Race Symposium 2017

1st March 2017

News, Student news

Poets, photographers and activists were among speakers at Wadham’s second Race Symposium focusing on the question Can Multiculturalism Work?

  • Author and poet Dumi Senda

  • Sara Shamsavari

    Keynote speaker and photographer, Sara Shamsavari

  • Masters student Athol Williams

  • Princess Ashilokun

    Princess Ashilokun

  • Athol Williams

    Athol Williams

Organised by second year Wadham Law student and People of Colour Representative of the student union Mannat Malhi, some 50 people gathered to hear topical discussions from a variety of speakers.

Mannat Malhi reports: “The day began with poetry from Princess Ashilokun, who is currently studying English Literature and Language at Magdalen. She focussed on how her poetry has been shaped by her experiences as a black woman in the United Kingdom.

Athol Williams, a Masters student at Hertford College who was born in South Africa, spoke powerfully about the complex racial policies which existed under apartheid, particularly in relation to the racial mix of his parents. He is the co-founder of Read to Rise, an NGO that promotes youth literacy by making the appropriate books available to children in poor communities.

The keynote speaker for the event was Sara Shamsavari, a London based photographer and activist whose work links to multiculturalism in a variety of ways. Her videos and powerful, vivid photography display women and men in a complex and worthwhile manner. The Dandy Lion project and the Veil Series, showed the audience that identity and race are complex and multifaceted issues.

The student speaker panel featured two Wadham students, Zainab Majid, and Amira Fateh, co-founders of Empower her Voice, and Farheen Ahmed, former chair of the Campaign for Racial Equality and Awareness. These wonderful women discussed topical issues of multiculturalism within Oxford and ways that their work is changing the Oxford landscape.

The day was brought to a close by Dumi Senda, an internationally acclaimed award-winning poet and children's book author. Dumi has performed in honour of Nelson Mandela, and been a guest speaker at the United Nations, Geneva and the UK Houses of Parliament. His interactive poetry was a perfect end to a wonderful day of talks on multiculturalism and inclusion.”

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