Covid-19 has highlighted and exacerbated deeply entrenched racial and ethnic inequalities in the UK across a range of social arenas. The crisis has thrown existing inequalities into sharp relief, and in order to address this we must start to map and understand these key impacts of the current crisis moment.

‘Racial Inequality in a Time of Crisis’ was a week-long conference exploring the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority people in the UK. The event took place online each day at 5pm from Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th March, and was hosted in partnership between Stuart Hall Foundation, the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Runnymede Trust.

We invited researchers and practitioners working across the fields of sociology, history, art, media, activism, politics, and healthcare to take part in a series of live online presentations and discussions that focused on a number of areas impacted by Covid-19: ‘Policing the Crisis’, Health and Well-being, Employment and Young People, and Culture and Cultural Activism.


Day 1: ‘Policing the Crisis’ 

Tuesday 9th March, 5 – 6.30pm

The emergence of the Black Lives Matters movement is marked by the deaths (incomplete lives) of minoritised people who encountered the police. Inspired by Stuart Hall’s discipline shaping text, ‘Policing the Crisis‘, this panel explored experiences of policing during the pandemic, campaigning and activism in response to this, and the factors that perpetuate policing by force in the face of campaigning.

• Deborah Coles, Executive Director, INQUEST
• Leslie Thomas QC, Garden Court Chambers
• Patrick Williams, Manchester Metropolitan University, CoDE
• Scarlet Harris, University of Manchester, CoDE (Chair)

Day 2: Health and Well-Being 

Wednesday 10th March, 5 – 6.30pm

Ethnic minority people have experienced a much higher risk of COVID-19 related death, a stark disproportion that has impacted on all ethnic and religious minority groups. This session explored how these inequalities mirror longstanding inequalities in health and well-being, which themselves reflect deep social and economic disparities underpinned by racism, and the approaches to address them.

  • Natalie Creary, Programme Delivery Director, Black Thrive 
  • James Nazroo, University of Manchester, CoDE
  • Parth Patel, Research Fellow, IPPR
  • Dharmi Kapadia, University of Manchester, CoDE (Chair)

Day 3: Employment and Young People

Thursday 11th March, 5 – 6.30pm

Covid-19 has induced the biggest shock to the UK economy seen in modern times and, without significant government action, the effect on the labour market will be severe.  This session explored how existing ethnic inequalities both in employment and in the transition from compulsory schooling through higher and further education into work may be exacerbated by the crisis with negative consequences for poverty and inequality.

  • Andrea Barry, Senior Analyst, Joseph Rowntree FoundationÂ
  • Sandra Kerr, Race Director, Business in the Community
  • Omar Khan, Director, TASO
  • Ken Clark, University of Manchester, CoDE (Chair)

Day 4: Culture and Cultural Activism

Friday 12th March, 5 – 6.30pm

This panel explored the nature of racial inequalities and the politics of ‘race’ in the cultural industries. It explored the impact of barriers and obstacles (and at times ‘opportunities’) facing racialised peoples in the creative sector, and how movements around access and representation fare in a time of crisis.

  • Nike Jonah, Creative Producer, Counterpoint Arts
  • Anamik Saha, University of Goldsmiths, CoDE
  • Alex Wheatle CBE, Writer
  • K Biswas, Writer and Director of Resonance FM and Racebeat (Chair)


The Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) is an ESRC funded research centre providing theoretically informed, empirically grounded and policy-relevant research on ethnic inequalities in the UK. They bring together expertise from a range of disciplines including sociology, demography, economics, history, geography, political science, cultural studies and seek to communicate their research to a wide range of audiences.

CoDE has recently launched EVENS – Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS). This is the UK’s first and largest survey of its kind to document the impact of Covid-19, and the lockdowns, on 17,000 ethnic and religious minority people. Participate in EVENS.


Runnymede is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. They generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.