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Publics & Practices Events

Upcoming events

View the latest School of Law & Social Justice events and seminars, including those hosted by Publics & Practices.

University-wide events

View forthcoming University of Liverpool public events.

4th May 2022

Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lecture Series 2022-23 Sophia Parker - Imagination: the beating heart of social justice.

Efforts to tackle poverty and related forms of social injustice are set today against a backdrop of interconnected, complex challenges. From crises in traditional welfare models to the evolution of ‘platform capitalism’, conventional responses to lift people out of poverty seem less likely than ever to work. And dramatic climate change impacts everything. We have a decade at best to rewrite our relationship with the planet by thinking differently about future priorities and strategies for change. And yet, at the very moment we need it most, we also appear to be caught in a crisis of social imagination; we seem to be gripped by a fatalism that gets in the way of us imagining how things could be better.

The lecture will explore the place collective imagination has in our work to achieve social justice in the 21st century, and to reflect upon what it would take to begin to build a future that has people and planet at its heart. For more see here.

Sophia Parker leads a major new programme of work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - to imagine and develop radical new approaches to tackling poverty and social injustice. A previous Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, she has held positions in central government, leading ‘think tanks’ (including Demos and the Resolution Foundation) and has served as the founding CEO of an NGO. Sophia brings a track record in policy, research and designing community-based responses to key social challenges.

17th May 2022
Solidarity in Humanitarian Crisis

Fundraising event for local NGOs and Ukraine. More details TBC.
Organisers: Laura Naegler, Elham Amini, Kirsty Morrin, David Baker

26th May 2022

Book Launch - The Social Order of Collective Action: The Wisconsin Uprising of 2011

Details TBC.
Organiser: Matthew Kearney


Past event highlights

Disappearing Cities

A Public Lecture by Chris Leslie

All over the world, our cities are transforming. In the UK, the optimism of modernist social housing blocks built in the 60s and 70s has passed, and estate after estate is being shut down and left to crumble or cleared fo r regeneration. Chris Leslie is a BAFTA New Talent award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He’ll be talking about the changing skylines of our cities and the transformations taking place in the lives of those who inhabit them. Chris is the author of Disappearing Glasgow. Glasgow, just like Liverpool, is well-known for its humour, its shipyards, and its bold Victorian architecture, built in the days when it was the ‘second city of the Empire’. But it’s also renowned as the home in the UK of the failed experiment with modernist architecture in the 1950s and 1960s – where those cleared from 19th-century slums of the Gorbals and Govan were housed in vast tower block estates far from the city centre, devoid of facilities and a sense of community. Initially, a huge improvement on existing living conditions, a lack of investment and poor build quality meant these bold visions of the future soon fell into neglect.

The lecture is supported by the Publics & Practices research cluster and Open Eye Gallery.


Visual Sociology: A Symposium

Visual sociology can be understood as an umbrella term for ways of seeing/knowing the social world, and encompasses a broad range of approach to social study. This symposium aims to explore and showcase something of the wide variety of what has come to be known as visual sociology. Approaches and topics that will be discussed during the day include: studies of military video footage; representations of industrial work; animation as a political intervention in the context of UK welfare reform; documentation and analysis of religious ceremonies; sociological research with photographers as they work; and film of Ireland’s ‘ghost estates’, unfinished spaces partially constructed during that country’s economic boom.


Visual Ethnography: Looking Up, Down, and Within

A Public Lecture by Professor Doug Harper

(Duquesne University, USA)

Ethnography is a true conundrum in the social sciences; this mode of knowing assumes that one can know across social boundaries, but when we look closely at what passes for ethnography that assumption appears easy to question. What happens when you add the visual? In this public lecture Professor Doug Harper will focus on a few examples of each perspective - looking up, down and inward - hopefully making the point that the visual added to ethnography works.

Dr Terence Heng (Singapore Institute of Technology), photographer and visual sociologist, will act as a discussant.

The event will be chaired by Roy Coleman (University of Liverpool).


Emotions and State Power: Brexit, Trump and 'Taking Back Control'

What can sociologists and activists tell us about the future of social justice, emotional politics and democracy in an age of Brexit, Trump and harder borders? This conference looks at the rise of public disaffection, nationalism, sexism and corporate power within modern political and civil society. Are we entering a new age of illusion and injustice as we change our democracies and public spaces in the name of 'taking back control'? Control for whom and for what? What is the role of emotions like anger in modern politics with the likes of Trumpism and Brexit? Join us with some key sociologists for insight and discussion around these pressing questions. Speakers include Stjepan Mestrovic, Steve Tombs, Professor Jude Robinson, Ciara Kierans and more. Find out more about this conference. Read conference organiser Roy Coleman’s blog; Emotional States.


Concrete Utopias

This symposium explored concrete, both as construction material and its use metaphorically to describe experiments in music and poetry. Bringing together architectural, social and cultural perspectives, participants explored the utopian impulses and modernist thinking that informed different practices in architecture and the arts in the 1960s – brutalist architecture, musique concrète and concrete poetry – and their continuing interrogation by academics, artists and activists today. More information is available here. This event was organised as part of Dr. Paul Jones’ residency at the Bluecoat.


Book Launch: For Whose Benefit? Discussing Welfare Reform

An event to mark the publication of Dr Ruth Patrick’s book exploring the lived experiences of out-of-work benefits recipients. Find out more about the event on the Bluecoat website, or visit the publisher’s website to order Ruth's book.


Political‌ Economy and Emotion: Into the Heart of the State, Space and Power

This event brought together a range of academic expertise to create an interdisciplinary space for critical scholars to explore the role and significance of emotion in both facilitating and challenging power relations, social orders and state-political projects. Find out more about this one day conference.


Urban Studies Liverpool Symposium

This symposium brought together researchers studying various aspects of the contemporary city. Presentation topics included: neighbourhood change, public art, architecture, memory, and theoretical inquiries concerned with spatial dialectics, urban culture and capital, and assemblage theory. Find out more about this conference.