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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Challenging Benefits Street: A response to negative media representation

Benefit StreetStockton-on-Tees Header

It seems the makers of ‘Benefits Street’ have shifted attention from Birmingham to the residents of Stockton on Tees. The controversial series is to return to Channel 4, claiming to “reveal the reality of life on benefits” amongst those living on the Portrack and Tilery estates in Stockton. But will the series adequately attend to the lived experiences and social issues which impact the lives of those who live in Stockton, or will it simply blame and demonise those it features?

The programme makers undoubtedly have a role here, but so too do those who watch Benefits Street. Reference to the work of Stuart Hall (1980) reminds us that the consumer of media discourse plays an active role in the interpretation and reproduction of the messages that are transmitted.

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Why we need to keep talking about gender and leadership


Judith Smith, Director of Policy, Nuffield Trust writes for HSMC viewpoint about Why we need to keep talking about gender and leadership. The original article and other posts for HSMC viewoint can be found here.

In 1987, like generations of NHS graduate management trainees, I made my way to Harrogate for the 2-day assessment centre which determined which bright-eyed and bushy-tailed graduates were to be admitted to the national scheme.  I can still recall how surprised and impressed I was that the final appointments panel was chaired by a woman chief executive, and that she took time during the interview to talk to me about the NHS’ opportunities and support for women managers.  Bear in mind that a similar interview for the then British Rail scheme, I had been asked why ever a woman would be interested in trains, and at another for the electricity supply industry, I found myself completely surrounded by male engineers and aspirant trainees.

So do we still need to keep talking about gender and leadership almost 30 years later, or is this yesterday’s issue?  There seems to be more positive news for women where NHS management is concerned: between 60 and 70% of trainees entering the NHS graduate scheme in the past three years have been female[1], and 36%[2]of NHS Chief Executives are women.

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Birmingham City Council summer work experience programme now open!


Applications for the Birmingham City Council Summer Programme are now open!

21 different departments have offered opportunities for students at the University of Birmingham to gain work experience over the summer.

To see the full list of positions available to apply for, please log in to Careers Connect and search for ‘Birmingham City Council’ under Opportunities.

Deadline for applications is the 5th January 2015.

For any questions please email

Careers Network mentoring scheme is open for a few more weeks!


For more information, please visit Current opportunities

Careers Network mentoring scheme is open for a few more weeks!

Open to all undergraduate students. We have a variety of mentors who work in politics, government and social work. We have some mentors with experience at local councils, NGOs and areas within the Public Sector. All of our mentors have a wealth of experience in a plethora of areas and will be of great benefit for developing your career path.
To apply you need to complete our Introduction to Mentoring Canvas Course and registration form at the end. Your details will then be imported into our new online system called Mentor Match Me, where you can then search for mentors and submit a proposal before the deadline of 28th November 2014.
For more information, please visit and if you have any questions please email

and if you have any questions please email

Time for a sensible drugs policy?

A study released today (30 Oct) by the home office has found that there is “no obvious” link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use. Responding to the publication of the study Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker believes that drug abuse should be treated as a health issue, comparing the UK with other countries, should end “mindless rhetoric” on drugs policy.

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Social Policy student wins #InternSelfie competition

Judah Chandra, a third year Social Policy student, has won the Careers Network’s #InternSelfie competition. Judah, who spent a month in China last Easter, took a photo of himself with the “oldest Japanese-war survivor”. Judah’s trip was part of the Study China Programme which was funded through a University of Birmingham Gateway Bursary.


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