workshop and conference heatwave

29 06 2009

There seems to be a rush of interesting conferences, events and workshops… so keep your eyes on the events page

I’ve just added the details of a very interesting event on multicultural London past present and future and a conference about diaspora and media

There’s also a heatwave on the way so we have to not lock pets in cars and keep tabs on vulnerable old people.

remember to use the correct head wear during the heatwave

A member of the British tribe remembers to use the 'correct' head wear at Wimbledon during the heatwave

The traditional rain during wimbledon has been cancelled – ruining the unveiling of the £80 million new roof on centre court which looked like it might happen during a recent match. if no matches are interrupted or cancelled due to the rain it will be the first time since 1995 apparently.

More importantly … remember to keep the 18th of September free for our first workshop. We have been successful in an application for funding from Sussex University (thanks a lot) and we’re busy planning the workshop – there is a special page on the website for it  which is currently empty, but will have all the details soon.


Workshops and calls for papers

25 06 2009

I have just added the details of some very interesting sounding workshops on Diaspora activism in Europe and Museums and Empire to the events page.

Both workshops have calls for papers with deadlines soon so if you are interested… you better get cracking.

The economic impacts of immigration on London

17 06 2009

Yesterday in a seminar at City Hall, academics from the LSE presented the findings of their study on the Economic impact on the London and UK economy of an earned regularisation of irregular migrants to the UK . You can see their presentation slides at the city hall link.   

 BoJo’s (Mayor Boris Johnson) idea that there should be an amnesty for irregular migrants comes from this research. This would add £3 billion to the economy apprently.

Dave Hill was at the meeting and has promised to fill us in with more details soon.

In related news, the occupation of SOAS’s management building by activists protesting the ugly collusion between SOAS management, cleaning contractors and immigration authorities has emerged successful.

Having arranged a meeting between the cleaners and the police in a SOAS lecture theatre (complete with locked doors), which has resulted in several cleaners being fast track deported with no questions asked, the management has now apparently decided to ‘talk to’ students, unions and the cleaning contractors about the issues surrounding the events.

anyway – the full statment is here, there’s also some coverage on comment is free.

Diaspora Cities Conference, call for papers

15 06 2009


A one-day conference Wednesday 16 September 2009

The Department of Geography and The City Centre Queen Mary, University of London

This one-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the critical relationships between cities and diasporas. Drawing on historical and contemporary research, this conference will address the ways in which the city, as a place of departure, travel, sojourn and resettlement, is a site of diasporic mobility and dwelling. Through its focus on urban diasporas and the importance of the city in fostering diasporic identities, imaginations and networks, the conference will extend debates about migration and diaspora; transnational and postcolonial urbanism; cosmopolitan cities; and urban memory. The conference is funded by The Leverhulme Trust and convened by the Diaspora Cities research project team based at QMUL (Alison Blunt, Jayani Bonnerjee, Noah Hysler-Rubin and Shompa Lahiri).

Abstracts are invited from researchers working on the relationships between cities and diasporas with reference to particular cities and to wider conceptual themes. Conference themes are likely to include: – Diasporic memories, imaginings and experiences of the city- Tales of urban mobility and dwelling in life stories, cultural practices, text and images- The emotional, embodied and sensory geographies of diaspora cities- Public and private spaces of diaspora urbanism- Diasporic practices, networks and the neo-liberal city- Comparative studies of diaspora cities- Mobility and dwelling in relation to urban modernities, cosmopolitanism and consumption.

Please email abstracts of up to 200 words by 10 July 2009 to: Dr Shompa Lahiri –

Registration is free but places are limited. To confirm your place, please email by 15 August 2009

Visit The project website to find out more about the conference and the Diaspora Cities research project

Refugee Week

13 06 2009

This week is Refugee Week, and there are lots of interesting events going on in London

Ice and Fire Theatre are touring with their production of the Asylum Dialogues. In London on the 21st of June.  They have got some really interesting looking plays about ‘illegal’ immigrants asylum seekers and refugees in London.

The BFI Film and Jazz Weekender also has some refugee relevant films – ‘The Fortress’ and ‘Exile: Dreams and Nightmares’ which both look fascinating.

On a more sombre note, The 19 Princelet Street Museum which is one of my favorite places and is usually open during Refugee week is closed this year for financial reasons… it is a real treasure and must be saved.

Also the delightfuly progressive SOAS decided this week to raid a meeting of their cleaning staff … I got this e-mail from the SOAS Detainee support group:

At 6.30am on Friday the 12th June, ISS (the company who contracts SOAS’s cleaning staff) called a meeting for all SOAS cleaners. Within minutes the meeting was raided by approximately 40 immigration police, who illegally detained all cleaners and arrested 9 people accused of working without proper documentation. These 9 people are now on fast-track to be deported from the UK.

Graham Dyer, SOAS UCU Branch Chair and lecturer in economics of developing countries EDC said: “It is no co-incindence that there is an immigration raid at a time when the UCU, Unison and the NUS are fighting against the victimisation of a migrant worker who has been at the heart of a fight that has improved the pay and conditions of workers here at SOAS. It is also not coincidental that ISS had only just signed a union recognition agreement with UNISON last week. Our fight has united lecturers, staff and students and has rocked SOAS management. Those managers are now lashing out. It is a disgrace that SOAS management saw fit to use a seat of learning to intimidate migrant workers. This is their underhand revenge and we will do all we can to stop migrant workers paying the price.”

Many see this as ISS’ response to the recent unionisation of the cleaning force, and also as a warning to other institutions looking to unionise.

In preliminary response, a demonstration has been called at 4.30 today outside SOAS. Please come down, show your solidarity and prepare further action.

 The demo was yesterday (12th) but you can get in touch with SOAS detainee support group via their website.

MORE HERE on the Justice for SOAS Cleaners blog

number crunching – who’s cheating?

10 06 2009

closing inspaceball

Annual cost of MP’s expenses? £87.6 million

Annual cost of Tax avoidance to UK Economy? £25 billion

Annual cost of benefit fraud? £800 million

Increase in Sunday Telegraph circulation figures? 4.8%

Tax paid by the Telegraph owners, the Barclay Brothers? £0/0% 

London and the European Elections

8 06 2009

Now the European election results are in… the turnout in the UK was 35%! Turnout across Europe was 43.09% the lowest ever.


The 8 euro MPs from London are:

Syed Kamall, Charles Tannock, Marina Yannakoudakis: Conservative (27.36%), Claude Moraes, Mary Honeyball: Labour (21.28%), Sarah Ludford: Liberal Democrat (13.72%), Jean Lambert: Green (10.88%) and Gerard Batten: UKIP (10.76%). (BBC coverage)

It seems that London is less Euroskeptic than the rest of the country, where UKIP and the BNP made some serious headway. UKIP came second overall nationwide with 17.5% of the vote! The conservatives romped to victory with 28.3% and the BNP got 2 (yes 2) seats, one in the North West of England and one in Yorkshire and the Humber they had 6.6% of the vote nationwide. (Guardian Map)

So we have had a big swing to the right and will have 2 fascists representing Britain in the EU – From Britain with Love! 

European Union party groupings breakdown

UK data

full BBC coverage of the EU elections