Leicester Exchanges

From one of the UK’s leading universities comes a new way to make real progress on some key issues that shape our society. Join some of Britain’s leading academics and highest-profile opinion formers as we seek answers that could change the way we live for the better. So, the floor is yours; will you make the most of it?

Hillsborough – 25 Years On

John Williams

By Mr John Williams, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Leicester.

April 15th 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. I was there on that day in 1989, torn between supporting my club and doing my day job as a football researcher. As the full impact of the disaster took hold from 3.06pm, so did a researcher’s instincts. What had happened – and who was to blame?  In fact, taking responsibility for events on that day was effectively sidestepped for the next two decades. Fast forward 20 years to 15 April 2009 and I was also present with an estimated 30,000 Liverpool supporters and sympathizers attending the annual memorial service at Anfield for the 96 supporters who had died at Hillsborough.  This was to prove a critical juncture in the history of the various campaigns for ‘justice’ organized by supporters and bereaved Liverpool families. Read More »

Malaysian MH370: The importance of perspective

Simon Bennett

By Dr Simon Bennett, Director, Civil Safety and Security Unit, University of Leicester.

Following the 8 March, 2014 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 a respected aviation journalist said: “Catastrophic things do not happen to modern aeroplanes. They just don’t”. Well, they do. Since 1948 around eighty aircraft have been declared ‘missing’ where not a single corpse, skeleton or scrap of metal has been found. Aircraft can fall from the sky or vanish for many reasons.

In the 1950s metal fatigue – at that time an unfamiliar failure mode – destroyed several Comet airliners. In September 1970 the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four commercial passenger jets to Dawson’s Field, a remote desert airstrip in Jordan. Read More »

Live event catch up: Social mobility – realising ambitions

Mark Riley Cardwell reports on the Leicester Exchanges live debate, which took place at the national office of charity Teach First, in London, on Thursday 13 March 2014. The topic under discussion was how both higher education and graduate employers can help push social mobility further, giving everyone the opportunity to realise their ambitions.

Many talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds still believe top graduate jobs are simply not open to them, experts warned at an event to discuss social mobility in graduate recruitment.

Speakers from leading graduate employers said it was up to organisations to spark the aspirations of children from non-privileged backgrounds early on to prevent them “self-selecting” themselves out of high-flying jobs. Read More »

Teaching Creative Writing

Jonathan Taylor

When I was eight years old, my anxious father went into my school to ask my teacher if I was (and I quote – this was his term, not mine) “backward or something,” because I had not yet learnt to read or write. The teacher reassured him: although I could not read or write yet, I clearly loved books and regularly sat in the Library Corner “stroking them.” I was sure to pick it all up soon, if only through a process akin to osmosis – by stroking books, I might absorb the words through my fingertips. Read More »

Live event: Social Mobility – Realising Ambitions

The team is pleased to annouce the second live event of 2014: Social Mobility – Realising Ambitions

The Time, The Place

Our next live Leicester Exchanges event is on Thursday 13 March 2014, 6:00pm – 8.15pm, Teach First, 4 More London Place, London SE1 2AU. Read More »