Castle Conference 2021: Power, Privilege and Possible Futures

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University College Durham's annual interdisciplinary conference, showcasing exciting postgraduate research from across the North of England.

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Castle Conference 2021

University College Durham are really excited to announce Castle Conference 2021, organised by University College's MCR in partnership with the Durham Castle Society. This is University College’s annual student-run interdisciplinary conference which presents postgraduate research from across the North of England and Scotland, alongside an expert panel discussion and a keynote speech. The conference will be held online and attendance is free and open to all, although the event is also raising donations for The Black Curriculum and we encourage everyone who can to contribute (see below for more details).

Power, Privilege and Possible Futures

The theme for Castle Conference 2021 is Power, Privilege and Possible Futures. Through this, the conference will consider the urgent societal need to address the inequalities of resources and opportunities highlighted by the recent Black Lives Matter protests and the need to decolonise our own institutional spaces. At the same time, the conference will engage wider academic conversations about a range of broad issues relating to the theme.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Kehinde Andrews

We are delighted to announce Professor Kehinde Andrews as the keynote speaker for the conference. His talk will address the conference theme of ‘Power, Privilege and Possible Futures’ in relation to historic and contemporary racism across society and in particular its intersections with the British higher education system.

As an academic, author and activist, Kehinde Andrews is one of the leading scholars on racism and anti-racism in the UK and beyond. He is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University where he created the first Black Studies programme in Europe in 2017, and a founding member of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity which aims to bring together Black movements and communities to organise collectively. He is the author of many popular and academic books, including The New Age of Empire, released earlier this year, a powerful, uncompromising dissection of contemporary racism and it’s imbrication with neo-imperial continuations of colonialism and slavery. Professor Andrews’ media work has included appearances on widely-viewed TV news programmes, such as Good Morning Britain, and his articles are regularly published by The Guardian.

Call for submissions

We are seeking submissions relating to any one, or any combination, of ‘Power’, ‘Privilege’, and/or ‘Possible Futures’ and encourage submissions to be creative in their interpretation of the theme. Presentations can be tied to a completed piece of work or ongoing research. There is no requirement to submit a written paper alongside the presentation but if you would like to do so there is an opportunity to have your work published in the new Castle Academic Journal.

Submissions are open for two categories: Standard Presentations and Flash Presentations. Standard Presentations are 15 minute live presentations followed by a short audience Q&A. Flash Presentations are 1 minute pre-recorded presentations accompanied by a poster, which will be displayed throughout the conference in an online gallery.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 7th May. Attendance only tickets will remain available after this date as long as there continue to be spaces available.

Speakers will need to sign up for a ticket AND complete this form:

Castle Academic Journal

This year, University College MCR are creating a new Castle Academic Journal. Anyone who presents during the conference is welcome to submit a related piece of written work, or their poster in the case of flash presentations, to the journal alongside their presentation at the conference, although this is entirely optional. Written work should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

Conference Format

The conference will begin on the evening of Friday 4th with a panel discussion entitled: 'Decolonising Higher Education: Are British Universities Doing Enough?'. This will be followed by a full programme, on Saturday 5th, of postgraduate presentations and networking opportunities, concluding with a keynote speech. Look out for the announcement of the keynote speaker in the coming weeks! All elements of the conference will be held online and accessible internationally.

Conference Packs

As we sadly aren't able to gather in person this year, we will be sending out bespoke conference packs ahead of the conference to the first 40 people to sign up, whether as speakers or as attendees. Make sure you sign up in time!

The Black Curriculum

Whilst discussion of Power, Privilege and Possible Futures is vital, it is also crucially important that this intellectual work is supported by a commitment to redressing material inequalities within and beyond education which work to limit access to these academic spaces for many groups of people. In recognition of this, the conference will be raising donations for The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise founded in 2019 to combat the erasure of Black British history from the UK curriculum. Their outstanding work enables young people to access suppressed histories of race and racism in the UK, helping to enrich young people of colour's sense of belonging and identity and facilitating more honest understandings of race and racism in contemporary education and society.

For more information on the wonderful work The Black Curriculum are doing, please see the short video below or visit their website here:

***The recommended donation is £5. However, we strongly encourage all attendees to donate what they are able to, based on their own individual circumstances. Please note that this donation is optional.***

Please donate what you can through the conference's Justgiving page here:

Privacy Notice

The information on this form will be used by University College, Durham University, for the administration of Durham Castle Conference, and will be managed in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations. In submitting this form you consent to the information which you provide being held and processed by University College for the purposes specified above. For further information about the University’s Data Protection Policy please see,

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