Take Back Control Bradford 

will take place on the 6th of May at the


Kala Sangam

St Peters House

1 Forster Square,

Bradford BD1 4TY



It will be a day of workshops, talks, food and music which will bring together leave and remain voters, make sense of the Brexit negotiations and discuss how voters can take back control from economic elites and establishment politicians.



Take Back Control | 6th May | 10:30 am | Kala Sangam

What does Brexit mean for you? (10.30 - 11.30: Indus Main hall)


The EU referendum meant many things to many people. Yet how we voted this one time has since been used to define our political identities entirely, often obscuring the shared desires we all have for a better society. We want to start the day by sharing our experiences of the referendum and our hopes and fears for Brexit. But we also want to start thinking about the things that matter but all too often get left out of the political conversation, and that can’t be covered by either “In” or “Out.”


June 8: Impending catastrophe or the chance of a lifetime? (11.30 - 13.00: Indus Main Hall)

In less than 7 weeks the UK will see another general election—the fourth major vote of national significance in less than three years and one that signals the continuation of a period of instability in British politics. Theresa May wants to capitalise on Labour’s poor poll ratings and strengthen the Conservatives’ hand as we enter two years of Brexit negotiations. Labour, on the other hand, will be making a radical pitch to voters and hoping its newly swollen ranks of members will deliver an improbably victory - the first step in taking back control. But how did we get here and where are we going? Join acclaimed journalist and author Paul Mason and others as we discuss the road that led us to this election, the path Labour should take to win it, and the state of British politics today.


Paul Mason (Former Channel 4 Newsnight Economic editor and author of Postcapitalism)



Creating a new common sense: ideas to change the world. (11.30 - 13.00: Ganges Studio)


‘First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.’ Historically, people campaigning for the vote for women, free health care, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, workers rights and the abolition of slavery were considered impractical idealists, utopian dreamers, or dangerous socialists. Now we take these ideas for granted. The radical ideas of one generation have become the common sense of the next. How did this happen, how can we campaign effectively for progressive change in the here and now, and how can we create a new common sense?



Sumbul Ahmed (Anti-racist campaigner)

Rachel Julian (West Yorkshire Nonviolence Network)

Lindis Percy (Co- founder of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases)

Kristina Diprose (Campaigner and co-founder of Shipley Feminist Zealots) 



Talking socialism (11.30 - 13.00: Mekong Room 1)


How do we talk about politics or economics without people’s eyes glazing over? And how do we counter supposedly ‘common sense’ economic arguments without simply reciting a long list of facts or shouting even louder? In this session Talk Socialism will try to change the way we think about political questions. You’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills around how you can talk openly to people about left-wing ideas without putting them off.


Organised by Talk Socialism



Flash mob dance for the Global Divestment Mobilisation (12.00 – 12.30: Outside the glass doors of Kala Sangam, in front of the cathedral)

Actions are happening across the world between 6 and 13 May 2017 to draw attention to the damage climate change is doing and show that by divesting from fossil fuels we can send a powerful message that another way is possibleand we can speed the just transition to renewable energy for a safer world for everyone. We will spend 30 minutes having fun, learning this one off original tailor made dance. It will be performed to a speeded up version of Take That’s ‘Hold Back the Flood.’The dance will take about 5 minutes to perform. No skill necessary. All welcome.


Bradford council’s Dance for Life team

And Fossil Free West Yorkshire



The Progressive Deal: what are we fighting for out of Brexit? (13.00 - 14.30: Indus Main hall)


Although a majority voted for Brexit, there is no mandate for what the government is now doing: a Brexit without accountability and in favour of corporate interests. Another Europe is Possible is campaigning for democracy in the process and for a ‘Progressive Deal’ to preserve the progressive aspects of EU membership. But what does “progressive” mean? What do we mean when we talk about “concerns” about immigration? Is there a route back to staying in the EU, and should we even be talking about it? We have some idea what we think, but that isn’t enough – we want your input, experiences and ideas as part of our campaign for a ‘Progressive Deal’. We want you to tell us: how do we take control of Brexit?

