Britain's Private Shame | Free Word

6 December 2018
19:00 21:00-
Free Word

Presented by:
Free Word and Runnymede Trust



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In a post-Brexit world, how should we treat the legacy of the British Empire?

Free Word and race equality think tank Runnymede Trust joined forces to curate Britain’s Private Shame. Join us for an uncensored look at Britain’s colonial past, as we question why so much of history stays hidden, and whether the truth of these histories should lead to shame, reflection and reparations – or instil pride and inspiration.

Our panellists included rapper and activist Lowkey, journalist and author David Goodhart, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies Dr Gurminder Bhambra and journalist and commentator Remi Adekoya. It was chaired by writer and activist Zahra Dalilah.


Listen back:


Photos: Rowan Spray


6 December 2018
19:00 - 21:00
£10 / £7

Free Word

Free Word and Runnymede Trust



Rapper and Activist

Lowkey is a towering figure of the British hiphop scene who renews the tradition of conscious activism for a generation brought up with the War on Terrorism. Fusing politically charged lyrics and agile dissection of topics such as race, war, global poverty and internationalist politics with anthemic choruses and an unrelentingly energetic performance, Lowkey commands a keen and growing legion of followers - still treading new ground and generating fresh enthusiasm 14 years after releasing his first mixtape. Lowkey first started rapping at the age of 12 and cut his teeth at Carnaby Street's legendary Deal Real records. After releasing his respected 2003 Key to the Game mixtape, he took a hiatus and returned in 2009 with debut full length Dear Listener, at the same time as releasing an album with Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon McClure, Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and members of Babyshambles to form the group Mongrel. Following several humanitarian aid missions in Palestine and various charity projects, he released his critically acclaimed sophomore outing, Soundtrack to the Struggle, in 2011. After retiring for a brief spell until last year Lowkey has returned with a batch of new releases & collaborations including poignant singles about the international refugee crises & freedom of movement, Ahmed & Children of Diaspora. With sold-out dates across the UK, Lowkey continues to make a lasting mark in the global hip-hop consciousness.

David Goodhart

Journalist and Author

David Goodhart is Head of Policy Exchange’s Demography, Immigration, and Integration Unit, and Director of the Integration Hub website. He is a former Director of Demos, and former Editor of Prospect magazine, which he founded in 1995. David is a prominent figure in public debate in the UK, as a well-known broadcaster, author, commentator, and journalist. He has presented several BBC Radio 4 Analysis programmes. Before Prospect, he was a correspondent for the Financial Times, including a stint in Germany during the unification period. In 2013, he published The British Dream, a book about post-war multiculturalism, national identity, and immigration. It was runner up for the Orwell Book Prize in 2014. In 2017 he published The Road to Somewhere: The new tribes shaping British politics, about the value divides in western societies, which was a Sunday Times best-seller

Dr Gurminder Bhambra

Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies

Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex. Previously, she was Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and also Guest Professor of Sociology and History at the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden (2016-18). Her first monograph, Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007), won the 2008 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology. She is Series Editor of the Theory for a Global Age series, set up by Bloomsbury Academic and now published by Manchester University Press and, in 2015, she set up the Global Social Theory website to support students and academics interested in social theory in global perspective. She is also co-editor of the online magazine, Discover Society.

Zahra Dalilah

Writer and Activist

Zahra Dalilah is a black feminist writer and activist from South London. With an educational background in international relations and languages, Zahra travels, heritage and studies have equipped her analysis of local and global politics. She has spent the last three years in London as a campaigner and organiser working on critical youth education, anti-gentrification, food sovereignty, land rights, political engagements with marginalised communities and uniting struggles of the African Diaspora. Her favourite colour is purple.

Remi Adekoya

Journalist and Commentator

Remi Adekoya is the former political editor of the Warsaw Business Journal. He has written for Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, Politico, Washington Post, Quillette, Central European Financial Observer as well as several Polish newspapers. He has provided socio-political commentary and analysis for BBC, Sky News, Al-Jazeera, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), African Arguments, Stratfor, Geopolitical Intelligence Services (GIS), Radio France International and Democracy Now among others. He is currently conducting PhD research on the role of political leadership in identity politics at the University of Sheffield and is a member of the Editorial Working Group of Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE).