Race, Place and Nation in the UK

Plenary Session

British national identity has been put in question over the last decade. Its constructed and fragile nature has been exposed by political movements, like Black Lives Matter, and constitutional moments, like the referendums on Brexit and Scottish independence. Everyday performances of Britishness have also been challenged as diverse communities document their own experiences of engagement and marginalization. Statuary and street names are key sites of challenge. So is law-making and adjudication on immigration, asylum, housing, and the impact of COVID-19. Removing and renaming, critique and education, make public the contribution of race and empire to national identity. This plenary roundtable reflects on the consequences of these movements and moments in Wales and across the UK.

Gaynor Legall

Tiger Bay & The World

Fiercely proud of her origins growing up in the multi-cultural, multi-religious area of Cardiff once known as Tiger Bay, much maligned and misunderstood by the wider community. A former Nursery Nurse, State Registered Nurse and social worker led to senior roles focussing on social policy. Gaynor was the first Black City Councillor in Wales. As a founder member of Wales Anti-Apartheid, she helped grow the organisation from a Cardiff based group to a national campaign. Collaborating with like-minded people she established several voluntary organisations including FullEmploy Wales (job and training organisation for inner city youth), AWETU (a Black mental health charity) and BAWSO (the first Black domestic violence organisation in Wales). Gaynor is the chair of The Heritage & Cultural Exchange, a community-based organisation that aims to fully chronicle the heritage together with the cultural diversity of Tiger Bay and Cardiff Docklands, and bring it to the world. She is currently leading the Welsh Government’s task and finish group auditing public monuments, street and building names associated with aspects of Wales’ Black history. Focusing on the slave trade and the British Empire it also touches on the historical contributions to Welsh life of people of Black heritage.

Dr Nadine El-Enany

Birkbeck, University of London

Nadine El-Enany is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law (@CentreRaceLaw). Nadine teaches and researches in the fields of migration and refugee law, European Union law, protest and criminal justice. She has published widely in the field of EU asylum and immigration law. Her current research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on questions of race and criminal and social justice in death in custody cases. Nadine has written for the Guardian, the LRB Blog, Pluto Blog, Verso Blog, Open Democracy, Media Diversified, Left Foot Forward and Critical Legal Thinking. Her book, (B)ordering Britain: law, race and empire was published by Manchester University Press in February 2020.

Image: 1930's school infant group, accessed via The Heritage & Cultural Exchange Archive

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