The inaugural MEAD Conference was held on 13th July 2022 at Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building. We received a diverge range of submissions under the main theme of “Migration, Race, Ethnicity and Diversity in Post-Brexit Pandemic Britain” and the following sub-themes:
- COVID-19 and the Black and Minoritised communities
- Renewed hostility against immigrants and asylum seekers
- Post-Brexit migration and mobilities – international and regional
- Anti-racist and inclusive curriculum in education
- Inclusive leadership and EDI in the Workplace
- Sexual and gender-based violence against migrant women and girls
- Racial, ethnic and religious intersectional inequalities
- Cultural competence in health and social care
Delegates from all over Wales and England arrived for our first major in-person conference in the School of Social Sciences since the pandemic. Professor Urfan Khaliq, our Pro-Vice Chancellor and the Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences gave the opening welcome address, highlighting the unique space MEAD provides – a diverse cross-college interdisciplinary research group that brings together black and minoritised scholars doing research on migration, ethnicity, race and diversity and a space that promotes the co-production of knowledge with external partners and local communities.
Plenary sessions and panel discussions by senior scholars addressed key issues in migration, ethnicity, diversity research and practice in a post-pandemic world. Professor Steve Garner (Texas A&M University) discussed institutional obstructions by the state in France and the US to block antiracist advances in the age of cancel culture, highlighting the changing narrative on critical race theory, especially in the school curriculum in an increasing number of states in the US. Dr Katy Greenland (Cardiff University) offered insights on the often narrow and inconsistent definitional boundaries of discrimination, which are consequential for all kind of decision making. Michelle Alexis shared her rich experience in championing racial equality and diversity initiatives within a university context and how she fought inequalities from within through innovative strategy, sustainable change, accountability, authenticity and much more.
Time for networking and further discussion was carved into the programme during the plenary sessions with addresses from Professor Charlotte Williams (Bangor University) and Professor Uzo Iwobi (Race Council Cymru) highlighting potential research agenda and collaborative opportunities. We ended the day with a wine reception, toasting with apple juice and a very aptly named MEAD honey wine. We would like to give special thanks to all keynote speakers, panelists and participants for sharing their research and lived experiences in higher education. And above all the SOCSI Research Team, the Catering Team and the MEAD Organising Committee for their stellar effort in making the conference a success. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback such as this from one participant:
“I just wanted to express how impressed I was by the overall professional way the MEAD Conference was conducted. I think the best part for me was knowing that I was not alone in this field of research and that amazing research was going on. I quite liked the diversity amongst the speakers and the broad research areas that were presented….The key note speakers were also great….knowing that this conference had academics such as Professor Uzo, Prof Charlotte Williams in attendance, made me excited that I would have the opportunity to meet such high profile academics. Food and refreshments were also outstanding and there was more than enough for everyone to enjoy seconds. I would definitely give the MEAD Conference a 5 out of 5 stars. Looking forward to the next one”
What would the conference be without photos! Attendees were encouraged to post on their socials and use the hashtag #meadconf22 to create more publicity and reference for future conferences. As we look forward to the next MEAD Conference, if you are not already on our mailing list, do drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe and keep in touch.
The conference received generous support from the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University and was co-sponsored by the open access journal Frontiers in Sociology – Race and Ethnicity. It is intended that a selection of the conference proceedings will be submitted to a Special Issue for Frontiers in Sociology: Race and Ethnicity. All publications will be subject to peer- review. The deadline for abstract submission to the Special issue is 30 September with a full-text submission expected in January 2023.