Upcoming events


A ‘United’ Kingdom? – Policy Forum

16 March, 6.00pm – 8.00pm  (Registration and refreshments from 5.30pm; networking reception 8.00pm – 9.00pm)

Tickets: £10|£7 RGS-IBG members – BOOK ONLINE HERE via the RGS-IBG website.


In June 2016, the UK voted to ‘Leave’ the European Union (EU) by a narrow margin (52 per cent to leave and 48 per cent to remain). Whilst said to reflect a long-standing ‘Eurosceptic’ culture amongst a substantial proportion of the population, analysis has revealed significant differences in voting behaviour between geographical areas, and within different groups of society.

According to Lord Ashcroft’s post-referendum poll, demographic differences such as age, level of educational attainment and socio-economic groupings are amongst the key factors in explaining the referendum results. The majority of those voting to leave the EU reported that life in Britain today was worse than 30 years’ ago and people perceived more threats than opportunities to their standard of living. Meanwhile, in response to a concern that people and places were being ‘left behind’ by social and economic change, the Casey Review into opportunity and integration concluded that social and economic progress and the opportunities this presents for people should be seen as a key indicator for a more integrated nation.

In January 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a seminal speech on her 12 objectives for the ‘Brexit’ negotiations, which called for a UK that was ‘more united’, and aspired to ‘build a stronger economy and a fairer society by embracing genuine economic and social reform’. This was supported by the more recent publication of a White Paper, which sets out the Government’s strategy for leaving the EU in more detail.

Within this context, this Policy Forum considers how the UK can become ‘more united’ and seeks to address the following questions:

  • How can policy better support social and economic inclusion, to tackle inequalities and divisions in places and communities across the UK?
  • To what extent do responses need to be tailored to specific communities?

Chair and Panellists

Chair: Nicholas Hellen, Social Affairs Editor, Sunday Times


Dr Faiza Shaheen, Director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS)


Dr Faiza Shaheen joined CLASS as the Director in February 2016. Prior to this, Dr Shaheen was Head of Inequality and Sustainable Development at Save the Children UK, where she led on the development of a new global campaign on inequalities in child outcomes. She also worked as a Senior Researcher on economic inequality at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). She writes about social and economic issues, including inequality, austerity, immigration, youth unemployment and social mobility. Dr Shaheen is a regular contributor to debates on programmes such as Newsnight and Channel 4 News, and has worked with Channel 4 and the                                                                            BBC to develop documentaries on inequality.


Ralph Scott, Research Manager at The Challenge 

Raralph_scott_web-1-1-140lph Scott leads on research at The Challenge, where he conducts original research and forges partnerships to develop the evidence base on social integration. The Challenge is the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society, where there is understanding and appreciation of each other’s differences – since 2009, more than 120,000 young people have taken part in The Challenge’s programmes. He was previously Head of the Citizenship programme at the think-tank Demos, where he led its work on populism, political participation, community, and young people’s development, including projects supported by the Department for Education and the Home Office. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and the BBC, the Sunday Times, TES, the Telegraph, the Guardian, the LA Times and the Economist.


Professor Eric Kaufmann, Professor in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London

Eric Kauferic-kaufmann_140mann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is author of Changing Places: mapping the white British response to ethnic change (Demos 2014), Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (Profile 2010), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (Harvard 2004) and two other books. He is co-editor, among others, of Political Demography (Oxford 2012) and editor of Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities (Routledge 2004). An editor of the journal Nations & Nationalism, he has written for Newsweek International, Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines. He is working on his next book, Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Myth of Majority Decline (Penguin).


  • Details of further panellists will be announced here as they are confirmed.

Who should attend?

Policy Forum events are aimed at those with a relevant professional interest in the topic; the purpose is the exchange of knowledge and perspectives between those from policy, practice, business and the third sector

If you experience any problems with your booking or require any further information, please contact the Policy team

at E: policy@rgs.org or call Frances Dixon, Policy Officer T: 02075913058


Explore past events in the 21st Century Challenges Policy Forum series.


Image credit: Crowd at MediaCityUK. Zarrion Walker, Flickr. 

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