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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Race Talks Seminar Series

The Race Talks seminar series concluded in Michaelmas 2023 with Transatlantic Dialogues: A Symposium on Race, Imprisonment, and Transformative Justice on Thursday 16 November 2023. A recording of the Symposium will be made available here in the coming weeks.

The organisers would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the seminars over the past two years.

Transatlantic Dialogues: A Symposium on Race, Imprisonment,
and Transformative Justice

2.30 - 6.00pm, Thursday 16 November 2023

St. John’s College Divinity School, Main Lecture Theatre, St. Johns Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP

  • Keynote Speakers: Malik Al NasirMalcolm Mays
  • Co-Discussant: Dr Adam Elliot-Cooper
  • Moderator: Chelsea Jackson

In the wake of the deeply troubling and dystopic events of the past few years, along with the insurgent forms of public resistance that ensued in response to the legal and extra-legal violence visited on Black communities and calls to abolish the prison system and the police, we are urgently being compelled to re-imagine and re-orient our approaches to equity, justice, and the pursuit of freedom. We have collectively witnessed the state-sanctioned abandonment of people who contracted COVID-19 while imprisoned in overcrowded ‘correctional’ facilities like Angola State Penitentiary in the US. Additionally, the likelihood that a prisoner held on remand is from a BME group across England and Wales has steadily risen since late 2019. It is imperative to dissect these issues within a broader transatlantic framework, to engage their differences and continuities. While each context has its unique challenges—from stop and search in the UK to the US carceral state—the shared threads of racial injustice run deep. This transnational symposium explored these issues from the perspective of previously incarcerated peoples.

Full Programme Available Here


Malik Al Nasir is an author, poet and academic from Liverpool. His memoir Letters to Gil is a compelling account of his childhood experiences in a brutal UK Local Authority care system, which at eighteen, left him traumatised, semi-literate, homeless, and destitute.

Malcolm Mays, born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, is a modern-day renaissance man. Recognised for his filmmaking at an early age, with his first film premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, Mays has continued to pursue a multifaceted career as an actor, writer, filmmaker, and philanthropist.

Adam Elliott-Cooper is a lecturer in the School of Politics and IR, Queen Mary University of London. Elliott-Cooper is the author of Black Resistance to British Policing (MUP, 2021) and Empire’s Endgame: Racism and the British State (Pluto Press, 2021).

Chelsea A. Jackson the Equity Architect, is a political scientist, scholar, activist, TEDx speaker and founder of Equity Architecture which helps organisations to ‘walk the talk’ by leveraging the power of social justice and AI. Part of the feminist collective Cradle Community, co-author of Brick by Brick: How we Build a World Without Prisons (2021). 

This event is free to attend and open to all though pre-registration is required. To register in-person: Eventbrite In-Person and to register online: Eventbrite Online

Sponsored by Mansimble Tea & Estate.

Convenor: Ola Osman, PhD Candidate, UCCGS (

Race Talks - Tito Texidor III on Unsplash

Race Talks is a bi-weekly seminar series that investigates processes and histories of race and gender making. Race Talks is attuned to the ways in which universities as institutions are animated by histories of colonialism, which in turn shape the organisation of knowledge production as well as citational practices. In view of this fact, we are particularly committed to inviting scholars of colour in a feminist effort to honour the radical intellectual work that emerges from the margins.

The Race Talks seminar series aims to foster critical conversation about race, racialisation, and processes of race-making. The seminar series will provide a forum for students from across the University who are interested in integrating critical race approaches and feminist scholarship in their work. It may be of particular interest to students in the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies and those working with the Race Research Cluster in the Department of Sociology.

At each seminar, an invited speaker will give a short talk about the seminar topic and then invite participants to share their reflections. Each seminar will also have a curated reading list, which participants will be encouraged to read beforehand and prepare questions and thoughts to share with the rest of the group.

Follow 'Race Talks' at:

Twitter: @racetalkscam Instagram: @racetalkscam Youtube: @racetalkscambridge

If you would like to attend Race Talks, please email Vincenzo Paci, UCCGS Administrative Assistant, and ask to be placed on the mailing list.

Photo credit Tito Texidor III on Unsplash