Human rights campaigner opens successful inequalities conference

Date 21.09.2017

A leading peace and human rights campaigner kicked off a hugely successful conference at the University of Northampton which put inequalities under the spotlight.

Ahlam Akram, who is well known in Arab intellectual circles as a courageous female voice for human rights, gave the opening keynote speech at the third annual Approaches to Inequalities conference, which was held on Wednesday at Park Campus.

Delegates found out about her BASIRA (British Arabs Supporting Universal Women’s Rights) organisation, which screens films dealing with social issues which stand as obstacles to social progress and justice for women in the Middle East and North Africa. The film below, Ana… Ahlaam, was screened during the talk:

Ahlam then outlined how religious family law can expose Arab women to violence and abuse within the family home.

Joining Ahlam on the bill for the day, were a number of University of Northampton academics.

Conference organiser and Senior Law Lecturer, Dr Melanie Crofts, delivered a presentation about sexual harassment and consent on university campuses.

Her Law colleague, Nick Cartwright, told delegates about the challenges he faces when determining the appropriate methodology to share the stories of the subjects of his PhD research.

Senior Lecturer in Social & Community Development, Tim Curtis, presented on tackling inequality in neighbourhood policing, while Sociology Lecturer, Dr Frederico Farini, presenting his research on young #refugees in Italy

Northampton graduate, Chris Jackson, provided an insight into his role at the University, which sees him provide academic support for students on the Social & Community Development course.

Conference organiser, Dr Melanie Crofts, said: “The day was an incredible success and both keynotes and the panel prompted some good questions and debate.  The quality of all the contributors was outstanding and some of the issues which were discussed on the day were whether we are now in a post-racial world, discrimination in financial services, the role of specialised support for mature and BME students in Higher Education and tackling discrimination like a virus. We were very lucky to have sponsorship from Shoosmiths LLP and Sarah Winship, Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager, launched the Approaches to Inequalities Research Group.  We look forward to organising the next conference for 2018!”

The programme for Approaches to Inequalities: whose business is it anyway?, can be downloaded here.

You can also follow the Twitter coverage of the day by using the hashtag #EqualityUoN. For any queries about the Approaches to Inequalities Research Group, please email