The lecture, organised by HEART (Higher Education Access Rewarding Transforming) and supported by Leeds Beckett, was held at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday 28 October.
The lecture began with an introduction from Ian McGregor Brown, Manager of HEART and continued with a talk from Saleem Tariq, Chief Officer of Children’s Social Work at Leeds City Council, around Child-Friendly Leeds and Belinda Bluff, Lemn Sissay Scholar at the University of Huddesfield, delivered the National Lecture on ‘New Belongings – Exploring Care Leavers’ Experiences of Transition’. This focussed on themes such as the representation of care leavers in society and challenges faced by individuals in gaining access to education.
Lemn Sissay MBE delivered a talk and readings before a question and answer panel chaired by Professor Margaret House, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University and Chair of HEART, which featured all of the speakers.
Lemn Sissay MBE is the author of several books of poetry and was an official poet for the London Olympics 2012. A BBC TV documentary and radio documentary have been broadcast about his life and his Ted Talk has close to a million views. His award-winning play, Something Dark, has been performed throughout the world. Belinda Bluff is a PhD researcher at the University of Huddersfield and the first recipient of the Lemn Sissay scholarship for one care leaver studying at doctoral level. Her research investigates care leavers’ experiences of transition to higher education.
Saleem Tariq qualified as a Social Worker in 1994 and worked as a Social Worker and manager in the service until his appointment to Chief Officer of Children’s Social Work at Leeds City Council in 2011.
All attendees were asked to write a postcard pledge during the lecture of one thing they will do to support young people-looked after and care leavers through their various roles.
You can view the full video below:
Q & A: