• Scholar Spotlight - Rebecca Shorunke, MA student, Birkbeck, 2021 to 2023

    July 2023 Newsletter

    July 18, 2023

    Rebecca

    July 2023 Newsletter

    There seems to be a gap in the research when it comes to examining the experiences of black women police officers in the U.K with academic research, reviews and inquiries into police conduct, treating racist and sexist discrimination as two separate and distinct issues.

    I am keen to focus my dissertation on exploring the experiences of black women police officers in the Met police force, by interviewing current and former officers, and examining reviews and inquiries into police conduct e.g. Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the Casey Review.

    I want to understand how racist, sexist, classist, and potentially other discriminations, converge and diverge to oppress black women, as well as illuminate moments where these intersectional discriminations may have been manipulated to work in black women’s benefit. I’m interested to understand the coping mechanisms and survival strategies black women have adopted in response to their treatment in the Met, and whether they were able to achieve any structural change.

    Though I will be approaching this work using an intersectional framework, I will also be critiquing intersectionality’s capacity and limitations in capturing the full breadth of black women police officers’ experience in the Met.

    I have chosen to focus on the Met specifically because I am London based so can more easily access ex or current Met officers, I also grew up in London and therefore in and around the Met, and there has been an increased level of scrutiny directed at the Met in the wake of Wayne Couzens murder of Sarah Everard; serial rapist David Carrick; the Casey Review into police conduct and the historical Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, all of which resonate with the themes of my research.

  • May 2023 reflections by Jahan Foster and Satya Gunput

    July 2023 Newsletter

    July 18, 2023

    Jahan Satya

    July 2023 Newsletter

    On the 24 May, the Bonnart Trust convened a public seminar to platform its recent scholars’ research. Chaired by Dr Omar Khan of TASO, both Jahan and Satya presented work derived from their respective doctoral studies. Jahan shared her research on the experiences of Latin American migrants living in London, with a particular focus on the role children play in supporting their families’ access to essential resources such as education and welfare.

    Meanwhile Satya presented his work on South Asian migrants who moved to West London after the Second World War, documenting the changing forms of anti-racist activism that emerged across generations.

    Both these presentations highlighted the challenges and complexity of experiences faced by different migrant groups and ethnic minority communities in a global metropolis like London. Though communities separated by geography and time, there was a common thread of inequality and unequal access to rights and entitlements that ran through both these narratives. However, amidst these challenges, we also discovered opportunities for building solidarities and mobilising effective anti-racist movements.

    While each migrant community's experiences were unique, we discovered shared themes. For instance, understanding the historical and contextual factors proved crucial in comprehending the challenges faced by these communities. Southall's connection to empire and decolonisation shaped the emergence of anti-racist mobilisation, while the experiences of Latin Americans in London were influenced by the economic crisis and migration patterns, particularly mobility acquired through European citizenship.

    During the seminar, we also explored the complexities and hierarchies within migrant communities. The resentment that has been expressed by some ethnic minority communities towards EU migrants and their differentiated rights highlighted the postcolonial legacies and perceived hierarchies that persist. Acknowledging these disparities is crucial; nonetheless space still exists to cultivate a more constructive and inclusive anti-racist political politics.

    As the seminar progressed, the conversation explored the resilience of communities and their ability to seek support from community organisations. We found that solidarity existed not only within specific migrant communities but also through interconnections and shared resources. This led us to think about the question of how the increased consciousness of racism and inequality in British society could translate into more productive and sustainable forms of anti-racist politics. We wondered whether the solution lies in grassroots activism and local-level connections as a means of sharing resources, and empowering individuals within marginalised communities to challenge systemic injustices while also building bridges across different migrant and ethnic minority groups.

    Reflecting on our conversations, it became clear that building solidarities and mobilising anti-racist movements require localised efforts as well as broader national awareness. While acknowledging the challenges faced by migrant communities, it is essential to foster connections, understanding, and shared experiences within and across different communities. By acknowledging the historical progress made and learning from successful examples, an opportunity could exist to create a more inclusive and effective anti-racist movement that resonates with diverse migrant communities in Britain.

  • Audio recording of The Bonnart Trust's May 2023 Seminar

    July 18, 2023

  • ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - SATYA GUNPUT (PHD IN HISTORY, BIRKBECK, 2017 TO 2020)

    March 2023 Newsletter

    March 30, 2023

    March 2023 Newsletter

    What did it feel like to finish your PhD and to submit your viva?

    "I felt really proud to finish my PhD thesis. When I began it, I didn't anticipate that a global pandemic would intervene, and change so much about how I work, and how I related to my research. To get to the other side of it, see my PhD completed and received well, it made me feel like I had produced an important piece of work."

    What do you plan on doing next?

    “I might not have plans for a week or so whilst it sank in. During my viva, it was suggested that my PhD thesis could form the basis for a book. The prospect of that really enthuses me. It's something I'm very keen on following through. I really believe in the importance of my research, and hoping to spread it to as large and interested audience as possible."

  • SCHOLAR SPOTLIGHT - OLIVER TROWELL (MSC STUDENT IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, BIRKBECK, 2020 TO 2022)

    March 2023 Newsletter

    March 30, 2023

    Oliver Trowell for websitenewsletter

    March 2023 Newsletter

    My research focussed on the role of the Chinese Government in the reconstruction of post-conflict Syria and the rehabilitation of its economy, as well as its implications. Specifically, I sought to understand why China opted to assist Syria, a country which has experienced widespread destruction to its critical infrastructure and industries after more than a decade of war and remains constrained by economic sanctions.

    This research topic was chosen, in part, due to two of my key interests: counter-terrorism and counter-extremism, and soft power competition in international development. Using mostly qualitive methods, but with some secondary data analysis of Chinese investment and aid in Syria over the past two decades, I presented three key areas of interest that drive China's motives in Syria.

    First, it provides an arena through which it can confront the US and its allies in the Global North without risk of direct conflict. Second, Syria provides China with an opportunity to further secure Beijing's long-term energy interests and diversify its existing available supplies. Third, China recognises that the stabilisation of Syria will prevent the further outbreak of Salafi-Jihadist groups that threaten its domestic security and the successful rollout of the Belt and Road Initiative throughout Central and Western Asia.