EKKLESIA is delighted to be promoting a forthcoming online seminar and discussion on Free Speech, Responsible Speech, and Hate Speech: Spiritual, Social, and Policy Perspectives. organised by our friends at the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, chaired by our director, Simon Barrow, 

This takes place on Wednesday 31 January 2024, from 7pm-9pm (UK time) and features a number of fascinating and expert contributors with diverse backgrounds in Scotland, Ghana, Jamaica and England.

Gameli Tordzro is a tradition bearer from Ghana. He is an educator, artistic researcher, director and performer and farmer.He works part-time in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow as an Artist in Residence with the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration Through Languages and The Arts (UNESCO RILA) and as a Research Associate of the MIDEQ Hub. He is also a freelance creative arts consultant and producer.

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer was born in Jamaica in 1940. He migrated to London in 1955. After studying in Leicester and Edinburgh and gaining a DSc in 1985 he secured financial support to set up the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), retired in 2005 and became Chancellor of the Heriot-Watt University in 2021. His work on the history of the enslavement of African people as British slaves has led him to work on slavery projects with Glasgow University and to chair projects set up by Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government on Museums and the University of Edinburgh. He has published books on race relations and cereal science and technology. He is the first Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Scotland.

Graham Campbell is a veteran political campaigner and community activist who in May 2017 was elected as Glasgow’s first African Caribbean councillor (SNP). Graham was instrumental in Glasgow City Council holding its first ever official Black History Month event hosted by the Lord Provost. He has a strong interest in supporting care-experienced young people, trade union rights, community empowerment, protecting cultural heritage, protecting refugee and migrant communities, and housing issues – including protecting tenants from slum landlords. A musician and dub poet, Graham is also a regular public speaker on Black politics, African Caribbean history and public affairs. He is Project Leader of ‘Flag Up Scotland Jamaica’, a twinning exchange project formed during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Pinar Aksu is currently in the final year of PhD at the University of Glasgow. Her research explores ‘art and law in migration, using art practices for social change and access to justice’. As  a Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator, she is involved with campaigns and projects supporting asylum and refugee rights, promoting integration and human rights. Current campaigns include the right to work, and access to education and bus passes for people seeking asylum in Scotland. Pinar is committed to using using theatre and creative methods to create social change.

Judy Wilkinson believe that if our lives and our culture are to change to deal with current global challenges it is important that we listen and talk to each other responsibly. Judy has been involved with allotments and their organisation for over forty years. Allotments can be regarded as a microcosm of the world, concerned with community engagement, health and wellbeing, ecology and climate change, as well as food security and horticulture. She has been an active member of national and local organisations concerned with issues arising from these concerns.

Simon Barrow is director of the Ekklesia think-tank, which focuses on beliefs, politics and ethics in public life, Simon is also a writer, lecturer and consultant on public policy, training and development, theology and politics. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists’ Ethics Council. He has authored and edited or co-edited numerous books, the latest of which is A Better Nation: The Challenges of Scottish Independence (Luath Press, May 2022). His forthcoming book Against the Religion of Power: Telling a Different Christian Story will be published by Ekklesia this year.

A donation of at least £10 (via PayPal) is requested from attendees. For details and registration, please email Neill Walker of EICSP at [email protected]