Child Poverty in London

20 01 2012

Child Poverty in London

The End Child Poverty campaign has produced a report that shows many parts of London to be among the poorest int he country. Its list of the 20 UK local authorities containing the highest percentages of children in poverty contains eleven of the capital’s 32 boroughs, with Tower Hamlets topping the list on 52%. Islington, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Barking and Dagenham are up there too. The massive gap between the capital’s richest and poorest is illuminated by the Eng Child Poverty Campaign report.

It is also well illustrated on the excellent website ‘London’s Poverty Profile’.



Geographically Accurate Tube Map

29 06 2011

In the news this week – an interesting new geographically accurate tube map. The standard map and the new map are inspired by the work of Harry Beck who’s simplified geometric map revolutionised underground maps. Londonist have an astoundingly varied and comprehensive guide to alternative tube maps with some really interesting images from maps of the underground drawn by memory to a live train movements map. Here’s what the designers of the new geographic map have to say about the concept, which I have to say looks pretty good, if slightly less easy to read than the familiar standard map.

A new angle on the London Underground – Creating a tube map for the 21st century

We welcome your views and ideas about this map and your experiences of using the London Underground system. You can contribute via our website which has links to the blog, twitter and facebook. Our aim is to create a dynamic map that responds to the needs of the user, makes best use of technology, and reflects the way we live our lives in the 21st Century.

For more information please contact: Map designed by Mark Noad (

The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He rationalised and clarified a complex system to produce a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics. The principles he established for the diagram are still in use today.

However, in 1931 when it was first used, there were only seven lines so the compromises Beck made on geographical accuracy did not matter greatly. Today, with the constant development of the diagram now accommodating twice as many lines, these inaccuracies are more of a problem. Indeed, they form the basis for a major criticism of the diagram, that it bears little or no relation to London at street level.

This is particularly the case with newer lines especially London Overground which has been shoe-horned in leaving stations nowhere near their neighbours, for example: Watford and Watford Junction; Archway and Upper Holloway; Seven Sisters and South Tottenham; South Acton and Chiswick Park.

The map illustrated here is an attempt to see if it is possible to create a geographically-accurate representation of the underground system while still retaining some of the clarity of Beck’s original diagram. It uses similar principles, fixed line angles – in this case 30 and 60 degrees instead of 45 – and shortens the extremities of the lines to make it more compact.

Making the position of the stations the most important element of the design means there is less space for the station names. To allow for this, a new condensed typeface has been created – New Underground Condensed – which is based on Edward Johnston’s original font.

This map will help visitors to London navigate the city more efficiently. It will make it easier to decide which route to take including whether it is quicker to walk between stations. As the project develops, we will add more information to help users of the underground system which will be accessible on-line, in print, and via the app.



Yet Another Conference of Interest

20 05 2011

CfP: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space. 2011. September 22-23

COMPAS, University of Oxford, Oxford

Call for Papers:  Deadline 6 June 2011

The intensification of global flows in the current period has led scholars to describe cities like London as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterized by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles (Vertovec 2007).

The aims of this conference to be held at COMPAS <>  (University of Oxford) on 22-23 September 2011 are: to address the missing dimension of migration and mobility in the literature on urban space, and the missing dimension of spatiality in the literature on diversity; and to develop new modes of inquiry appropriate to the contemporary challenge of super-diversity.

We invite proposals for papers which investigate aspects related to the conference themes and we welcome in particular proposals that focus on the following areas:

  • Understanding belonging and diversity in complex urban spaces
  • Changing practices of fieldwork and new and old modes of ethnographic investigation

Abstracts from early career researchers are especially welcome.  For full details, see:

Upcoming Conferences

27 11 2010

Some very interesting conferences and seminars have been announced recently and caught our eyes:

SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and Department of Development Studies Joint Seminar with Department of Anthropology seminar series

Wednesday 1st December 3-5 pm Room G51

Nicola Frost (Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies / Food Studies Centre, SOAS)

Making Mela in Brick Lane

The Baishakhi Mela is held annually in May in and around Brick Lane in East London. It celebrates Bengali New Year, and can attract around 100,000 people to the area. The large local Bangladeshi population values the event as an opportunity to gather together, and to present Bangladeshi culinary and musical traditions to a wider audience. What began as a small, community-based affair, has grown to become a huge logistical undertaking, heavy with resonance in local politics, as well as being a significant economic driver for associated businesses. In 2006 and 2007 the Mela was organised through collaboration between the Baishakhi Mela Trust, consisting of local business people and other community workers, and the arts and events team from Tower Hamlets council. This relationship is complex, and open to a variety of conflicting interpretations. Central to these tensions are the interdependent questions of finance and ownership: while control of budgets entails a degree of authority, the festival has its own life and momentum that largely evades attempts to codify, regulate, and strategise. This paper examines these issues with reference to the 2007 event.

