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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 at St. John's College, Divinity School. A recording of the Symposium is available to view here

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

  • 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.


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). 

Convenor: Ola Osman, PhD Candidate, UCCGS (

Race Talks - Tito Texidor III on Unsplash

Photo credit Tito Texidor III on Unsplash


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