Politics and International Relations Festival 2021

  • 09.00 - 17.00
  • 08 Jun 2021 - 17 Jun 2021
  • MS Teams
Politics and International Relations Festival 2021
The Politics and International Relations Festival is an annual series of events held by the Leeds School of Social Sciences for everyone interested in how politics shapes our lives.

The festival celebrates research highlighting how the world of politics and international relations enables us to understand and tackle issues like inequality, poverty and government decisions on education, health, and economic development.     

Enjoy a wide range of events that bring together UK and international policymakers and activists to debate many of the pressing challenges currently facing political leaders – including panel discussions with local politicians and expert analysts, workshops with human rights and development practitioners, discussions with journalists and environmental activists, and poetry readings.  

This year, many of our festival events will be virtual. Come join us as we discuss some of the world’s most challenging political issues of the day! 

Week 1

10:00-11:00 Countering Human Trafficking in Kenya

Haart Kenya are a leading NGO on preventing human trafficking in Kenya and working with survivors to improve policy responses. Leeds Beckett University have been working with them to collect the stories and narratives of survivors. Join Professor Rachel Julian and Radoslaw Malinowski to learn how survivors have influenced the campaigns to reduce human trafficking. 

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14:00-15:00 Work Placements, Internships and Applied Social Research

Jackie Carter is the author of ‘Work placements, internships and applied social research’ published in 2021. The book, which is theory and practice based, draws on seven years experience of setting up and running a paid internship programme for social science undergraduates. The book demystifies what experiential learning is, what applied social research means, and brings both to life by using case studies of former interns to show what is achievable through work placements. The ten case studies reflect students across the social sciences who undertook applied social research projects, in the workplace, prior to graduating.  

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15:00-16:00 How to use your skills to get graduate jobs

Professor Jackie Carter (University of Manchester) will take you through how you can reflect on your learning, focusing on your research and analytical skills and your professional - or soft skills - when applying for graduate jobs. Drawing on up to date reports from the British Academy, LinkedIn and MacKinsey, she presents frameworks and tools to help you understand how your degree has relevance to the workplace, and how you can evidence this. She will cover how experiential learning can be used in your future careers. 

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16:30-17:30 Widening Participation and Breaking Down Educational Barriers

What is our world going to look like if people seeking refugee protection cannot learn the skills they need to build the future? (STAR, 2017). People with a refugee or asylum seeker background, who have fled their home country to avoid war, torture or persecution, face unique challenges in accessing education.  They may struggle to access workplace opportunities and university-level study. This talk will discuss educational inequalities and the importance of widening participation. It will consider Student Action for Refugees’ (STAR) Equal Access Campaign, which aims to improve access to university with scholarship programs. We will be joined by Kidist Teklemariam, who will talk about her social enterprise ‘Unleashing Refugee Potential’, and a member of STAR’s Equal Access Network to talk about their personal experience of accessing a university scholarship. 

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11:00-12:00 African Union and Sustainable Development
When the term ‘Sustainable Development’ is used, it is often attributed to the United Nations. More recently, the role of Multinational organizations such as the African Union have been questioned in relation to sustainable development and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This talk by Dr. Eghosa Ekhator will unpack the structure of the organization with specific focus on its role in attaining sustainable development on the continent.

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12:00-13:00  Conflict, Climate Change and Food Insecurity in South Sudan: The work of humanitarian organisation Trócaire and CAFOD

Due to poor internet connectivity this session will be postponed until next week. Apologies for the inconvenience. Further information to follow

Alumni Guy Biggs speaks about his work with Trócaire and CAOFD in South Sudan and their work with communities and civil society organisations in responding to the humanitarian emergency of extreme food insecurity and the protection of vulnerable groups, while addressing the root causes of the crises; conflict, climate change and economic shocks. Guy will share about the context of South Sudan and the multiple crises it’s people face. He will share about the CAFOD and Trocaire in Partnership approach and shape of it’s humanitarian programme, related to peacebuilding, protection of women and girls, COVID-19, resilient food security and access to water, sanitation and hygiene.


15:30-16:30 Covid-19 and the failure of the Neoliberal State

 The British government’s lacklustre response to the Covid-19 pandemic is not due to “evil Tories” or even austerity but is a crisis of an entire way of governing society: the post-political, neoliberal state. In this talk, Dr. Lee Jones (QMUL) will address the reasons why Britain’s neoliberal state failed to meet the challenge of Covid-19, and the reforms we urgently need to our politics. 

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15:00-16:00 Book Launch "Localism: Manifesto for a Twenty-First Century England" 

Find out about key topics such as Direct Democracy, environmentalism and small economics and explore and discuss the ideas of thinkers such as Leopold Kohr, E.F. Schumacher and John Papworth amongst others.

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Week 2

10:00-11:00 Indian Farmers Project

A look into the one of the largest on-going farmers’ protests in India. International Relations student Manny Nizzer will explore the causes, responses and consequences of this issue. There will be an open discussion on the global impact the protests have caused and the need for change.  