Organised by Another Europe is Possible



Home truths: housing in crisis  (13.00 - 14.30: Ganges Studio)


Problems with housing have increased dramatically over the last decade, as rapidly rising rents have combined with a shortage in house building to create a national crisis. With short tenancies, long waiting lists for social housing and unaffordable prices for first-time buyers, Bradford is no exception. This session will begin with a 20 minute preview of Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle, a new film on the housing crisis from Paul Sng, the director of Sleaford Mods - Invisible Britain. You’ll also hear from those at the sharp end of the crisis, those writing about it, and those campaigning for affordable and sustainable housing. This session will also include an opportunity for attendees to talk about their housing experiences and share their ideas for creating a housing system that meets everyone's needs.



Dawn Foster (Guardian journalist)

Tom Sutton (Housing worker)

Paul Sng (Film-maker, Velvet Joy Productions)

Paul Belbin (Housing activist, Leeds Community Housing)



Speakers’ corner (13.00 - 14.30: Room 1)


Speakers corner is a creative social space in Bradford led by women and girls bringing people together to create positive action. If you are interested in changing the world, gender equality and making Bradford a better place then come along and see how we can do it.


Evie Manning


Reimagining security in a violent world (13.00 - 14.30: Nile Room 2)


Are you concerned that the UK's current approach to national security is failing to meet the real needs of people here and abroad? Do you think that we need to develop a different vision and strategy for tackling the challenges of today’s world? This interactive workshop will explore your ideas about what security means and how it can be created. It will also share ideas from the Rethinking Security initiative and explore whether it is possible to pursue a fresh approach, based on values of solidarity, justice and interdependence.

Celia Mckeon

Lisa Cummings



Life on the edge: EU citizens in the UK (14.30 - 15.30: Indus Main Hall)


Around 3 million EU citizens now live in the UK. Many assumed that they were here to stay, but they now face the reality of becoming ‘unwanted migrants’ rather than citizens with rights. They have also become bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations, despite the majority not having a vote. In this session you'll hear from EU citizens as they discuss their experiences of the referendum, how they see Brexit, and how we can support them take back real control. You’ll also get to participate in a short quiz on the rights of EU national living in the UK.


Juraj Tancos (from the Slovakian Roma community)

Vie Clerc Lusandu (from France)

Jim Innes (Citizen of Europe)

Aleksandra Marcinkowska (EU citizen)



I Daniel Blake: fact or fiction? (14.30 - 15.30: Ganges Studio)


‘I’m no expert but,’ were the famous words spoken by the journalist Toby Young as he dismissed Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake’s depiction of life on benefits as entirely fictional.  This intervention further reinforced the perception of a media and political elite detached from the lives of those on welfare, and served to obscure the harsh reality of a sanctions regime that leaves thousands with little or no income for weeks at a time. In this session you’ll hear about the state of welfare today and how local people have campaigned against a system that strips people of dignity and control, and fails to meet their basic needs. We’ll also be discussing the change we’d like to see and the ways we might achieve that change.



Julie Longden (Hope Rising benefits cap group, Bradford)

Ruth Partrick

Pervez Akhtar (Benefits advisor)

Sue Balcomb (Bradford People's Assembly) Chair

Natalie Hawkes (Hope Rising Benefits cap group, Bradford)

Ruth Patrick    (Author of For Whose Benefit? Liverpool University)



Work isn’t working (14.30 - 15.30: Nile Room 2)


Wages are stagnant and people’s rights at work are under attack, as zero-hour contracts, poverty pay and unpaid internships become the norm for a growing number. For the majority, work simply isn’t working. Yet despite the long-term decline in trade union membership and the failure of politicians to properly address the problem, in recent years we have seen in Bradford, Leeds and across the country the growth of a new type of workplace activism based on grassroots action and bottom up democracy. In this session we’ll be hearing from workplace campaigners about how we build on this and, ultimately, take back control of our working lives. We’ll also be sharing our own experiences of work and discussing the change we’d like to see.



Heather Blakeley (IWW)

Keir Milburn (Plan C)


Feminism: what’s it even for? (15.30 - 17.00: Indus Main Hall)


In this age of Trump and Brexit, things are changing dramatically and unpredictably. Yet amid this uncertainty, feminism appears to be re-emerging as a powerful force for change, inspiring diverse political activity across the globe. In this session we’ll discuss why feminism is still as important as it ever was - despite critics claiming otherwise - and the type of feminism we need for the 21st century.


