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Postcards from Scotland

Creating Good Lives: Class, inequality, work, family, education, environment, drugs, well-being ...






Friday, 29th October, Strathclyde Suite, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, £60 plus VAT

Chair: Baroness Helena Kennedy

Keynote speaker: Professor William Julius Wilson ' Why both Social Structure and Culture Matter in a Holistic Analysis of Inner-City Poverty'.

This conference was designed to help participants gain a better understanding of the type of social problems which have become endemic in urban areas and to encourage agencies to work better together to find solutions. 

Professor Wilson, the keynote speaker, is a professor at Harvard University and author of some of the most influential sociology texts on poverty and worklessness.You can read more about Professor Wilson on these pages but it is worth noting that he is one of the USA's most honoured and distinguished academics; Time magazine described him in the mid 1990s as the 26th most influential person in America. His work on worklessness was one of the inspirations for David Simon's celebrated series, The Wire, and Professor Wilson teaches a course on The Wire in Harvard University. (The Centre also ran a pre-conference talk on The Wire which was sold out.)

The event aimed to introduce people to new thinking on inequality, worklessness, well-being and the variety of factors that lead to poor health and functioning and problems with drugs and alcohol. Dr Carol Craig, who recently wrote about the challenges facing  Glasgow in her book The Tears that Made the Clyde, explained the conference themes and objectives in a talk called 'Why the long title?'

Please use the menu on the right to access additional conference information.

Additional plenary speakers:

Professor Susan Deacon, recently appointed by the Scottish Government to make recommendations on the early years

Dr Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer, Scotland

Dr Carol Craig, Centre for Confidence and Well-being

Peter Lynas, Relationships Foundation

Professor George Morris, Consultant in Ecological  Health, NHS Health Scotland

Professor Phil Hanlon, Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow

Breakout sessions

There were six breakout sessions involving some of the plenary session speakers and additional contributors. These sessions were designed to encourage cross-fertilisation between the themes. This meant that the first part of the discussion was on the chosen topic but there was time to discuss the other conference themes.

Early years and education
: Alan Sinclair who has done a lot of work on the importance of this topic facilitated the session and and Susan Deacon also participated.

Families, relationships and health: This session was facilitated by Carol Craig. Contributors included Peter Lynas of the Relationships Foundation.

Work, employability and skills: The session was facilitated by Professor Stephanie Young, Skills Development Scotland

Regeneration and real communities: This session was facilitated by Andy Milne from the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum

Drugs and alcohol: This session was facilitated by Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, Head of the Violence Reduction Unit of Scotland, and involved the Rev John Matthews who was Chair of the Independent Enquiry into Drugs and Alcohol which will report in the autumn, Phil Hanlon, its principal adviser, and Mike McCarron who was heavily involved in an earlier report.

New thinking, new action: This session was facilitated by Andrew Lyon of the International Futures Forum and was aimed at those who want to discuss how 'business as usual' ways of doing things such as targets, command and control leadership and centralised control are all exacerbating the problem and what new ways of working may be helpful. Community activist, Cathy McCormack, and author of The Wee Yellow Butterfly, also spoke at this break-out session.

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