15 October 2020

The St Paul’s riots: From ‘mindless mob’ to ‘conscious crowd’

The violent disturbance in the St. Paul’s area of Bristol on 2 April 1980 is regarded as iconic. It heralded the beginning of a decade or more of unrest in English cities.

It is also central to the modern history of Bristol, marking a moment where issues of institutional and popular racism were forced into the media spotlight. National and local government bodies were obliged to search for explanations and generate policy responses.

Many contemporary reports in the media of the ‘St. Paul’s riot’ described the actions of an ‘immigrant’, ‘mob’ of ‘black youths’ who were ‘going wild’ in the ‘chaos’ of a ‘race riot’.

Using both written, visual and oral sources Roger Ball will re-examine the event and outline how this racialised and outmoded representation of the ‘crowd’ was challenged in its aftermath by ground-breaking, and now seminal, social-psychological research focussing on the concept of social identity.

Speaker: Dr Roger Ball is a Research Fellow at the Regional History Centre, UWE Bristol

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk in partnership with M Shed seminar series. Part of our Black History Month programme of events.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 2pm on Thursday 15 October..

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.


With thanks to our Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

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