Britishness and diverse communities in a post-Brexit world

Lord Parekh to discuss the crisis of British identity for University of Leicester public lecture on 1 November

The conflicting perceptions of Britishness and what they mean for Leicester’s diverse communities after Brexit will be examined by a leading figure in multiculturalism for the University of Leicester.

The issue will be discussed by Lord Parekh for the University’s Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Unit (DICE) annual lecture entitled ‘The Crisis of British Identity’. It will take place at 6pm on Thursday 1 November 2018 in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building.

The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session with Lord Parekh and is free and open to the public.

In his exclusive visit to Leicester, Lord Parekh will argue that the current controversy about Britain and the European Union reflects two conflicting ways of seeing Britishness today. For Brexiteers, Britain is both singular and global, with a history that marks it off from the rest of the world. For Remainers, Britain’s European roots marks its special character and global reach. Its membership of the European Union both expresses and reinforces British identity.

Lord Parekh discusses these deeply held views and asks what the debate about Brexit means for Leicester’s diverse communities today.

Bhikhu Parekh was Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, chair of the Runnymede Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is, without doubt, one of the key post-war figures in debates about British multiculturalism.

Professor Surinder Sharma, co-director of DICE, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to listen to the views of one of the key scholars on British multiculturalism at a moment when relations between Britain and the rest of the world are changing, perhaps forever. How will this impact on people in Leicester and Leicestershire, and what does it mean for the future of multiculturalism? This is a debate that involves all our futures, so we are hoping that people in Leicester and Leicestershire will want to be involved.”