Training Program: Deaths in Police Custody and Social Media Images: A UK Perspective MMU Postgraduate Research Training Opportunity

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Deaths in Police Custody and Social Media Images: A UK Perspective MMU Postgraduate Research Training Opportunity

18 – 19 March 2020 at Manchester Metropolitan University (two full days).

The tragedy of black deaths in police custody has a long history within the UK. According to the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) there have been over 1500 deaths in custody since 1990 across England and Wales with black and brown people disproportionality represented where the death is as a result of ‘force or restraint’ [INQUEST]. However, unlike the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, there have to date only been muted (political and community) responses to the deaths of black and brown people with no convictions of police or law enforcement officers since the 1960s.

This event will focus on the death of Rashan Charles, a 20-year-old black man who was killed by police on 22 July 2017 in London. Using Visual Social Media Lab (VSML) a critical research methodology for analysing social media images, MMU students will work alongside New York University students to analyse social media image data from Twitter in order to excavate competing tensions between official narratives of police-induced deaths and those of campaigners and activists.

During this two-day training programme, students will explore the following questions:

 What are the obstacles and barriers to justice for those victims and communities who are subject to police violence?
 What role can social media play as a platform for challenging the dominant narratives that serve to justify police killings?
 How can visual social media analysis provide an alternative way of understanding the barriers to social justice?
Participation on this training will include:
 Training on the research methods for analysing social media images pioneered by the Visual Social Media Lab (VSML) at MMU.
 Engagement and contextualisation activities (e.g. trip to the People’s History Museum, Manchester – to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for).
 Discussions with local and national community activists and organisations who campaign
against the over-policing of black and brown communities.
This training is especially for postgraduate students interested in developing an understanding of Visual Social Media research methods, social protest and campaigns against social and criminal injustice. Upon registration students will be given access to a reader containing background reading.

Students need to register no later than 28 February 2020. Places are strictly limited to 15 students from MMU. To register, please contact Dr Patrick Williams P.Williams@mmu.ac.uk (email subject line ‘VSML Research Training’)

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