Call for Contributions : Celebrating the Migrant Contribution to British Society

As part of Leeds Beckett University’s Race and Education Working Paper Series, we are inviting academic and artistic responses to Windrush 70.

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2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948, carrying more than 490 Caribbean men and women. Since then stories of the Windrush Generation have been researched, recognised and preserved thanks to, among others, Sam King MBE, Arthur Torrington CBE, Mike and Trevor Phillips, Professor Stuart Hall FBA, Dr Denise Nobel, Dr Michael McMillan, David Olusoga, Stephen Bourne, Marika Sherwood, S.I. Martin, Dr Angelina Osborne, Lynda Burrell and Catherine Ross. A photograph of the Windrush was voted by the public as one of the 100 most iconic symbols of British history in 2011, and a model of the Windrush was included in the opening ceremony of Olympic Games and Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Yet this year an increasing number of people who were born in commonwealth countries (in particular the Caribbean), who migrated to the UK as children between 1948 and 1971, are being threatened with deportation. Thousands have signed petitions calling for government to stop deportations, change the burden of proof and establish an amnesty.

In an attempt to challenge the negative rhetoric around migration, there has been a growing campaign to embrace Windrush 70 (2018) as a year in which to celebrate the contributions made by the first big group of postwar immigrants from the West Indies (there had already been a Black presence in Britain for centuries), along with others who came from the British Empire. Also to reach across our many different ethnic, faith and family heritages, to reject prejudice and intolerance, and to shape a fair and inclusive future that we all want to share. For many, Windrush 70 provides an opportunity to recognise the contributions which immigration and integration have made to our society over the generations.

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