In May 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests swept across America and extended to the UK along with many other nations. Perhaps galvanised by the sheer brutality of George Floyd’s death, captured on film for all to witness; perhaps compounded by the collective psychological impact of Covid-19, a time when shared commitment to giving our all to protect life was seemingly at the heart of global consciousness and yet people of Black and ethnic minority backgrounds remained far more likely to die from it; George Floyd was the latest in a long line of Black men and women to die at the hands of those who should be there to protect them. His death sparked a response of collective action in America, not seen since the civil rights era. Under the mantra of ‘Black Lives Matter’, UK demonstrations took place in more than 150 towns and cities. From London to Hull, Manchester to Cardiff, Glasgow to Birmingham, Bristol to Sheffield, and Belfast to Bangor, anti-racism protestors united to demand radical change. Whilst demonstrating against police brutality and racism in America, protestors in the UK also emphasised how these same issues of anti-Black racism play out in the UK too, pointing to deaths including those of Rashan Charles, Sheku Bayoh, Mark Duggan, and Dalian Atkinson. All these men died during attempts by UK police to either apprehend or restrain them, or whilst in police custody. Protestors also highlighted the death of Belly Mujinga who lost her life to Covid-19 after reportedly having been spat at while working at Victoria Station. Her death offering just one poignant reminder of a significant disparity between racial groups in the UK which sees members of Black and Minority Ethnic communities more vulnerable to dying from Covid-19.
exual violence and the fear of sexual abuse can have a profound and devastating effect on not only individuals but entire communities. Public outrage often leads to more punitive measures towards combatting sexual violence wherein keeping convicted sex offenders in prison for longer may seem appealing but in reality, this doesn’t contribute towards reducing the risk of reoffending. There are many factors associated with reoffending such as social and emotional isolation, unemployment or not having something meaningful to do in life. While it is a bitter pill to swallow for the public when it comes to rehabilitating sex offenders, the hardest fact that we must face is that the vast majority of sex offenders will one day be released and we need to provide support for their reintegration in order to avoid reoffending and reduce future victimization.
In the UK, as with many other developed countries, domestic energy use is a major contributor to our carbon emissions – accounting for around a quarter of all emissions in the UK and heat generation is a huge part of this (representing 78% of non-transport related energy consumption in the UK- Greenpeace, 2018).
This year has demonstrated a renewed interest in greenspaces, as the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in greenspaces becoming even more important for facilitating social interaction, exercise, and respite from the household (Kale, 2020). Recognising this growing area of research, over the ‘Summer’ I was involved in a staff/student research project in collaboration … Continue reading Exploring the effect of Covid-19 on the future of Sheffield’s greenspaces
The Covid-19 pandemic and related social and economic crises have prompted calls for governments to catalyse a green recovery. This blog aims to complement these proposals, drawing on a recent article written with Aidan While about the differential capacity to act on low carbon goals across people and places.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm’s Final Report into the Online Gambling Sector, which was published earlier this month, presents a roadmap for government, the Gambling Commission and industry to develop a safer and fairer gambling environment, and limit gambling-related harm in Great Britain. Writing in 2014, I noted how the rise in online gambling had made gambling opportunities more readily available to large swathes of the population, whilst simultaneously undermining many of the restrictions, player protection measures and responsible gambling strategies typically found in land based establishments. Over the last decade, online gambling has been a key propellant of citizens’ gambling expenditure, industry profits and state taxation revenues, with citizens losing £5.3 billion gambling remotely in 2019 alone.
The importance of communication is never more apparent than at times of significant events. From the UK leaving the European Union, to Harry and Meghan stepping away from British monarchy, it is through communication that our realities materialise. Indeed, as scholar Daniel Nelson reflects, it is a truism that ‘wars start and end with words’. It is no surprise then that a deep-rooted concern with getting communications ‘right’ lays at the heart of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From government messaging to public health advice, from media debate to conversations with our families, our awareness of the need for successful communications ripples through our consciousness as we try to overcome this disease.
Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the UK Government issuing instructions for members of the public to 'stay at home' with limited exceptions for shopping, exercise, medical need, and essential travel for work purposes. These directions are supported by Regulations that restrict the operation of public meeting places (or Third Places) including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms. The guidelines for entering a public space, and the maintenance of a 2 metres distance from other individuals not of the same household, pose fresh questions about blurred spatial boundaries.
Dr Emma Bimpson and Dr Kesia Reeve discuss the unique and profound challenges that COVID-19 is likely to pose to mothers experiencing homelessness.
Last year we completed a research study exploring the experiences of homeless mothers for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and Sheffield Hallam University. Now that we are all adjusting to a life spent entirely at ‘home’ we have had cause to think about the mothers who participated in that research. It is difficult to imagine what the domestic circumstances described by those women – in the lead up to their homelessness and then afterwards – would look like in the context of COVID-19.