Symposium on the legacy of Stephen Lawrence @ London South Bank University, Saturday 27 April 2013

The racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 attracted intense media attention and public debate. The findings of the 1999 Macpherson Inquiry into the flawed police investigation of the case have had far-reaching implications for the way that racism is understood in the UK, prompting an apparent shift from ‘institutional racism’ to official anti-racism. More broadly, the case has touched many aspects of social-political and cultural life, providing a frame of reference for changes in law, policing, race relations, education and the arts.

Yet despite the official recognition of the role that ‘institutional racism’ played in the murder investigation, there have been moves to undermine some of the changes and progress made. In 2004, for example, Michael Howard stated that the requirement of the police to keep a record of every stop was an example of ‘political correctness gone mad’. By 2009 the Labour government had reduced the amount of information that the police needed to record. Other recommendations from the Inquiry are yet to be fully implemented.

This symposium seeks to bring together academics, arts and cultural practitioners, teachers, and policymakers to explore the enduring legacy of the Stephen Lawrence case, and to promote interdisciplinary dialogue about its impact, 20 years on; at a time when racism is bubbling up in areas of British life, from politics to music to football, the issues raised by the case, and its wider resonance in public and cultural life, need to be revisited.

Invited speakers include:

  • Professor Les Back (Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London)
  • Professor Simon Cottle (Media and Communication, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies)
  • Rehana Minhas (Former Director of Education, initiating the Stephen Lawrence Standard in schools and colleges in Leeds)

Film screenings and performances will be programmed as an integral part of the event. For more information, email: