Online Zoom Forum: Free Speech, Responsible Speech, and Hate Speech: Spiritual, Social, and Policy Perspectives.

Date: Wednesday 31 January 2024.
Time: 7pm-9pm (UK time).

Event Description:

Format: There will be five talks, each of 10 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion among the speakers and the chair, followed by Q & A.


Simon Barrow:

Bio: Director of the Ekklesia think-tank, which focuses on beliefs, ethics in public life, Simon is also a writer, lecturer and consultant on public policy, training and development, theology and politics. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists' Ethics Council. He has authored and edited or co-edited numerous books, the latest of which is 'A Better Nation: The Challenges of Scottish Independence' (Luath Press, May 2022). His forthcoming book ‘Against the Religion of Power: Telling a Different Christian Story’ will be published by Ekklesia this summer.



Dr Gameli Tordzro:

Bio: Dr Gameli Tordzro is a tradition bearer from Ghana.

He is an educator, artistic researcher, director and performer and farmer.

He works part time in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow as an Artist in Residence of the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration Through Languages and The Arts (UNESCO RILA) and as a Research Associate of the MIDEQ Hub.

He is also a freelance creative arts consultant and producer.

His professional experience cuts across Education, Artistic Research, Film, Television production and performance, Community Theatre and Development, traditional African cultures, music, fashion and textile production.

He is well known in Ghana for his storytelling role in the 1990s as Grandpa on the popular Ghana Television’s Kids Television programme ‘By The Fireside’ and later as ‘Paa Joe’ in the forty-episode TV Series ‘All That Glitters’ (2005 - 2006).

Tordzro is Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland (CATS Awards 2015) winner for Music and Sound for his work on the National Theatre of Scotland production ‘Last Dream on Earth’.

Professor Sir Geoff (Godfrey) Palmer:

Bio: Professor Sir Geoff (Godfrey) Palmer was born in Jamaica in 1940. He migrated to London in 1955 and unexpectedly had to return to school because he was one month younger than the school leaving age of 15 years.

He gained an Honours Degree in Botany in 1964 from Leicester University, a PhD Degree in 1967 from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt College in grain science and technology and completed a Post-Doc Fellowship in 1968. He gained a DSc degree for his research work in 1985, secured financial support from the industry to set up the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), retired in 2005 and became Chancellor of the Heriot-Watt University in 2021.

He sits on the Boards of Community Organisations and has received Honorary Degrees from various Academic Institutions. His awards include an OBE (2003) and Knighthood (2014) for his scientific research, charity and human rights work. He was the fifth recipient and the first European resident to gain a distinguished research award from the American Society of Brewing Chemist, regarded as the ‘Nobel Prize’ of the industry.

His work on the history of the enslavement of African people as British slaves has led him to work on slavery projects with Glasgow University and to chair projects set up by Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government on Museums and the University of Edinburgh. In 2022 Leicester University gave him its Diversity and Inclusion award and named a building after him. He has published books on race relations and cereal science and technology. He is the first Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Scotland and the Freeman of Midlothian. In 2021 he gained the Pride of Scotland’s Life Time Award, was elected Honorary Keeper of the Quaich by the distilling industry and received the rare Edinburgh Award in 2022.

Councillor Graham Campbell.

Bio: Graham is a veteran political campaigner and community activist who in May 2017, was elected as Glasgow's first African Caribbean Councillor. Graham was instrumental in Glasgow City Council holding its first ever official Black History Month event hosted by the Lord Provost in October 2017.

He has a strong interest in supporting care-experienced young people, trade union rights, community empowerment, protecting cultural heritage, protecting refugee and migrant communities and housing issues including protecting tenants from slum landlords.

Graham is a regular public speaker on Black Politics, African Caribbean History and Public Affairs. He is Project Leader of 'Flag Up Scotland Jamaica' a twinning exchange project formed during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

A longstanding cultural producer, musician and dub poet, Graham is a Co-Producer of African Caribbean Cultures Glasgow which at the 2014 Commonwealth Games produced Emancipation Acts, a street theatre based on the 2008 historical work by Dr Stephen Mullen "It Wisnae Us: The Truth About Glasgow and Slavery" about the slavery legacy of Glasgow's Tobacco Lords, Sugar Barons and Cotton Kings.

Pinar Aksu:

Title: Human Rights and Freedom.

Description: In this talk, Pinar will reflect on the meaning of Human Rights, focusing on social justice issues and how communities are impacted as a result of certain policies

Bio: Pinar Aksu is a theatre maker, researcher and Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator.

Pinar is currently in final year of PhD at the University of Glasgow, her research explores ‘Art and Law in Migration - using art practices for social change and access to justice’. As Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator, Pinar is involved with campaigns and projects supporting asylum and refugee rights, promoting integration and human rights. Current campaigns include, Right to Work- Lift the Ban, Access to Education and Bus Pass for people seeking asylum in Scotland. Pinar is involved in using theatre and creative methods to create social change.

Judy Wilkinson:

Title: Listening with a Quiet Mind.

Description: If our lives and culture are to change to deal with the current challenges it is important that we listen and talk to each other responsibly. There are many initiatives at Government and local level to bring about change; for example, the Government has just introduced a consultation on democracy to encourage subsidiarity and actions in local communities and place.

Working with the allotments movement for many years I have realised that for any positive change we need to consider how we communicate with each other on our allotment sites, how we join together for support and information and how we work with the Council and the government. Conflict arises at all levels of co-operation because people misinterpret words and assume intentions that are not meant. Hierarchical power dynamics often means free speech is seen as judgement and criticism so leads to hate speech and violent actions.

We need to hold conversations about what we mean by free, responsible and hate speech. How we speak and what we say should be embedded in a culture of caring, recognition of the needs of others and the contribution we can make to the community. For harmony we need responsible speech but what does this mean and how can we encourage it?

Bio: Judy has been involved with allotments and their organisation for over forty years. Allotments can be regarded as a microcosm of the world, concerned with community engagement, health and wellbeing, ecology, climate change as well as food security and horticulture so she has been an active member of national and local organisations that are concerned with many of these aspects.


Free Speech, Responsible Speech, and Hate Speech


An archive recording will be made for the EICSP archive.

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.

Cost: By Donation:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


There seems to be a new issue with Paypal and hopefully it will be resolved.

If you are having a difficulty paying by Paypal, then you can pay by bank transfer instead.

NB: you must also email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can send you the Zoom sign-in details.

Here are the bank transfer details:

Account Name: Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace
Bank Address: Edinburgh Royal Mile Branch
Account Number: 06131159
Sort Code: 802000

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The IBAN number is as follows:

GB70 BOFS 8020 0006 1311 59

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