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?

Changing the game for ‘elitist’ Britain

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By Dr Doris Ruth Eikhof, School of Management

Dr Doris Ruth Eikhof, University of Leicester School of Management dicusses the findings from the lastest report stating that the UK is ‘deeply elitist’.

Upper class elites rule the UK, holding key positions in politics, business, law, media, education and arts and culture. A report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission released this week documented that what the country does and thinks is determined by those educated in private schools and Oxbridge, an ‘old boys network’ that working class men and women find it difficult to break into. Shocking, yes, but hardly new and hardly surprising. As Niall MacKenzie of Strathclyde Business School commented, ‘in other news, water has been discovered to be wet.’ Half a century of initiatives to broaden access to education, arts and culture, and thus jobs and careers, have aimed to reduce elitism in the UK. Some of those initiatives even make extremely successful TV viewing: Channel 4’s ‘Educating Yorkshire’, for instance, made the nation’s heart go out to youngsters struggling for a decent start in life. Identification with the working class is so de rigeur in Britain that the middle classes especially do not dare speak their own name.

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Richard Attenborough held my hand and touched my life

Louisa Milburn

By Louisa Milburn, Director For Richard Attenborough Centre.

Louisa Milburn, Director For Richard Attenborough Centre reflects on the life and legacy of Lord Attenborough on The Conversation.

“Richard was a long time supporter of disability and the arts and he’d spearheaded the campaign that led to the opening of the Richard Attenborough (RA) Centre in 1997. As part of the University of Leicester, the RA Centre had won design awards for its approach to accessibility – at a time before legislation made this a requirement.

As we talked, it became clear that Richard was passionate about access to high quality arts for everyone. He wanted to ensure that disabled people had first-class opportunities in the arts, whether this was creating, watching, experiencing or performing. His vision was for a place where disabled people were fundamentally included, where disability was not viewed as a negative, where everyone could thrive.”

Read the full article on The Conversation

This article was originally posted on The Conversation


Why conspiracy theorists won’t give up on MH17 and MH370

Martin Parker

By Professor Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture, School of Management

Professor Martin Parker, School of Management, discusses on the Conversation whether accepting random events as mere coincidences is just too hard

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The investigation may take time to find the real perpetrators, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from speculating.

Human beings are pattern-seeking creatures. We take the raw material from our senses, and shape it into descriptions, theories and predictions. The conspiracies that now surround MH17 and prior to that flight MH370 are an example of the same urge to order.

Read the article in full on The Conversation website

This article was originally posted on The Conversation


For the world, a stitch in time saves nine; ignoring ISIS would mean one year’s seeds, seven year’s weeds.


By Karzan Karim, Regional Head, Middle East Operations.

Karzan Karim, Regional Head, Middle East Operations discusses the threat of ISIS in Iraq.

“Iraq has been the land of proxy-wars for many Islamic ideologies, which mainly started with The Battle of Karbala. Since then, Muslims have been killing each other under different pretexts. Other religious minorities and ethnic groups have always suffered atrocities, marking black pages in the history of Iraq. In the last 100 years, the Kurdish suffered genocide three times: after the First World War, just after the Second World War and under Saddam Hussein’s Regime. Let me bring your attention to what has happened over the last 100 days in Iraq. Fully one third of the country has been taken over by ISIS. Who are they? They do not want to see smiles even from the faces of children, they are brainwashed, with no heart to feel nor ears to listen as they operate under rigid adherence to doctrine.”

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England and the World Cup: not a marriage made in football heaven

John Williams

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

After months of rampant speculation, disturbingly detailed media stories about alleged FIFA corruption, accounts of the deaths of workers on multi-million stadium construction projects in Brazil, a shoal of violent local street protests, documentaries about the problems of poverty and Brazilian child prostitution, and millions of words spent on describing the world’s best players and coaches, the football World Cup finals are finally upon us.  Our feted South American hosts are up against Croatia tonight (Thursday 12 June) and England will soon be pitted against old rivals Italy, up in the heat and humidity of the Brazilian Amazonian tropics.

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