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Building the Anti-Racist Classroom: Organizing for Liberation 25-26 October

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Queen Mary University of London

Mile End Road


E1 4NS

United Kingdom

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Event description


The two-day series of events have been designed as an intervention against the systems of white power that structure our places of learning. We ask: what does it mean to build an anti-racist classroom? What worlds should we be imagining and building in spite of the violence that surrounds us? Inspired by the work of Building the Anti Racist Classroom Collective, this event asks participants to build ethical principles that will inform our organizing. All of the sessions will feed into digital and print resources that will be made available after the event.

Given that these conversations are taking place in the shadow of Brexit, at a university located in East London, we must ask: why now and why here? The question of Brexit has been informed by a nostalgia for Britain as Empire and a desire to harden borders. We also know that Brexit is just one of several national contexts of increased violence and uncertainty for those positioned outside of deathly border regimes, as these borders manifest at everyday, local, national and international scales. In times of explicit racist violence, we refuse to wait for “progress” within inherently violent systems. This workshop is an opportunity to collaborate in community and imagine our future in a principled space; centering people of colour, our knowledge and methodologies for survival.

Speakers and workshop organisers for this event include:

  • Akile Ahmet

  • Akwugo Emejulu

  • Building the Anti-Racist Classroom - with Angela Martinez Dy and Deborah Brewis

  • Decolonise University of Kent - with Suhraiya Jivraj

  • Francesca Sobande

  • Gail Lewis

  • George Yancy

  • Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action

  • Hodan Yusuf

  • Racial Justice Network - with Peninah Wangari-Jones and Remi Joseph-Salisbury

  • Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

We are grateful to the event sponsors: Centre for Research on Equality and Diversity, QMUL and Building the Anti-Racist Classroom collective.

Programme Details **Please book for each event**

1. Organising for liberation: Past, present, fugitive futures,

****SOLD OUT****

Friday 25th October, 10:00 - 14:30, Blomeley 2, Queen Mary Student Union Building

40 available places for students and activists only. Lunch included.

We bring together students and activists in a sharing of past and present anti-racist interventions to imagine the direction of future organizing: the possibilities, necessities and infrastructure we need. George Yancy, Gail Lewis, Akwugo Emejulu, Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action (GARA), Decolonise UoK and Decolonise QMUL will kick off a roundtable discussion with audience participation to follow.

2. CRED annual lecture: George Yancy in conversation with Gail Lewis

Friday 25th October, 18:00 - 21:00, Arts Two Lecture Theatre, QMUL Mile End Campus

300 available places. Non-alcoholic reception included.

The eminent American philosopher, George Yancy, will deliver the keynote lecture drawing on his recent work: Backlash! What happens when we talk honestly about racism in America. The lecture will be followed by a response led by acclaimed academic and activist, Gail Lewis, after which audience members are invited to continue with a Q&A.

3. Building the anti-racist classroom: Organising for liberation

Saturday 26th October, 9:00 - 17.30, Arts Two Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

80 available places. Breakfast, lunch, tea-break included, unwaged and student travel (barcworkshop @ and childcare bursaries (s.dar @ available.

A day of focussed discussion, response, community-building and planning for anti-racist action. This one-day workshop includes an opening and closing plenary as well as parallel break-out groups led by the UK's leading anti-racist scholars and organisers. With opening remarks by George Yancy and a brief introduction to the day led by Sadhvi Dar, Azeezat Johnson and Decolonise QMUL. BARC Bank will be open to fund student anti-racist and decolonising projects!

9.00-10.00 Registration with vegan & vegetarian breakfast

10.00-11.00 Curating the space: Our purpose and principles

11.00-11.15 Break

11.15-12.45 Parallel Sessions I: From ideology to action

  • Akwugo Emejulu and Francesca Sobande: Black Feminism Remixed

  • Jenny K Rodriguez: The (Im)possibility of decolonizing the university

  • Suhraiya Jivraj and Decolonise UoK: Students' rights and racial justice

12.45-13.45 Lunch break with vegan & vegetarian options

13.45-15.15 Parallel Sessions II: Practices for liberation

  • Akile Ahmet: Working within the system - Equality and diversity work in universities

  • Hodan Yusuf and Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Affect and activism - The necessity of poetry

  • Racial Justice Network (Peninah Wangari-Jones and Remi Joseph-Salibsury): Building anti-racist movements

15.15-15.45 Afternoon break with tea, coffee and vegan & vegetarian snacks

15.45-17.30 Closing plenary and discussion: Bringing it all together

Booking and admission

Admission to all workshop events is free of charge, however spaces are limited and booking for each event is required. All meals will be covered including breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

Funding opportunities

On Saturday 26th October, BARC will be making cash grants (up to £300) available to students pursuing anti-racist or decolonizing projects. Come to the BARC Bank desk to receive funding and advice on how to manage your grant - visit their website for more information.

Travel Bursaries

BARC have a reasonable number of travel bursaries for unwaged or student participants. These include up to £20 support for London-based unwaged or students and up to £100 for unwaged or students based outside of London. To apply for this support, please provide the amount you are requesting, where you are traveling from and any booking information that will enable us to reimburse you. Please send your requests and details to barcworkshop @ by Friday 20th September 2019.


CRED have set aside a small fund to assist those with caring responsibilities who would find it difficult to attend this event on a weekend otherwise. If you would benefit from such support, contact s.dar @ by Friday 20th September 2019.


Is there an access guide for Queen Mary's Mile End campus?

The events will be taking place in a number of locations around campus. Specifically, access guides to Blomeley 2 room can be found here and access to the Arts 2 Building can be found here.

What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS, London.

The university is a 10 minute walk from Mile End and Stepney Green tube stations and it is close to several bus stops that are serviced by a number of buses including the 25 and 205 routes.

Parking is extremely limited on campus and you are therefore advised to take public transport to reach QMUL. Limited parking is available at weekends only. Details of public parking in the vicinity can be found at:

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

For queries about bursaries, please email barcworkshop @ For queries about childcare support, please email s.dar @

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

To cut the cost of printing tickets, simply turn up for registration with the ticket on your mobile device.

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Queen Mary University of London

Mile End Road


E1 4NS

United Kingdom

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