Birmingham Salon

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF CITIZENSHIP


Saturday 28 March 2020, 11.00am to 5.00pm
Upstairs, Old Joint Stock, 4 Temple Row West, Birmingham B2 5NY

Tickets £10 available in advance via Eventbrite
Join us for a day of debate and reflection on what it means to be a citizen. Should only citizens be able to vote? And if so, at what age? Should anyone, such as prisoners, be excluded from voting? And, how should society treat those who have broken the law and failed in their duties as citizens? What are prisons for – punishment or rehabilitation, or both?
What does it mean to be a citizen?
11.15am-12.45pm
Modern thinking has situated citizenship within the borders of nation states. But as nation states retreat from their responsibilities to run national economies and provide for citizens’ welfare, are the ‘citizens of somewhere’ losing out to more flexible notions of global citizenship?

With the weakening of national solidarities, is citizenship being replaced by individuated, consumerist and cultural identities? Or does it continue to be built through political solidarities and struggle? What is the relationship between citizenship and language, culture, place and participation in common goals and ideals? If citizenship is more than visas, passports, pledges of allegiance, and other trappings of state organised process, what is it? 
Speakers 
Claire Fox, Director, Academy of Ideas and author, 'I still find that offensive'

Mladen Pupavac, associate researcher, Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham. Co-author of the forthcoming book Changing European Visions of Disaster and Development.

Christine Huebner, researcher of citizenship, Research Fellow of the Citizenship, Democracy and Transformation Research Group, Nottingham Trent University. Christine's research focuses on changing conceptions of citizenship.
Rosie Cuckston, organiser of the Birmingham Salon 
The session will be chaired by Helene Guldberg, Associate Lecturer, Open University
Recommended reading
Global citizens vs the people, Jim Butcher, spiked, 7th December 2016
When can governments revoke citizenship? The Economist, 8th March 2019
The complex world of the global citizen, Irene Skovgaard-Smith, BBC, 10th November 2017
The session is produced by Helene Guldberg

12.45pm-1.30pm Lunch
There is no lunch provided, but there's an abundant choice nearby.

Who should be able to vote?
1.30pm-2.45pm
Being able to vote in general elections is essential to democratic life. The term democracy comes from the ancient Greek term demos (people), and means that ‘the people’ rule, in distinction to monarchies, where one person ruled, or oligarchy, where a small group ruled. But who are ‘the people’? Who should have a vote?

The electoral franchise has, in different ways, become increasingly contentious in recent years. Some argue, for example, that the voting age should be lowered to allow more progressive youthful voices to decide the future. There have been denunciations of ‘low-information’ voters, who are allegedly manipulated by lies and algorithms. Should the franchise be extended to 16-year olds? And what about EU citizens and prisoners?
Speakers
Greg Scorzo, philosopher, public intellectual, publisher and editor of Culture on the Offensive (COTO)

Fraser Myers, staff writer for spiked and producer of the spiked podcast
The session will be chaired by Lizzie Soden, creative director at Culture on the Offensive (COTO), freelance arts project manager, writer and digital artist/filmmaker.
Recommended reading
Labour members back proposal to give all UK residents voting rights, Frances Perraudin, The Guardian, 25th Sep 2019 
Votes for 16-year-olds should be based on wider evidence, not just a need for participation, Andrew Mycock and Jonathan Tonge, The Conversation, 2nd February, 2018
Votes for 16-year-olds is a completely undemocratic idea, Brendan O’Neill, spiked, 28th October 2019
Prisoners' voting rights: developments since May 2015House of Commons Briefing Paper, September 30, 2019
The session is produced by Helene Guldberg

What are prisons for?
3.00pm-4.30pm

Prisoners are denied many of the rights of citizenship, including being able to vote. But what are prisons for? And do prisons work? Denying their liberty serves an important function in punishing those who have broken the law. But is it not also humane to give prisoners the chance to turn their lives around?

Does the current prison system downplay people’s inherent capacity for change? Should there be more emphasis on people having the power to redeem themselves? If so, what changes need to be made to the UK prison system?
Speakers
Luke Gittos, solicitor practising criminal law, legal editor of spiked.
Jo Hurlow, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. 
Dr Anna Kotova, Prison researcher, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Birmingham. 
The session will be chaired by Pauline Hadaway, co-founder of The Liverpool Salon and has worked in the arts and education since 1990

Recommended reading
‘Whole life’ orders are not the answer, Luke Gittos, spiked, 22nd November 2019

What are prisons for? Answering that is the starting point for reform, Kathryn Snow and Lynn Gillam, The Conversation, 14 June, 2015

We know that prison doesn’t work. So what are the alternatives? Jarryd Bartle, The Guardian, 16th August, 2019

This session is produced by Helene Guldberg

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