Naz Shah (MP for Bradford West)

Hilary Wainwright (Journalist and author of ‘Beyond the Fragments)

Jane Gregory (Bradford Rape Crisis)

Leila Taleb (Chair Anah Project) Chair



Britain: a tolerant society? (15.30 - 17.00: Ganges Studio)


We often hear that the UK is a fair and tolerant society and that racism is a distant memory - a problem of past generations and not ours. Yet since Brexit there has been a 41% increase in hate crime. Racists have seemingly become more confident and able to spread their views, while politicians and much of the media increasingly use language that divides us. In this session you’ll hear from anti-racist campaigners as they discuss the state of racism today, whether Brexit has caused more hatred or simply revealed what was already under the surface, and what we can do to counter it.



Penari Wangari-Jones (Racial Justice Network)

Nadeem Murtuja (JUST Yorkshire, Chair)

Jonathan James (Aye-Up Let’s Talk Vlog)

Syima Aslam (Bradford Literature Festival) Chair


Talking Trident (15.30 - 17.00: Nile Room 2)


Few issues divide opinion like that of Trident nuclear submarines. For some, these weapons are a sign of the UK’s global power, for others an unnecessary expense at odds with the realities of global warfare or global peace. Taking the issue of Trident as a starting point, this session will interact with participants using tools and exercises for having more productive conversations with others close to us in the wider community who may hold opposing views.



Tim Wallis (Quaker Peace & Disarmament Programme Manager)

Chris Butler (CND)


Political Poetry Workshop (15.30 - 17.00: Mekong Room 1)

Kirsty Taylor is a performance poet, teacher and facilitator from Bradford: the love of her life. She carefully captures the beauty and honesty of 'Broken Britain' in her words, weaving tales of hard working mums, tired out teens and sausage roll babies to leave lasting images of real life up North. This workshop will explore provocative visual stimulus from the current political moment to fuel words, passion, and hand power back to the people in the form of poetry, spoken word and freedom of speech. We will unite, play games, TALK, create and share words to empower ourselves and each other. Feel free to bring existing words, notepads, posh pens and an open mind.


Kirsty Taylor (Bradford Poet)




Dangerous deals in the dark: trade after Brexit (15.30-17.00: Nile Room 2)

After the referendum, trade is at the centre of British politics. The UK government is obsessively pursuing a ‘free trade’ agenda, supporting CETA (the EU-Canada deal), pushing for a new free trade deal with the Trump administration and creating plans for ‘empire 2.0’ in Africa. But ‘free trade’ isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. As well as threatening workers’ rights, environmental protections and food safety standards, the UK government is negotiating behind closed doors and preventing the public or parliament from any control over the process. Join a participatory discussion about corporate power, democracy, and what we can do about it. 

Organised by Global Justice Now




Craftivism (Day long drop in activity: Cafe/social space)


Members of grassroots arts project Wur Bradford will be present with 'Power Up Creative Resistance' their new action research project exploring creative ways to respond to the challenges we are facing locally, nationally and globally.

Power Up is about opening up space to dialogue, re-think, and find alternative ways to go about changing our changing world whatever this means to us, from our point of view


Art and Activities from the Centre for Socially Applied Arts for Take Back Control Bradford. 


1. Gallery II will contribute materials gathered as part of the 2016 exhibition Subveillance: 50 Years of The University of Bradford from Below curated by Helen Kaplinsky to a Radical Bradford timeline that spans the formation of the Independent Labour Party, through lived history, the present and looking into the future. You are invited to bring materials, print, photographs, anecdotes and memories to add to the timeline over the course of the event.


2. Art group UNIT will assemble a collective of child activists who, although frozen in time, will put forward a number of demands for the future. These demands will adapt traditional protest slogans about work, labour and organising to attempt to keep apace the rapid changes that automation is bringing to the workplace. 


3. Artist, musician and University of Bradford’s Producer Music and Visual Arts Andy Abbott offers a drop-in workshop imagining life in Erewyrheve: a near-yet-faraway land where work and capitalism as we know it are a distant memory. What will we do with our liberated time and freedom of opportunity? How did we get there and what is still to be done?


These projects have been developed at the University of Bradford’s Gallery II as part of a programme developing a Centre for Socially Applied Arts supported by Arts Council England.


Organised by Wur Bradford



Also happening throughout the day will be poetry of protest, do it yourself discussion, film screenings, Flash mob dance by Global Justice Bradford, music from the take back control people’s band and the Bodo Band Pianista.