Call for Participants

Criminalising Dissent: A Closing Space for Civil Society?

Seminar and roundtable

Friday 1 March 2019, University of Brighton, Falmer campus

The criminalisation of protest is a growing and worrying trend across the world. While in North America and Western Europe this trend has been researched extensively, the research capacity in England and Wales appears much smaller.

But developments in the past decade or so offer an impetus for renewed attention by experts on protest, direct action, repression, policing and law. In his 2016 country visit to the United Kingdom, for instance, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association noted a ‘closing space for civil society’. Specific concerns were raised about the UK’s counter-extremism strategy, the surveillance of political activists, the policing of protests and the Trade Union Act.

This seminar and round table discussion will explore the gradual trends in the relationship between criminal justice and protest. Invited speakers will present work-in-progress reports on public order policing and covert surveillance, trials and sentencing, court decisions and legislative changes.

Confirmed presenters: Andrea Brock (Sussex), Lydia Dagostino (Kellys Solicitors), Joanna Gilmore (York), Graeme Hayes (Aston), Will Jackson (LJMU) and David Mead (UEA).

We want to provide:

  • A forum to discuss, map and evaluate trends in state responses to protest and dissent.
  • An open and friendly space to encourage networking and collaborations, especially of senior and early career researchers and to include activists, civil liberties campaigners and practicing lawyers.
  • A place to disseminate research findings and develop questions for future research.

Details: This event is made possible by the generous support of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics (SECP) at the University of Brighton and an Innovation Fund Grant by the British Society of Criminology. It will take place at the Falmer campus of the University of Brighton, Friday 1 March 2019 (morning start, finish early afternoon). To register, interested parties should get in touch with the organisers as soon as possible. Please note there are limited places available and applicants will be selected based on the direct relevance of their research, work and/or activism.

Organisers: Raphael Schlembach, Deanna Dadusc, Roxana Cavalcanti, Francesca Kilpatrick. Please contact Raphael at r.schlembach@brighton for details.