31 December 2021

2021: the British Future year

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How British Future responded to shifting debates about identity and immigration, integration, race and social connection in 2021.

Media contact:
Steve Ballinger
07807 348988

Here are some of the ways in which British Future responded to shifting debates about identity and immigration, integration, race and social connection during the year.

January: As President Biden was inaugurated, after a violent insurrection, we reflected on the challenges of polarisation and extremism in the United States.

February: Our Chance to Connect, the final report of the Talk Together project, set out how the pandemic had increased the public appetite for action to bridge our divides. The report – the biggest ever public engagement exercise on what unites and divides us – provides a foundation for the future work of the Together Coalition.

March: On the eve of the publication of the Sewell Commission report, British Future published its in-depth research into attitudes to race, setting out how to find common ground on the issue, based on deliberative conversations around the country and extensive polling across minority and majority groups. The research informed our guidance, based on the research, about how to go beyond the ‘BAME’ label.

April: In a Policy Exchange event about the Sewell report, Sunder Katwala set out why we need a better debate about race in this country, pressing Tony Sewell to acknowledge the evidence of systemic discrimination. We held later policy events on race and policing and an inclusive curriculum. This later Prospect essay set out how race equality agenda could respond to new challenges.

May: Our What next for immigration? conference with Bright Blue heard from Home Secretary Priti Patel, and discussed future challenges for migration for work and refugee protection.

June: As the European Championships began, a new research report, Beyond a 90 Minute Nation,  with the Centre for English Identity and Politics set out the progress over time in English identity being inclusive to those of different ethnic backgrounds, and the need for more attention beyond sport. British Future coordinated the #EnglandTogether campaign with voices from across ethnic and faith backgrounds promoting an inclusive Englishness, making the case that ‘football’s coming home – and its a home we all share’ – and responded to the racist trolls who gave the tournament a bitter ending. This RSA Journal piece reflected on the broader lessons of the tournament for social connection

July: We marked the 70th anniversary of the UN refugee convention by bringing together refugees from each of the last seven decades who had been given sanctuary in Britain, in a joint project with the Together with Refugees coalition. This was covered positively in both the Daily Express and the Guardian.  Research showed that seeing the film has a significant positive impact on attitudes.

August: As the new football season began, Sunder Katwala wrote for Hope Not Hate on the broader lessons for anti-racism of how the contested arguments about Taking a Knee had shifted public opinion about race in sport and society.

September: A new report, Immigration: a changing debate, reported the 12th wave of an Ipsos-MORI immigration tracker, showing that public attitudes towards immigration are now warmer that at any point since 2015, and explored how policy-makers and civic advocates could respond.

October: The APPG on Social Integration’s inquiry report, Building stronger communities in post-pandemic Britain, made proposals to strengthen the growth of volunteering during the pandemic. At the party conferences, events included an exploration of how to call off the ‘culture wars’ with events on the Labour fringe and at the Conservative conference.

November: The Remember Together projects in Rochdale and Walthamstow, east London, generated extensive regional and national media coverage, including in the Sunday Mirror.

As racism in Yorkshire cricket rocked the national sport. Sunder Katwala wrote about the long history behind the crisis and the opportunity for change.

December: We ended the year with a round-up of 10 things we learned about public attitudes in 2021.

We hope you’ll continue to follow the work of British Future in 2022, as we mark the organisation’s tenth birthday. To stay in touch, do sign up on our homepage to receive our monthly newsletter.

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