Archive | Education

The Origins & Effects of Asbestos in Leeds


Dr Jessica Van Horssen, Senior Lecturer in North American History at Leeds Beckett, will host an informative session a the origins and effects of asbestos in Leeds on Wednesday 6th December, 12.30 -1.30pm at Leeds Town Hall.

Dr Van Horssen will share her research into the origins of asbestos in Canada and how it made its way to Leeds. “I have been researching Canadian asbestos for over a decade but, since moving to Leeds, I have tried to find out where it all went, and the harm it’s caused here.

“I will be focusing on the transnational path of asbestos, from the mines of Canada to Leeds. Turner & Newall were the big asbestos company in the north of England and they owned a mine in Canada. Asbestos is a fireproof mineral, so was added to things like wool and cotton during their milling to make garments (and more) fireproof.

“The first known death due to asbestos-related disease was in 1909 – a factory worker in the Manchester area. The first time someone died of asbestos-related disease in Leeds was in 1928, when two employees at the Roberts factory in Armley (owned by Turner & Newall) died at roughly the same time. From there, cases continued to grow, but the mineral was so essential to modern life and warfare that the industry didn’t slow down due to health risks.”


Dr Van Horrsen will draw on her research which was published as a book, A Town Called Asbestos, in 2016, and a 46-page graphic novel, illustrated by Radha-Prema McAllister.

A Town Called Asbestos looks at how the people of Asbestos, in Quebec, Canada, worked and lived alongside the opencast Jeffrey Mine, once the largest white asbestos (chrysotile) mine in the world.

Dependent on this deadly industry for their community’s survival, the town’s residents developed a unique, place-based understanding of their local environment; the risks they faced living next to the giant opencast asbestos mine; and their place within the global resource trade. The book unearths the local-global tensions that defined Asbestos’s proud and painful history and reveals the challenges similar communities have faced – and continue to face – today.

Dr Van Horrsen said: “I will start by setting the stage in Canada and discussing the different types of exposure asbestos miners had to the mineral before showing how it travelled across the ocean to Leeds, and the different types of exposure that occurred here. This took place in the factories around the cities, but also in Armley, resulting in the Armley Asbestos Disaster beginning at the end of 19th century.”

The event is part of Leeds Cultural Conversations – a series of free lunchtime talks organised by the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett University. To book a place, please visit


Upcoming talks include:


‘Dystopia, apocalypse and contemporary women’s writing’, by Professor Susan Watkins on Wednesday 7 February at Leeds Town Hall;


‘Forgotten Heroine? Recovering Emily Hobhouse 1899-1926’, by Dr Helen Dampier on Wednesday 7 March at Leeds Town Hall;


‘Parklife: When Roundhay went Pop’, by Dr Peter Mills, on Wednesday 4 April at Leeds Central Library;


‘Civic pride in Victorian Leeds: the Heaton family and their legacy’, by Dr Simon Morgan, on Wednesday 9 May at Leeds Town Hall.


All talks run from 12.30-1.30pm and more information can be found at


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Get Back to Your Roots with a Genealogy Course

The course takes place at the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Community Centre, 311 Stonegate Road, Moortown, LS17 6AZ

Contact the centre on: 0113 268 4211


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Opposition to School Merger is Growing


Proposals to close Moor Allerton Hall Primary School in July 2018, and re-open it as the primary provision of Allerton Grange School in September 2018, has caused huge opposition in the community. Over 400 people have signed a petition to reject the proposals, and a further 1,200 people have signed a petition asking for an alternative site to be made available by the Council to build a new primary school.

Concerns are based around the safeguarding of existing pupils at Moor Allerton Hall; uncertainty around the school being split over three sites; and the environmental and traffic issues that an additional 420 vehicles on the school run will bring.

Another concern is that the plans don’t address the impact that this will have on the improving nature of Moor Allerton Hall and the distraction that these plans will bring.

Campaigners also claim that the timescales for implementing these plans are at best unrealistic and at worst irresponsible and risky – something that is particularly frustrating when the issues around the lack of primary school places in Roundhay in north Leeds have been around for many years and could have been solved by now.

Local residents and parents are urged to respond to the consultation, whatever their views, and if they are against these proposals to add their support by signing the petition to reject the plans.

“There is a huge amount of pressure on primary school places in the Roundhay area of north Leeds”, said Katy Kelly, a parent at Moor Allerton Hall. “This needs addressing, but the way to deal with a shortage of 60 places each year shouldn’t be to disrupt and risk the education of 400 further children, which is what this proposal does.”



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Prominent Leeds MPs to Debate Brexit, Representing the Working Class and Lessons from the 2017 Election

What kind of Brexit should we aim for? Which political party represents the working class today? and what can we learn from the 2017 General Election? Prominent Leeds MPs, including Hilary Benn and Alex Sobel, will lead topical debates at Leeds Beckett University’s 2017 Festival of Politics and International Relations.