All welcome. For further information please contact Paru Raman (


Tuesday 12 July until Thursday 14 July 2011 at the Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL

We would like to extend a very warm invitation to international scholars, researchers, and those with other significant interests in London to join with us, as either a Speaker or a Delegate, to celebrate the launch of this unique annual event!

The great world city of London which is the focus of our conference is the product of some two thousand years of growth and development, setback and renewal. The short passage to and from the North Sea along the River Thames made London one of the major European ports from Roman times onwards. Its maritime significance was eventually consolidated by the opening of its vast dock system in the heyday of the great imperial metropolis from 1800 on. Following further enormous change in the later 20th Century, London Docklands now serve a very different post-industrial function as the financial district moves eastwards and the population and its way of life transforms.

Profoundly historic and yet also ultramodern, London is a city of many different facets, logical and contradictory by turns. It is the seat of both the British monarchy and the home of parliamentary democracy, the two co-existing in what some regard as a typically ingenious British compromise. It is a city dominated by the financial and political industries, and yet these have been profoundly called into question in the new age of austerity and of political reform. And if London led the world in pioneering one of the great public transportation systems, this is now struggling to cope with the demands of the ever larger population – now numbering over seven million – as its members inhabit a city marked by a cultural diversity borne of long-term international migration.

London is marked by the many traditions of great wealth, and yet, in part, still blighted by the scars of poverty and deprivation. A city ravaged, within living memory, by the horrors of world war, its urban landscape has been endlessly transfigured in sometimes spectacular, sometimes merely startling fashion within a few short decades. London thus reflects many of the glories of urbanisation and yet is also marked by many of its inevitable contradictions, from the great beauties of its artistic and architectural heritage to the dramatic challenges it now faces – alongside other world cities – to reduce its excessive carbon footprint, its pollution, and its criminality.

These striking ambiguities provide the context for our conference, at the approaches to Olympic Year 2012, as we seek to analyse, critque and celebrate London’s proud identity and heritage.

CRONEM 7th Annual Conference

Joint international multidisciplinary conference with VU Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (VISOR), Free University Amsterdam

Global Migration and Multiculturalism: Religion, Society, Policy and Politics

28 – 29 June 2011, University of Surrey (Deadline 15 February 2011)

In our seventh annual conference CRONEM and VISOR want to explore a number of overlapping themes arising from the relationship between global migration and cultural diversity through different disciplinary understandings of the links between religion, society, policy and politics.

The extensive literature, which now exists concerning the movement of people, information and material objects across nation-state borders around the globe, has not only provided us with an understanding of the political economy of this movement but also its social and cultural dimensions. The minorities created by this movement raise crucial issues concerning citizenship rights and duties within modern nation-states and the co-existence of these rights and duties with transnational ties and global imagined communities. Identity politics, minority community representation and how minority individuals relate (and are expected to relate) to the national cultures within which they live present political and policy challenges for nation-states and supra-national entities such as the European Union.

These challenges in many parts of the globe frequently highlight the changing relationship between politics and religion. These changes have been discussed in terms of an emerging ‘post-secular’ society, especially within parts of the European region, for example, or in North America. Other commentators have focussed on the increasing securitisation of both immigration and integration in recent decades and especially since 9/11. In the European region this issue overlaps with religion insofar as Islam(ism), in particular, has come to be perceived as a significant transnational security threat which, in turn, has affected both public and individual perceptions of Muslim minorities within many countries, permeating the media.

These are just two topical examples illustrating the broad spectrum of concerns over the entry, settlement and integration or accommodation of migrants against the backdrop of economic considerations and governmental efforts to control flows. We wish to encourage submission of papers and posters, which focus on this range of issues around the world from different disciplinary perspectives. Papers and posters, which analyse individual perceptions and understandings, are just as welcome as those, which explore group dynamics and collective processes.

