Uses of Oracy Conference - Roundtable 4 - How is Citizenship *done* outside the classroom?


How is citizenship done outside the classroom?

Citizenship as it is written about in school textbooks is often different from the lived experience of young citizens trying to make their way in an unequal world.. In this discussion the challenges and inequalities of real-world citizenship are tackled head on. The speakers address three key questions: Which voices get to be heard and which ones are routinely ignored? What can young people do to make their voices powerful – to turn their words into democratic weapons? How can we develop practices of citizenship that emphasise creativity and pleasure and efficacy rather than mere duty and compliance?


Who were the speakers?

Marvina Newton is the founder of Black Lives Matter in Leeds, is CEO of youth-based charity Angel of Youths and is involved in countless initiatives aimed at challenging prejudice and inequality.

Safiya Saeed Saffiya is a community activist who works in schools and colleges, empowering, engaging, and enabling individuals from underrepresented communities. She is the founder of  Reach-Up Youth which comprises the Sisterhood Basketball group, a self-defense group for women, and Big Brother Burgreave, a mentoring scheme ‘led by the youth, for the youth’ that uses a buddy system to match up 17 and 18-year-olds with 11 to 16 year old for peer support and mentoring.

Mohamed Ibrahim is a member of Reach-Up Youth.

Robert Asen is Professor of Rhetoric, Politics and Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work focuses on the ways that political, economic, and cultural inequalities interact with relations of power to shape public discourse. He considers how powerful individuals and groups use discourse to maintain their privilege and how marginalized people seek to overcome exclusions to represent their needs, interests, and identities in the public sphere.

Cassie Kill is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds working on two ethnographic studies as part of the Speaking Citizens project.

Stephen Coleman is Professor of Political Communication at the University of Leeds.


Where can I find out more?

'Being Black and Being Me' -- a film by young volunteers from Youthwatch Leeds and Black Lives Matters Leeds about what it’s like to be a black child or young person living in Leeds today.

Asen, Robert. "Neoliberalism, the public sphere, and a public good." Quarterly Journal of Speech 103.4 (2017): 329-349.

Weston, Sarah. "Redistributing the means of vocal production: Voice training as a tool of political intervention." Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies 4.1 (2019): 37-54.

Coleman, Stephen. "Citizenship and the speaking subject." Citizenship studies 18.3-4 (2014): 408-422.