Issue date: 27 May 2003

ISSUE DATE: 27/05/03

UWE Professor gives lecture on ‘The art of dissent’

Public lecture: Professor Marilyn Taylor, Thursday 29 May 2003
Venue: Arup, 63 St Thomas Street, Bristol
Lecture starts at 6.00pm and finish by 7.15pm

Professor Marilyn Taylor from the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England will give her inaugural lecture on ‘the Art of dissent’ at Arup, St Thomas Street on Thursday 29 May.

Professor Taylor said, “Dissent is essential to democracy. In comparison to its European neighbours, the UK has been remarkably stable, with the exception, of course, of Northern Ireland. But over history, religious and other forms of Dissent have played an important part in shaping both civil society and the municipal tradition. Dissenters extended the franchise, abolished slavery and won us the relatively clean air which we breathe today.

“In recent months, the Countryside March and demonstrations against the move to war in Iraq has proved that the dissenting tradition is alive and well. But there is another side to this dissenting tradition. Throughout the centuries, voluntary and more recently community organisations have put contentious issues on the public agenda, acted as a watchdog on government and other powers in society and given voice to the diversity of interests in society, including those that are most marginalised.

“Now, as the contribution of these organisations is increasingly recognised by government, they are being invited to the policy making table, as partners and as agents of civil renewal, active citizenship and participatory forms of democracy. How will this affects their claim to a distinctive and independent voice? Or is there a different role for voluntary and community organisations to play in these new democratic spaces?”

Marilyn Taylor spent many years as a researcher in the voluntary and community sector before joining the academic world, lecturing first in Management of Health and Social Care at the University of Bristol, and later as Professor of Social Policy at the University of Brighton. She also has ‘hands-on’ experience of community involvement as a resident and community activist on an inner London housing estate. Her research interests have been in the fields of community participation, partnership and the voluntary sector and she recently drew much of this work together in a key text, Public Policy in the Community, published by Palgrave (2003). She is a member of the Executive Board of the International Society for Third Sector Research, and Chair of the Urban Forum in this country. She was also recently appointed to the Advisory Group of the Active Community Unit in the Home Office.

To reserve a place for this free lecture please call Jeni Lee on 0117 344 3000 or e-mail


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