The annual public event, which will take place across the University’s City Campus from Monday 13 to Friday 17 November, consists of a range of talks and debates, providing opportunities for the discussion of key political issues and policy challenges facing our world today.

The festival is organised by the Politics and International Relations group within the School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett.

The week-long programme will culminate in an afternoon of talks led by local Leeds MPs on Friday 17 November at the city centre Calverley Building. Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central and Chair of the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European Union, will debate Is a ‘progressive Brexit’ possible? Alec Shelbrooke, Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell and Vice Chairman (International) of the Conservative Party, will consider Which political party, if any, represents the working class today?; and Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds NW and Councillor for the Moortown ward in Leeds, will present Lessons from the 2017 General Election.

Friday 17 November will also see the launch of a new book, Political Ideologies, by Leeds Beckett University academics, and a session to find out more about the subjects of Politics and International Relations and studying at university.

For full details, and to book onto any of the events, please visit

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Leeds Beckett Students to Support School Children in Leeds


A new partnership to boost the potential of school children in Leeds has been launched between the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University and the Ujima education centre, which provides English and Maths support for primary and secondary Afro-Caribbean children via the Mandela Centre on Chapeltown Road.

The new partnership sees trainee teachers at Leeds Beckett providing one-to-one support to the young people. Ten final-year students will visit the centre twice a week for six months, starting in October, allowing more pupils to gain support.


Student, Lucy Chatterton-Deacon, third year BA (Hons) Primary Education student, has already been teaching at the Centre for two weeks. “It’s been a very good learning opportunity, I work with individual groups, twice a week, so I get to know the children really well,” said Lucy. “I tutor them, mainly one-on-one, helping to support them and giving them extra homework.

“I love it: it’s such a supportive environment, the kids are lovely and you feel like you’re making a real difference. I’m also tutoring a year 11 girl which is really rewarding and has opened my eyes to teaching older children as well.”

The Ujima children will visit Leeds Beckett’s Headingley Campus and take part in activities to raise their awareness of higher education. This will include the children working on creative performance projects with students on the MA Creative Writing and Drama course at Leeds Beckett. This work will then be performed for the local community at the Mandela Centre and at Leeds Beckett.

“This new partnership means that we can offer education support to a large number of students,” said social worker Marina Active who runs Ujima Leeds with primary school teacher, Adele Trew. “It’s a great support and having Leeds Beckett on-board means that we can cater for a lot more children and make a difference in more children’s lives: we can now help up to 25 secondary students and 40 primary school pupils. The idea is to be an educational support, working with the children on whatever they are working on at school, and enhancing their learning.”

Additionally, academics within the Carnegie School of Education’s new Centre for Race and Diversity, led by Professor Shirley Tate, will work in collaboration with staff at the Ujima centre on new avenues of research and provide mentoring to the children.



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Free Public Speaking Workshop


Fall into Place Theatre is running a free public speaking taster workshop on 12th October, 2 – 3:30pm at HEART, Bennett Road, Headingley, as part of Leeds Business Week.

The workshop aims to improve skills and confidence in public speaking. “We use drama techniques to learn key skills and see public speaking as a form of performance”, said Sarah Goodyear, facilitator and co-founder of Fall into Place. “This taster is great for people who are a bit nervous about public speaking, or just want to improve their skills.”

Fall into Place provides training workshops in public speaking, stress relief and team building. All profits go back into the community, providing accessible, fun workshops for all ages and abilities.

The workshop is free to attend, but you need to register as places are limited. To register, visit or email


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Public Talk Explores Important Roles Played by Africans in the Abolition of Slavery

Dr Rob Burroughs

A Leeds Beckett University academic will explore Black history and the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century at a free event taking place on Wednesday 4 October from 12.30-1.30pm at Leeds Central Library. Dr Rob Burroughs will discuss the roles played by Africans in exposing atrocities in King Leopold’s Congo at the end of the 19th century.

This conversation explores black contributions to humanitarian history, and the ways in which these efforts have sometimes been obscured by attention to the heroics of white anti-slavery activists.

“It is increasingly well-known among historians and students that Africans and people of African descent played an important role in the abolition of slavery and slave-trading in the 19th century: not only by rebelling against it but also by participating in humanitarian campaigns against it,” said Dr Burroughs. “However, popular re-tellings of the history of slavery — for example the recent British films ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Belle’ — continue to emphasise the heroics of white patrons and leaders of the anti-slavery movement. Enslaved Africans sometimes feature in these kinds of texts as passive, often silenced, recipients of white charity, or as ghost-like figures encouraging guilty white slave owners to atone for their past sins.

“If Black History Month is about recovering the stories of marginalised historical figures in the making of regional and national histories and heritage, then it is important to take a closer look into the history of slavery and the anti-slavery movement, and to recover from its margins the roles of enslaved and formerly enslaved, individuals and groups in ending systems of forced labour.”