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19:30-20:30 Regional Democracy and Rugby League

The workshop will explore rugby league within a wider reflection on regional democracy and the recent West Yorkshire mayoral election, the raising of citizens’ voices via an Alternative Manifesto Process (AMP) and the role of Same Skies. 

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10:00-11:00 Promoting enterprise through training opportunities: Jake Morris, Policy Representation Executive, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Jake Morris, Policy and Representation Executive from the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce will give a short presentation on how his organisation promotes enterprise through a range of training opportunities and expertise. Jake who himself holds a degree in Politics and MA in Politics, Governance, and Public Policy, will provide insights into different career routes as well as what skills and competencies students can successfully bring to a competitive job market. The session will be followed up by Q&A.

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11:00-12:00 Research War, Crime & Violence

The question of how to address legacies of violence and criminality is one of the most complex challenges facing societies emerging from war or authoritarian rule. In recent years, criminal tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, memorials and other tools including art and drama have all been used to ‘deal with’ violent pasts and plot a more peaceful future. This event brings together researchers from across Leeds Beckett to discuss the challenges of researching violence, crime, and justice in post-war and post-dictatorship contexts.

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12:30-13:30 What a difference a mayor makes – getting gender on the devolution agenda in West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire has just elected its first metro mayor and Mayor Tracy Brabin becomes the tenth mayor of an English city region and the first woman to take up this directly elected role. But what powers do metro mayors have? What difference does having a metro mayor make? And why does it matter that she is the first woman to be elected to this role? Professor Francesca Gains discusses what a difference a mayor makes and argues having a diversity of decision makers is important as it changes how political issues are prioritized.   She draws on her research examining how police and crime commissioners have prioritized tackling violence against women and girls.  And she presents analysis of the impact of the pandemic on occupational sectors where women are over-represented in city regions including West Yorkshire to argue that getting gender on the devolution agenda is a key element in recovery.

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13:30-14:30 Internet Governance: Why does it matter?

Often assumed to be merely a technical matter, the rules, policies and practices that shape global cyberspace constitute a fiercely contested political arena, in which institutional arrangements are still evolving. The Internet, and the arrangements by which it is governed, have implications for global politics that go far beyond this seemingly niche issue-area. Dr. Paul White will demonstrate how, and why, the institutions of Internet governance and the politics that surround them should command the attention of the Politics and IR communities. 

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15:00-16:00 Resisting Militarism

Dr Chris Rossdale (Bristol University) discusses the ultimate David and Goliath struggle: small, direct action groups taking on the full might of militarism – a complex web of technology, arms companies, geopolitics and military power. In his newly published book Resisting Militarism, Chris explores the “imaginative, subversive and often highly mischievous” tactics of anti-militarism campaigners, from blockading arms fairs to stopping a battleship with a canoe. His work explores the politics and possibilities of the anti-militarism movement, focusing on direct action and the idea of prefiguration. This event will be of interest to anyone curious about 21st century militarism and resistance movements in general.

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10:30-11:30 Conflict, climate change and food insecurity in South Sudan

Leeds Beckett Alumni Guy Biggs speaks about his work with Trócaire and CAOFD in South Sudan and their work with communities and civil society organisations in responding to the humanitarian emergency of extreme food insecurity and the protection of vulnerable groups, while addressing the root causes of the crises; conflict, climate change and economic shocks.

11:30-12:30 Migration to Yorkshire and Humber
Do you want to know more about migration to our region? This session will be led by Vanja and Kate from Migration Yorkshire, which works with organisations across Yorkshire and Humber and beyond, to ensure the region can deal with and benefit from migration. You’ll take part in an interactive quiz and watch some short films made by young people who have travelled to the UK to seek asylum. You’ll also hear from a student mentor, and a volunteer with a migrant background, who are involved in our Connecting Opportunities project which works with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community (funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund).

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19:00 The 2021 Olof Palme Peace Lecture: "Marcelo Bielsa – How to reinvent a football club, a city, and the world" by Anthony Clavane
Anthony Clavane is a Leeds born journalist, university lecturer and author. His research specialisms are inautobiography, storytelling, belonging andidentity and the cultural context of sport.

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15:30-16:00 “Go back to your country”: An Anti-racist Anthology of Poetry

Representing the publisher Urutau, of Brazilian origins, Jamila, one of our IR students, invites you to lose yourself in the labyrinth of immigration as Manuella Bezerra de Melo, her co-author would say. Jamila brings us an anthology in which she has participated named “Volta Para a Tua Terra” - “Go Back To your Country”, an antiracist/ antifascist anthology of foreign poets residing in Portugal. The book is the result of a public call, from which 49 poems were chosen from 49 natural poets from nine different countries, including Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Colombia, Italy and Guadalupe; whose links are the fixed residence in the land of Camões and the approach of themes related to racism and xenophobia. The poems are all unpublished, some of them will be published in the native language with the necessary translation into Portuguese, including Spanish, Italian and ancient Tupi. 

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