Reflections from the decades interview with Robin Richardson

Robin Richardson interview with Sharon Duncan 

Robin Richardson

Robin Richardson speaking at Cross Border Human Rights Education Conference Belfast

Robin Richardson was the first director of the World Studies Project, 1973–79, set up by the One World Trust in London. He then became an adviser for multicultural education in local government (1979–1985) and the chief inspector for education in a London borough (1985–1990). From 1991 onwards he was director of the Runnymede Trust, a think-tank specialising in issues of race equality and cultural diversity.

Since 1996 Robin has been an independent consultant. His publications over the years include Learning for Change in World Society (1976), Daring to be a Teacher (1990) and Holding Together: equalities, difference and cohesion (2009). His most recent books are Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British media (2011), co-edited with Julian Petley, and Changing Life Changes: projects and endeavours in schools (2012).

There is information about Robin’s recent and current work at He is interviewed here on behalf of the International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) by Sharon Duncan.

Sharon Duncan: Before we begin, I would like to thank you on behalf of the IAIE membership for agreeing to do this interview. As someone who continues to have an important influence on radical educators in the UK and further afield, this interview will provide intercultural educators with a privileged opportunity to reflect on issues that are central to our world vision. I would like to start, however, by asking you about your formative years; where you grew up, your family, your schooling and whether it is possible to identify a key experience or person (a turning point) that might have influenced the educational path for social justice you were to follow later in life.

Robin Richardson: I was born in 1936 in Birmingham. My father at that time was a bank clerk, and we lived in the small flat above the branch where he served each day behind the counter. He and my mother lived modestly and frugally, but they certainly weren’t poor and they spent money on private education for their three children, of whom I was the eldest, until the age of 11. My father had been a keen sportsman in his youth – rugby, cricket, swimming, boxing, tennis – and throughout my teenage years he was the men’s singles champion at a local tennis club. My mother, for her part, was the ladies champion at a church badminton club.

They were prudish in their attitudes to sex and related matters, and socially conservative in most of their opinions, and voted Conservative in all elections. The principal intellectual influence on them was Charles Dickens. My father had a complete set of Dickens’s novels and would often take down a volume and read a passage aloud to his children for their entertainment and moral instruction. Alas, the children were not as appreciative as they should have been, and this is one of the regrets I have about my childhood, looking back. Another regret is that I didn’t inherit any of my father’s sporting prowess. Read more of this post

The Far-Right Rise!

Kaiesha Page

Image © David Hayward

Last year thousands watched across the world with a mix of uneasiness and anticipation as the face of the monster behind the Norwegian mass-murder was revealed. The revelation of the attack in what is normally a peaceful and quiet country was greeted with a gasp of shock by the world. How someone could do such a terrible thing? However, this shock was to be outweighed by the shock that was expressed when his face was to finally grace our screens sometime later. The man behind killing of many innocent teenagers looked so ordinary, so human. Perhaps, in many ways, Breivik is the perfect image to represent the far-right movement: a normal looking person who has radical and dangerous beliefs. The biggest threat of the far-right’s is how far they are willing to go and how unnoticeable they often are.

Although his actions were unprecedented and his murders unique, his beliefs are far from new and are part of a growing movement that’s arms are spreading far and wide. Breivik is the epitome of this growing movement, a warning of exactly what radical hatred can cause a person to do. Across Europe over recent months we have witnessed the far-right parties exceeding expectations and polling a significant number of votes. In Greece, the Golden Dawn Party (discussed in detail later) received almost 7% of the vote, securing themselves 21 seats in the parliament. Just two years previous in the 2010 election they achieved just over 5%. In the recent French presidential election the National Front party achieved a staggering 18.5% of the vote. Why are these parties on the rise?

Read more of this post


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