with activists in the ‘race’ field.  AARX arose out of articles commissioned by Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya and Dr Karim Murji on politically-engaged research on ‘race’. The early day motion and assistance with contacting your MP is set out here, on the AARX website.

(The articles, in the current issue of the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, can be accessed here, but are very expensive to download unless you can obtain them through a university library. If you aren’t easily linked to a university, we can probably find someone at Leeds Met who will do this for you if you really want to read any of them. Get in touch via our CONTACT link.)