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Past event

Changing Britannia Through Schooling and Education by Professor Augustine “Gus” John

This is a free lecture held at the University of Huddersfield, Thursday 5th December 2019, between 17:15 and 18:30

Professor Augustine “Gus” John was born in Grenada and has lived mainly in the UK since 1964. He was a member of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) in the middle to late 1960s and a member of the Council of the Institute of Race Relations in the early 1970s. He is a scholar/activist who has done notable work in the fields of education policy; the role of schooling and education in promoting social justice; school improvement; management and international development. Since the 1960s he has been active in issues of education and schooling in Britain’s inner cities such as London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.



The state of Britain is messy and ugly. The nation is ill at ease with itself and more anxious about its future arguably than at any other time since the Second World War. In the face of seemingly unstoppable global trends and changes in its demography, Britain is seeking to retreat into a nativist, white identity and is increasingly placing boundaries around itself, rather than acknowledging its multi-ethnic character and the fact that it can never restore or reclaim a construction of nationhood based on imperial dominance, Britishness as whiteness and certainties about social order as regulated by class, wealth, racial superiority and coercive measures of state control.

What are the implications of multi-ethnicity, new definitions of Britishness, nativism, globalisation and neoliberalism for the future of Britain, in or out of Europe? Given the state we’re in, how is the current generation being assisted by schooling and education to forge a British identity and build a future society with the hallmark of equity, fairness and racial and social justice? If the ‘Windrush Generation’ is credited as helping to build modern Britain, how open and inclusive is the society to the generations for whom they made Britain home?