Irish World Heritage Centre

Manchester event explores ways to prevent violent extremism

January 24, 2015 | Nick Taylor

On Thursday 22nd January 2015, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace hosted a workshop and seminar in Manchester, at the Irish World Heritage Centre (pictured), titled Rethinking Radicalisation.

The workshop was the second of three events, exploring how Manchester’s communities can work to prevent violent extremism. The event was facilitated by Kelly Simcock, Director of Commissions, who welcomed attendees – reminding them that the event was to “enable people to express their views and to gather knowledge and understanding as to what people think should be done, what can be done and where the challenges and opportunities lie.” 

The previous Rethinking Radicalisation event in November 2014 had highlighted a number of issues including the need for inter-generational connections; need to equip the younger generation with the tools, confidence, and ability to think critically and a need for safe spaces in which to hold ‘difficult’ conversations across the community. The evening acted as such, a safe space in which people were given the chance to share and interact in open dialogue about their collective community.

Two speakers joined the participants, Professor Ted Cantle CBE and Chief Executive of the ICoCo Foundation and Rupert Dore, The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Lead for PREVENT, part of the Government’s counter-terrorsim strategy.

Both speakers provided their views and thoughts on the challenges of how we rethink our approaches to radicalisation. The input really sparked discussion and encouraged the room to think about how Manchester could take charge of this important agenda. The evening provided a wide range of different community representatives ranging from local councillors to ‘civil society’ activists and acted as an important engagement opportunity for all.

On the subject of holding difficult conversations, Ted Cantle suggested that ‘we need to believe in our own democratic values and institutions and that they have the strength to deal with these conversations’   

This was an issue that people at the event  were keen to emphasise and a subject to be taken seriously in Manchester.

A rich and diverse discussion took place with participants using social media to record their thoughts.  Click here to see a range of views posted to social media during the event.