The Bradford Literature Festival is marking the 40th anniversary of the Race Relations Act with a timely discussion of the dynamics between different religions, races and communities in our society. How has the debate shifted away from questions of race and towards questions of faith in the past four decades, especially against the current backdrop of Islamophobia, and what has prompted that shift? In turn, how has this shift impacted upon civil liberties?

Leading the conversation are our panelists, all of whom have directly engaged with this most pressing issue. Nadia Latif, director of the planned National Youth Theatre production ‘Homegrown’, participated very publicly when the production was cancelled around fears that it pursued an extremist agenda; Dr Nasar Meer specialises on the history and policy of race equality in the UK; and Jay Bernard addresses identities and restrictions on civil liberties through her writing.

All are well-placed to assess how far we have travelled from tensions surrounding race relations towards those linked to faith relations, and where we might go from here.

Contributors

Jay Bernard

Jay Bernard is the recipient of a Foyle Young Poet award (2005). She was the inaugural 2012 writer-in-residence at the Arts House and National University of Singapore and 2013 City Read young writer-in-residence at London Metropolitan Archives. Her second book, ‘English Breakfast’, appeared in 2013. In her own words: ‘I am interested in graphic/public art, film, literature, technology, cyber-feminism, queerness and impending doom(s).’

Nadia Latif

Nadia Latif is a theatre director, working almost exclusively on new writing. She has worked at a number of theatres and companies, including the RSC, National Theatre, Almeida, Headlong, Bush, Soho and Tricycle. Last year her production of ‘Homegrown’, co-created with writer Omar El-Khairy, hit the headlines when the show was shut down halfway through rehearsals after police and state intervention.

Nasar Meer

Dr Nasar Meer is an academic at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He has written books and research articles on the history and policy of race equality in the UK, as well on Muslim consciousness in Britain and Europe, and how these topics need to be understood in terms of multicultural citizenship.