In this talk, Dr Burroughs will examine problems in popular representations of slavery, tracing these back to the early 19th century, before turning to some little-known examples of African agency in the fight against forced labour.
The event, which takes place during Black History Month, is part of Leeds Cultural Conversations – a series of free lunchtime talks organised by the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

To book a place, please visit


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Experts Discuss Initiative for Peace and Non-Violence


Marie Dennis

Leading international peace and non-violence experts, including key contributors to the Pope’s initiative for non-violence, are in Leeds in October to share their visions of the future.

On Tuesday 3rd October, Marie Dennis (who serves on the steering committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and has previously served on the White House Task Force on Global Poverty and Development), and Maria Stephen (whose role at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) focuses on the dynamics of civil resistance, violent conflict prevention and democratic development), will present ‘Non-violence works! An opportunity for the Christian community to engage in creative peacemaking’.

Maria Stephan

They will share their experience, including their work on the joint Vatican and Pax Christi International initiative to incorporate non-violence teachings into the Catholic Church’s approach to international conflict and war. Pax Christi International is a global Catholic peace movement working worldwide to establish peace, respect for human rights, and justice and reconciliation.

To book a place, please visit

George Lakey

On Friday 6th October, American activist and writer on non-violence, George Lakey,  presents ‘A divided Britain: What can we learn from the Nordics?’.

The talk will see him draw on his latest book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians got it right and how we can, too, which takes a radical view of how we approach division and inequality and the responses we can make.

George’s lecture is the first in a new annual lecture series on non-violence in memory of Howard Clark, a pacifist and leader in the worldwide movement to replace violent struggle with non-violent conflict. Howard devoted himself to teaching and training people in the strategy and the art of non-violent action.

To book a place, please visit

Both talks are free and take place at Leeds Beckett University’s city centre Rose Bowl from 5.30-7.30pm.

There will also be a workshop for A Level and university students with Marie Dennis and Maria Stephan on Tuesday 3 October, 2-4pm. To book a place, or for any other queries, please email Dr Rachel Julian at




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Beanstalk Seeks Volunteers to Help Children Improve Their Reading


As the new academic year begins, literacy charity Beanstalk is calling for members of the community in Leeds to sign up to its 2017-18 intake of trained volunteers that will help children in local primary schools become more confident readers.

Low levels of literacy continue to be a persistent problem both nationally and locally. According to the most recent SATS test results, almost 3,000 of primary school leavers in Leeds did not achieve the expected level in reading. This can have a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and our communities, and is estimated to cost the UK economy £81 billion every year.

“The start of a new academic year is a critical time for us to ensure there is enough one-to-one reading support available for schools that have identified children that need extra help and encouragement with their reading,” explains Janet Skeen, Area Manager for Beanstalk.

“Without intervention, the outlook for children struggling with reading is concerning. It can lead to behavioural problems and can affect their future prospects in life and work. We need to recruit a further almost 200 more reading helpers in Yorkshire and Humber by the end of the academic year to ensure that we help more school children achieve the skills, confidence and imagination to reach their true potential.”

Beanstalk needs more compassionate and caring members of the local community that would like to volunteer as reading helpers in Leeds. For more information or to apply, please visit the website at or call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0307.


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‘Walk of ART’ Sessions Aim to Help Early Years Teachers Teach Art


Early Years and Key Stage 1 teachers are being invited to learn about teaching art, whilst helping to raise funds for Horsforth Walk of ART 2018.

The weekly evening sessions will be run by local artist Penny Rowe, in collaboration with Horsforth Walk of Art founder Lara Rule and the art charity SKIPPKO. The first term will run from September to December 2017 and will cost just £5 per session. The money will go directly into the Walk of ART Schools project.

Participants will learn about a different artistic principle each week and about how that principle can be adapted to the classroom.

The sessions will be led by Penny Rowe who has spent the last four years organising and running art clubs in schools, and has been working with the Aspire School Partnership for the past two years on a multi-school sculpture project.

“Assisting individuals, whatever their age, to understand their own artistic process has become my strongest drive”, said Penny. “I know that if children in particular can understand how creation works, they will grow in confidence and develop skills that will inevitably effect culture in a positive way.”

Lara Rule welcomes the chance to help more people learn about art whilst raising money for Walk of Art preojects. “As an Early Years Teacher myself, I am keen to nurture children’s innate drive to express themselves, to test the world and its materials, and to create. I want to be able to use the creative arts to build language, mathematical, technical and scientific skills. With this course, we are creating a space for teachers of any artistic ability to learn specific skills, and be able to discuss how to use these skills.”

The sessions will take place at Greatminster House, Lister Hill, Horsforth, on Mondays at 7.30pm from September. This is one of SKIPPKO’s Blank Canvas’ properties which bring empty commercial buildings back into use for the benefit of local artists and people.

The next Walk of ART will run from 7th – 9th July 2018. It is free to attend, exhibit and participate in, with participants being encouraged to give something free to the community. It uses creativity as a platform on which to create meaningful and lasting community relationships. The three-day event aims to showcase local talent and encourage people to try something different.

For further information regarding the art classes, or to book a space, please email or send a message on Facebook –

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