A personal web-site like this is bound to be narcissistic, but I hope it has a wider social purpose of making my writing and photography more easily available to anyone who has a serious interest in sociology, politics and culture. In particular, I hope it is useful those who are committed to thinking about and developing practice which will support radical social change.
I was born in 1949 in Northallerton, Yorkshire, UK. I’ve lived in Leeds, UK, since 1968. I formed myself in the varied mileux of loving friends and family, Royal Air Force camps, private and state schools, the University of Leeds’ Sociology Department, and the libertarian revolutionary movements of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. (I was in Big Flame from 1975 to about 1983.) I have worked in factories (briefly), as an unqualified social worker (even more briefly), in adult and community education, for the Runnymede Trust, for the Harehills and Chapeltown Law Centre (in Leeds), and as a freelance journalist and photographer.
My utopian longing continued to guide my work when I became a cultural sociologist at Leeds Met University in the mid-1990s. I took voluntary redundancy from Leeds Met in 2010, ending my career there as Professor for Community Engagement. Currently I’m an Emeritus Professor, freelance consultant, volunteer, holiday-maker and active grand-dad.
As a volunteer, I’m secretary to the Board of the David Oluwale Memorial Association charity in Leeds, known as RememberOluwale. This is my main commitment. I’m also a Board member of UK Friends of Abrahams Path, based in the UK but with international links. I’m on the committee for the discussion group (again in Leeds) called Taking Soundings. I helped set up and continue to support the hub site LeedsforChange. I learnt a lot from being on the Board of Together for Peace , based in Leeds from 2010-16.
I continue to write, mainly about David Oluwale. A 2018 article sets out the contested history of his life and death. A 2017 co-authored book is on the Leeds West Indian Carnival. And I take a lot of documentary photographs, mainly relating to carnival and the campaigning work I do with #RememberOluwale. I’m currently co-writing a book about Big Flame (hoping to publish in 2019).
I’ve lived with Jane Storr since 1971. We married in 2003. We have two children, Rose (b. 1975) and John (b. 1979), a son-in-law, Guy Dixon, a grand-daughter, Miranda (b. 2006), a grand-son, Robert (b. 2008), and a daughter-in-law, Anabel Leibovic Farrar. John and Anabel’s children, Olivia Maria (b. 2011) and Don William (b. 2014) bring further joy to our family. All of them are making their own futures. The struggle goes on.