Equal opportunities and photo opportunities

Wednesday June

Equal opportunities and photo opportunities: The politics of representation in the age of diversity with Prof Gary Younge.


To make sense of a moment in which Britain’s third female Prime Minister was succeeded by its first non-white Prime Minister – at a time of escalating inequality and intense racial animus towards refugees and asylum seekers – we must interrogate what we want both from diversity and representation. The aim should be to change the way a system works not simply the way that it looks, but we should also recognise that it is possible for organisations to appear different and still act the same. Only then can we understand that diversity’s essential value is not simply a goal in itself but as a route towards greater equality that it is tied to thoroughgoing institutional change and collective uplift. In the absence of such change perceived advances are symbolic but not substantial and benefit individuals but not groups. This cosmetic progress leaves both the dominant and the underrepresented cynical about the need and prospects for improvement.

Gary Younge is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and an award-winning author and broadcaster. Formerly a columnist at The Guardian he is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Alfred Knobler Fellow of Type Media in the US. His authored books include Another Day in the Death of America (2016) which won the Anthon J. Lukas prize from Columbia Journalism School (Columbia University) and the Nieman Foundation (Harvard University). His most recent book, Dispatches from The Diaspora – an anthology about black life from around the world – is scheduled to publish in 2023.

This event will take place in the SLSJ events space, ground floor.

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