Individual paper / poster proposalSymposium proposal

For any additional information, please contact Mrs Mirela Dumic (

RC 21 in Amsterdam Conference Theme: The struggle to belong – Dealing with diversity in 21st urban settings

Deadline for abstracts: 21 December 2010

We invite proposals for papers for the following theme: Youth geographies and spatial identity

Recognizing that youth researchers have a privileged vantage point from which to view social change and continuity, this is a call for papers that seek to interrogate these themes. How do young people deal with change in their own lives whilst negotiating social, cultural and economic uncertainty in contemporary urban settings?

We invite papers that highlight these issues in any number of ways. Papers are not limited to empirical discussions; we also invite analyses of methodological and ethical matters of concern.

Seminars at the Working Lives Research Institute

12 11 2010

After a long abscence – here are some interesting upcoming events in London:

There is a series of seminars at the Working Lives Research Institute scheduled for the 25th-27th November. These Seminars are free, open to all, and there is no need to register.

*First Seminar*: Thursday 25/11/2010 from 1.00 – 2.30 pm *‘Oral History – Theory and Practice’*

Speaker: Professor Joanna Bornat

Joanna Bornat is emeritus professor of oral history at the Open University where her teaching included topics in ageing and social policy as well as oral history. She is also visiting professor at the University of Leeds. Her most recent research interests are both empirical and methodological and include the experiences of overseas-trained South Asian geriatricians in the NHS, the oldest generation and family life, the re-use of archived qualitative data and comparative oral history.

Venue : JS3-95, 31 Jewry Street, London metropolitan University, London EC3N 2EY Map here

Second Seminar: Thursday 25/11/2010 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm *’A different politics is possible: community organising and the living wage’*

Speaker : Deborah Littman

Today trade unions are facing an unprecedented assault on their power to shape the economic and political agenda. In response, we are reaching out beyond the workplace to build links between unions and communities. This is not really a new idea, but a return to something that was an inherent part of the trade union movement at its outset. Using the living wage campaign as an example of successful union/community campaign, this session will explore the principles behind community alliances.

Deborah Littman is a National Officer for UNISON specializing in bargaining research and campaigning on low pay and living wage. Deborah has helped UNISON to build alliances with local community organisations working on living wage campaigns. She is Vice-Chair of the Trustees of London Citizens, a broad-based alliance of community organisations and trade union branches, and sits on the Advisory Committee of the Trust for London Special Initiative on Living Wage. To advance living wage campaigns, Deborah has commissioned, supported and coordinated a range of research projects that focus on the real costs of low pay to UNISON members and the wider community. She has written and spoken on the issues of poverty, low pay, minimum and living wage.

Venue: JS3-95, 31 Jewry Street, London Metropolitan University, London EC3N2EY Map here

Third Seminar: Friday 26/11/2010 from 12.30 – 2:00 pm ‘Abstract Labour in the twenty-first century: Work and Employment in Distribution and Warehousing’

Speaker: Kirsty Newsome

This seminar examines the ‘politics of production’ within grocery warehouse and distribution, in doing so it also highlights the complex connections and linkages between logistics companies and their dominant customers. It is concerned with exploring how employment change with grocery distribution and warehousing necessarily involves mapping these linkages and examining how and in what ways they impact on capital: labour relations. Kirsty Newsome is a senior lecturer in the department of Human Resource Management at the University of Strathclyde. She is also a Research Affiliate at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UCLA, Los Angeles. Her recent research interests (with colleagues Professor Paul Thompson and Johanna Commander) have been concerned with exploring employment and labour process change in the supermarket supply chain.

Venue: JS1-41, 31 Jewry Street, London metropolitan University, London EC3N 2EY

*Fourth Seminar:* Saturday 27/11/2010 from 9:30 am – 11:00 am *‘Understanding the role of the labour movement in Nigeria: NLC – a catalyst for social movement unionism’ *

Speaker: Dr Michael Oyelere

In order to understand the development of labour movements especially the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which emerged in Nigeria as the sole umbrella trade union centre during an authoritarian military rule, we need to examine not only the conventional practices of work and employment conditions, industrial and economic developments but also the unconventional activities that are in practice as a result of authoritarian rule and corruption, which permeate the polity. The activities of the NLC depict those of modern trade unionism and civic society or human right groups. Based on the experience of NLC, this presentation will illuminate trade unions action in Nigeria during military rule that spanned about two decades 1983 – 1999. This was realised through exploring the origins, emergence and developments of social movement unionism under the reformist military regimes. The presentation concludes with examination of the future of NLC as a social movement union especially given the successful transition to civil rule in 1999.

