IRiS Roundtable series – Opportunity or challenge for addressing inequality?


When: 4th June 2015 (13:00-16:00)           Where: Muirhead Tower, 714/5

Many industrialised societies are becoming increasingly diverse and unequal. However, the relationship between these two phenomena is to date under-examined. In the second IRiS Key Concepts roundtable, we have invited internationally renowned academics with long-standing expertise and interests in inequality to consider a range of questions.  These include:

  • How has inequality changed with the emergence of superdiversity?
  • Does a superdiversity lens help us to address or conceal structural inequality and power relations in contemporary society?
  • What new forms of social mobility and stratification are emerging in the context of superdiversity?

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‘Does Party Ideology Matter After All? A Mixed Methods Approach to Studying Welfare State Change under Left and Right Government Leadership’


When: 3 June 2015 (2-4 pm).      Where: Muirhead Tower, 710

Dr Stefan Kühner, University of York ( will present:
Prominent works in the comparative welfare state literature argue that Left and Right government leadership ceased to matter for social policy outcomes. Yet, pooled time-series cross-section (TSCS) analyses of these claims have been limited by a bias on aggregate welfare state effort or social security generosity as the dependent variables; the operationalisation of government ideology by means of Left and Right cabinet shares; and/or the use of time-invariant veto point indices to account for different institutional contexts. This presentation employs fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs/QCA) to test whether combinations of Left and Right government leadership, cabinet centres of ideological gravity, shifts of ideological centres and constitutional structures were necessary or sufficient conditions for welfare state change across a sample of 108 governments in 12 high-income countries between 1979-2010.

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Reflections on participatory research


Venue: Courtyard Room, HSMC (Park House)       When: Wednesday 3rd June 2015: 1.00 – 3.00pm

The seminar will provide reflections on the experience and findings from two participatory research projects, with an opportunity to discuss the future of the participatory research theme in the College of Social Science.


1.00: Chair’s intro and welcome: Joy Fillingham

1.05: Co-researching micro-care: Kerry Allen, Adrian Murray and Gareth Welford

1.35: Comments and questions

1.45: The right to be heard: independent mental health advocacy in England: Laura Able and Karen Newbigging

2.15: Comments and questions

2.25: Break for refreshments

2.35: Open discussion: the impact and future of participatory research in the College

3.00: Close

If you like to attend this free seminar, please contact Evelina Balandyte at

Why do good people do bad things – and how should we respond? Developing organisational commitment to compassionate care


Venue: Heath Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham          Date: 8th & 9th June 2015

Cost: £545 (per person for both days including lunch) Please note overnight accommodation and dinner is NOT included. Note 10% discount if NHS Alliance and RCN members

When something major goes wrong in health and social care, we tend to hold a formal inquiry, produce an action plan and vow that such events must never happen again.  And yet all too often they do.

In contrast, HSMC has been focusing on the concept of care work as ‘emotional labour’ (the idea that we all have an emotional bank which we need to keep topped up, and that staff who don’t feel cared for themselves will find it almost impossible to deliver good care to others).  The common argument that ‘giving someone a smile costs nothing’ is true financially – but it isn’t true emotionally.  Perhaps if Boards spent as long discussing staff support and the emotional labour of care as they do the finances and waiting times then the care we deliver might be radically different?

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How can we improve the quality of public services? A public debate hosted by the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC), University of Birmingham


Date: Tuesday 31st March, 11-12.30        Venue: Law, Lecture Theatre 2, University of Birmingham

This house believes that ‘given the challenges we face, choice and competition are the least worst way of reforming public services’


  • Sir Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy, London School of Economics and former health advisor to Tony Blair (speaking for the motion)
  • „„Dr. Robert Page, Reader in Democratic Socialism and Social Policy, Institute of Applied Social Studies, University of Birmingham (speaking against the motion)
  • „„Prof. Jon Glasby, HSMC Director (chair)

Faced with a series of financial, demographic and social challenges, governments around the world are grappling with very difficult decisions about the future of their welfare services. In the UK, a key contribution to this debate has been made by Sir Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and a former health advisor to the British Prime Minister. One of many of Julian’s contributions has been to argue that greater choice and competition can be powerful tools for reform, potentially having more positive impact and fewer negative knock-on effects than other approaches (such as trusting front-line professionals to deliver a good service, relying on targets and performance management, or drawing on service user voice).

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Social Policy and LGBTQ led Interfaith Event


Last month, the Department of Social Policy teamed up with the University LGBTQ Association to host an LGBTQ focussed interfaith event as part of LGBTQ History Month. The event was designed as a networking event to create debate in smaller groups and to let speakers and traditional audience members discuss with one another the issues of faith and sexuality.

LGBTQ and faith issues are important in our society of growing multiculturalism. Yet despite this growing diversity and growing public acceptance for gay rights, religion and faith is still an issue today. In general, Anti-LGBT sentiments in religion can both cause personal anxiety over sexual orientation and gender for LGBTQ people, and lead them to being isolated from their culture and community. Stonewall surveys found that 75% of young gay people attending faith schools have experienced homophobic bullying. This isolation can be alleviated through finding more supportive branches of faiths.

The event had speakers included Rabbi Leah Jordan from liberal Judaism, Rose Neelam from the Muslim Women’s Charity the Safra Project, Rev Dr Catherine Shelley from the Anglican Church, Rev Andrew Braizer from the Methodist Church , Fr Patrick Mileham from the Catholic church, and speakers from the University of Birmingham Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. Unfortunately, Sikh and Hindu Associations were unable to attend.

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ParliaMentors 2015/16 – Applications Now Open!

Do you see yourself as a future community or political leader? Would you like to develop your skills through a fullyfunded, year-long programme? How often do you get the chance to be mentored by an MP?  
ParliaMentors is a UN Award winning leadership programme where teams of university students of different faiths and non-religious beliefs collaborate to create real social change while being mentored by a local MP.  
Through expert-led training, support from local and national NGOs and opening up access to Westminster, ParliaMentors gives students the networks and skills they need to affect real change in their communities, in their careers and in the political arena.  
On the programme, you will: 
  • See politics in action: Gain a unique insight into the political process while being mentored by MPs and Peers. 
  • Create social change: Work in mixed-belief teams to create social action projects with support from leading charities. 
  • Develop leadership skills: Learn through direct experience, expert-led training workshops and events. 
  • Build networks: Create new professional and personal links and join our 300-strong global network of young leaders. 
For more information and access to our online application form click here:  
ParliaMentors runs alongside the academic year, starting in September 2015 and running until June 2016. You must therefore be a current student next academic year to apply. The deadline for applications is Friday 27th March, but places are limited so apply as soon as possible  
This video also gives a great idea of what the programme is all about. 
If you have any questions that aren’t answered by our FAQs then please get in touch at or call us on 0207 485 1350.