Reading the Riots: Community Conversations

Published On 9 February, 2012 | By Ja'e | community, Events
The Guardian launches Reading the Riots Community Conversations, a series of debates in riot-affected cities.

Reading the Riots Investigating England's summer of disorder (Guardian Shorts)

In partnership with the London School of Economics (LSE), the Guardian is launching a community conversation initiative which will be supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. This comes as part of their ongoing investigation on the UK’s summer of disorder last year.

Six months on from the unprecedented events of last August, the Guardian/LSE’s ground breaking collaborative study into the disturbances is hosting a series of grassroots debates in riot-affected cities across England.


reading-the-riots-colourThese meetings will be open debates, organised in conjunction with local community groups, and will be a chance for the people directly affected by the riots to give their views about what happened in the summer and in the aftermath.


The first debate took place this morning in Tottenham, the area of north London which lit the spark for the riots, after an initially peaceful protest following the police shooting of local man Mark Duggan turned violent.


The inaugural event was staged in support of the campaigning group North London Citizens who launched their Citizens’ Inquiry Report into the causes and consequences of the riots in Tottenham. Speakers at the event included David Lammy, the Labour MP for the area, and local children who attend school with the children of Mark Duggan.


The first phase of the Guardian/LSE Reading the Riots research was published in December 2011, and included interviews with around 270 people who took part in the riots. As well as community events, phase two of the research will include interviews with frontline police officers and those in command positions, as well as looking at how the criminal justice system responded to these unprecedented events.

To share your views and attend a local community conversation email View the conversation dates below.

Community Conversation dates

Peckham: Tuesday 21 February

In partnership with the Damilola Taylor Trust
Damilola Taylor Centre, 6pm-8pm


Gary Trowsdale CEO, Damilola Taylor Trust
Jan Asante, Gizella Boutique (affected by riots)
Ben Ferguson, Guardian-LSE Reading the Riots

Croydon: Thursday 23 February

In partnership with Croydon Voluntary Action
CVA Resource Centre, 6pm-8pm


Cllr Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and big society
Karen Chillman, CVA manager
Carl Neilson Rock Bottom, local business owner
Yemisi Adegoke, Croydon resident, Guardian-LSE Reading the Riots

Birmingham: Tuesday 28 February

In partnership with the Haven Community Project
The Drum, 6pm-8pm


Mukhtar Dar, film-maker and director of arts
Simon Jay, Haven Community Project, Guardian-LSE Reading the Riots

Liverpool: Thursday 1 March

In partnership with the Unity Community Project
The Unity, Toxteth, 6pm-8pm


Earl Jenkins, Unity Community Association
Wally Brown, retired principle of Liverpool College
Ricky Jones, Tiber Youth
Tracey Tgore, Biko Housing Association
Katinka Weber, Guardian-LSE Reading the Riots

Community Conversation at the Faith Forum for London Conference: Monday 5 March

Stamford Bridge


Boris Johnson, mayor of London
Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark
Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company

Manchester: Tuesday 6 March

In partnership with the Social Action and Research Foundation
Friends Meeting House, 6pm-8pm


Cllr Pat Karney, lead member for communities
Diane Curry, Partners of Prisoners

Salford: Thursday 8 March

In partnership with the Social Action and Research Foundation
2 Pendleton Gateway, 6pm-8pm


Cllr John Merry, leader of Salford council

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