Online Zoom Forum: Free Speech, Responsible Speech, and Hate Speech: Spiritual, Social, and Policy Perspectives.
Date: Wednesday 12 October 2022.
Time: 7pm-9pm (UK time).
Format: There will be up to five talks, each of 10 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion among the speakers, the chair, and the audience, followed by Q & A.
Bio: Born in China and brought up in Burma, Ken Webb graduated from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, University of London to practice medicine first in the UK and then, for many years, in Thailand. He went on to study theology at Trinity College Bristol, graduating in 1992, and was ordained into Anglican ministry after a further year of post graduate study. He spent the last five years before retiring in 2017 overseeing the training of those preparing for authorised ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s diocese of Edinburgh.
Title: Responsible Free Speech.
Description: Speech is a form of action, and the same rules apply - it can have consequences; it can be deliberate, careless, or malicious; "my freedom to wave my arms ends where your nose begins". But the converse is less obvious - where does your right to protect your nose end, and how does that right restrict my freedom? Do I have a right not to be verbally abused? Not to be offended? To be protected from opinions I disagree with? This is a minefield, so we will try to tread carefully!
Bio: Ephraim Borowski is the Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and has held numerous other positions in the Jewish Community in Glasgow, Scotland, and the UK, for which he was awarded an MBE. He has also been Convener of the ethnic minority umbrella organisation, Bemis, a member of the Scottish Committees of both the EOC and CRE, and chairs the Police Scotland National Independent Strategic Advisory Group on diversity matters including hate crime.
In a former life, Ephraim was head of the Philosophy Department at Glasgow University, and President of the AUT. He is author of the Collins Dictionary of Mathematics and was President of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, of which he is only the third Honorary Member since Einstein!
Dr Rebecca Crowther:
Title: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion: LGBTI Equality Policy Perspectives.
Description: Drawing on recent work on the Hate Crime Bill and working towards a Bill that will end conversion practices in Scotland, Rebecca will discuss freedom of expression and the freedom to be one’s whole self and how these intertwine in equality policy.
Bio: Dr Rebecca Crowther is the Policy Coordinator at Equality Network, Scotland's leading LGBTI policy charity. She is also a social researcher. Her work at Equality Network covers (among other things) hate crime, mental health, women's health, ending conversion practices, gender recognition reform, human rights, I/VSC specific policy and engagement, and kinship in the LGBTI+ community.
The Equality Network works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights in Scotland. They strive to be inclusive and open in their work, to challenge discrimination, and to consult, involve, and inform the individuals and the communities for which they work.
Mahrukh Adnan Shaukat:
Title: Who is the World Changing for?
Description: How can we use free speech to lift others? Alongside other considerations of how to use our freedoms responsibly, let us consider the practical implications of uplifting some voices and censoring others. Using current examples, we will look at narratives that are linked to the ideas which underpin hate speech and misogyny, and the standards which drive movements of support and solidarity. In particular, examples of the Ukranian crisis and coverage of the protests around the murder of Mahsa Amini in Iran will be used to promote discussion.
Bio: Mahrukh Adnan Shaukat, Campaigns and Community Research Officer at Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre. Mahrukh Adnan Shaukat has been a development officer at Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre for 6 years. She is currently working on improving the levels of understanding around equalities and inclusion practice across all sectors - especially in regard to gender, race and religion - and creating campaigns for visual and literal representation of a diverse range of Muslim women's voices. She is on the board of Interfaith Glasgow and in the process of developing community-led research around adult safeguarding in faith-based institutions as a director of SACRED (body:mind:space).
Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young:
Title: Help! My Speech Act misfired!
Description: There is plenty of space for speech today. Much of it is taken up with opinion and bull****. (The latter is now a technical philosophical term thanks to philosopher Harry Frankfurt and it is useful in discussion of fake news). Yet, despite the big platforms, some people still can’t get their voice heard and it is not because they are censored or banned. They speak but they are not heard. No amount of regulation can change what we choose to hear. Is it up to us rather than tech firms or the law to give other people voices?
Bio: Elizabeth is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where she teaches courses in the fundamentals of philosophy to international students. She also runs courses on applied ethics, critical thinking, the philosophy of personal relations and the history of women in philosophy. Two main areas of her research are discussions which take place on the borderlands of philosophy and theology and projects which recover the work of women philosophers. She is a founder member and past Chairman of the Albertus Institute which offers a platform for the intellectual debate about faith in the modern world.
Title: Without Free Speech, there is no University.
Description: The campus free speech wars have been a major talking point in the headlines over the last decade. We’re told that campus life has been taken over by noisy snowflake students that aggressively seek to shut down debate and speakers that they disagree with, helped on by cowardly academics. But, what is life really like for a curious, open-minded student, who is bushy tailed and keen to explore all ideas, even dangerous ones? Is university really becoming more stifling and conformist? Can you even have a university without a vibrant culture of disagreement and free discourse? This presentation will seek to shed light on this important free speech discussion, from a first-person student perspective.
Bio: Max Mitchell is an aspiring writer and final-year undergraduate student in English literature and philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He is the editor of the free speech student magazine The New Taboo and a contributing writer for The Glasgow Guardian. He is an active member of the student free speech campaign Free Speech Champions, where he has hosted in-person salons and discussion events about the pressing political and cultural issues of our time.
NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.
Cost: By Donation. For a Registration Form:
(for late inquiries on the day, then email, do not phone.
If you book on the day of the event you will be emailed the Zoom sign-in details 1-2 hours before the event).