Michael Oyelere is Lecturer in HRM, in the European Business School London. Michael’s current research interests centre on the systematic testing and development of contemporary institutional theory.Also on recent trends in corporate governance and international politics. Michael is a member of British University Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA),

Venue: Goulston Street, London metropolitan University, Room GSG-17 Map here

These Seminars are free, open to all, and there is no need to register. Contact Jawad Botmeh in JS2-77 for further information on 0207320 3042 or visit our website

London: Another Country?

5 07 2010

With an apt title expressing the feeling that London isn’t quite part of the UK, and marking the 5th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings of London’s transport, BBC Radio 4 is having a series of programmes about contemporary London.

On 6th July 2005 London won the competition to host the 2012 Olympics. A day after the announcement of that successful Olympic bid four bombs went off that turned the celebrations into grief.

In July 2010, on the 5th anniversary of 7/7, BBC Radio 4 will host a season of programmes focusing on contemporary London and charting its rise as “capital of the world”.

London has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last 30 years. It has become one of the most diverse cities on earth, a magnet for the world’s finances, culture and people.

London: Another Country? will explore what happens when 7.5 million people, speaking over 300 languages, try to live together in a city that has a population density ten times higher than anywhere else in the UK, but is the greenest city of its size in the world, with two thirds covered in green space or water. A city that comes fourth on the global list of number of billionaires and generates 20% of the UK’s GDP, yet has a higher proportion of people living below the poverty line than anywhere else in the country.

However, this is not a season simply about London for Londoners, but one that explores London’s relationship with the rest of the UK. Has London become “another country” – not only foreign to the city it once was, but also to the rest of the UK? Is the M25 effectively a border crossing separating two different countries? And who have the winners and losers been in the London revolution?

The season will run over two weeks starting on July 3rd 2010.

You’ve got 5 days left to hear the opening programme about the summer of 2005: ‘The summer that changed London’:

The summer of July 2005 was one that brought Londoners both joy and pain. Euphoria over winning the Olympics bid, celebrations of Live8, trauma over the 7/7 bombings and shock when an innocent man was fatally shot by police on the tube. Using archive and new interviews Kirsten Lass explores what effects these major events had on the city and its people.


28 05 2010

There are a lot of really interesting events coming up in London soon, I’ve listed a few of them below:

Thursday, 3 June: the Forum on Religion Seminar on ‘Home-grown terror, anti-Muslimism and the politics of fear: the rise ofthe far-right in today’s Britain’

Christopher Allen, Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham Even before the summer disturbances in the northern mill towns in 2001 and the subsequent impact of 9/11, British far-right groups had begun to campaign against Muslims and the religion of Islam. After 9/11, and bolstered by the atrocities of 7/7, various ‘terror plots’ and other Muslim/ Islam-perceived issues, these same groups have employed increasingly more explicit campaigns to gain unprecedented electoral success. With the British National Party having secured victories in the European Parliament, the Greater London Assembly and various local councils across England, and with the English Defence League routinely marching across a range of different towns and cities against the ‘Islamification’ of Britain, the far-right’s anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic rhetoric can no longer be dismissed. This paper seeks to explore the issues raised by the rise and recent political success of the far-right by contextualising itwithin the wider discursive landscape. Drawing upon theories of Islamophobia, cultural racism, and the politics of fear, this paper will consider the extent to which the messages and meanings of the far-righthave found resonance and relevance across a much wider constituency in today’s Britain.

This seminar is free and open to the public; no reservation required. They
will take place from 5:30-7 pm in the Cañada Blanch Room (J116), LSE, Cowdray House, Portugal Street, London WC2A 2AE

Black Skin White Marx?

Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies present a special intervention:

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (University Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University,USA) and Professor Fred Moten (Professor of English, Duke University, USA) will be speaking in dialogue with Karl Marx on issues of race, critique and the possibilities for a radical politics to come.

4th June 2010, 1pm-4pm, Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

Beyond the Ghetto (day long event at UCL)

The workshop Beyond the Ghetto – an interdisciplinary perspective on patterns of ethnicity in the built environment aims to make progress towards interdisciplinary work in the field of cities and migration.

Looks fascinating – more information here or email Dr Laura Vaughan

This year’s Nikos Stangos Memorial Lecture is entitled “The Humanities and the Anxiety of Violence” and will be delivered by Professor Homi Bhabha (Harvard University)

Monday 14 June, 6:00 PM, Christopher Ingold Auditorium, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT