Worldwork 2008 Masthead

UK and London regional information

Northern Ireland
Black and Asian British  
General UK Ancient Sites

Welcome to London and the UK. Find out here about the setting for Worldwork 2008 in London and the UK. We have listed some background information and links about the history of the Islands and how identities have formed. The words we choose have political implications and may bring up strong reactions, in others and also in ourselves as we look more deeply and recognise our history, the dreaming in the Islands and its political legacy. There is a rich diversity in these islands and we hope to bring awareness to at least some of this here.

The official name of this country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, usually shortened to ‘the UK’, though it would probably be true to say that most residents of these islands do not readily identify with this whole long title - and some with none of it! Disputes and dilemmas about the names that are used, and even what lands are included, are part of the political history of these Islands.

Great Britain is another term commonly used; it describes the lands of England, Scotland and Wales, and includes a number of smaller islands particularly to the north and west of Scotland. Northern Ireland occupies the north of the island of Ireland (Eire in Irish). To the South and North West in Ireland is the Republic of Ireland (also called Ireland and Eire).

Together, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles make up a Common Travel Area within which its citizens can travel freely. Geographically they form an archipelago, for which the term used on maps is the British Isles, but this implies a primacy of British identity, and marginalises the island of Ireland. In recent agreements between the two governments e.g. the Good Friday agreement concerning the Northern Ireland Peace Process the more inclusive term ‘these islands’ has been used. The Isle of Man and the Channel Isles have their own governments, but by agreement are represented internationally by the government of the UK.

People who have the nationality of the UK are called ‘British’, but here again individuals may identify more or less or not at all with this term. Many people would more readily say they are, for instance, English or Welsh or British Asian, or increasingly, European. We wondered, writing this introduction – what are these identities? There doesn’t seem to be any irreducible minimum or consensus about them but they clearly have meaning for people so maybe they are what process work calls dreaming. So there is for instance English dreaming and Welsh dreaming – worlds of images, impressions, feelings and beliefs, which differ from person to person but which have some shared threads.

The word ‘British’ is used in a myriad of ways and is often misused. A common assumption, implicit in some uses, makes ‘British’ almost a synonym for ‘English’, as for instance in the BBC which stands for British Broadcasting Corporation. There is a BBC Wales a BBC Scotland and a BBC NI but no BBC England. It’s just ‘the BBC’. Thus the use of the term ‘British’ can be exclusive or inclusive, depending on context.

For more information on the language issues of these islands see:

There follows lots of information for you to explore, be curious about, challenged by and dialogue with! It is necessarily incomplete and we welcome your input so if you have anything to add please let us know.



London is the capital of the United Kingdom and of England; it is the largest city in the European Union and is one of the major global cities. First established around 2000 years ago it is now one of the world's leading business, financial and cultural centres. It has a population of about 7.5 million and includes a wide range of cultures, religions and peoples who speak over 300 different languages.

Article about History of London (hyperlink to London History)
Places to visit (hyperlink to places to visit) in London

General and history websites:

Multicultural London: welcome to the multicultural epicentre of Europe: 33 boroughs, seven million people, 300 languages and enough global cultures to experience a different part of the world every day. Here you will find information about
30 of London's communities.  website dedicated to information about London’s diverse communities an e-zine article on London’s multicultural experience  facts and figures about London’s multicultural population

London by Edward Rutherford this novel stretches two millennia all the way from Roman times to the present. The author places his vignettes at the most dramatic moments of that city's history, leaping from Caesar's invasion to the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire to (of course) the Blitz, with many stops in between. two extensive selections of novels set in Londo

Films set in London:



General and history websites:  BBC’s England pages  BBC’s history pages, Wikipedia’s general England Page Wikipedia’s history of England Page

Famous English people:


Watching the English: The hidden rules of English behaviour by Kate Fox a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English. She puts the English national character under her anthropological microscope, and finds a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and Byzantine codes of behaviour. Detailed observation of the way we talk, dress, eat, drink, work, play, shop, drive, flirt, fight, queue – and moan about it all!

The English: A Portrait of a People by Jeremy Paxman what is it about the English? Not the British overall, not the Scots, not the Irish or Welsh, but the English. Why do they seem so unsure of who they are? As Jeremy Paxman remarks in his preface to The English, being English "used to be so easy". Now, with the Empire gone, with Wales and Scotland moving into more independent postures, with the troubling spectre of a united Europe the English seem to have entered a collective crisis of national identity.

Bend It Like Beckham: tackles contemporary issues of cultural clashes, female independence and the importance of family. Director Gurinder Chaddha tells the story of Jess Bhamra a young girl brought up within the traditional boundaries of a Sikh family who manages to live out her fantasies in an uproarious way. Despite her parents’ grounded roots the anglicised Jess joins the Hounslow Harriers and, with the help of her friend Jules sneaks out of the house to follow her dream of playing alongside all-time hero David Beckham.

List of other interesting films: 
This is England
The Queen
Brassed off
Calendar girls
Once upon a time in the Midlands
History Boys
The Full Monty
Secrets and Lies
My Beautiful Launderette
Billy Elliot
Vera Drake
Dirty pretty things


Northern Ireland

General and history websites: Wikipedia’s general NI page Wikipedia’s history of NI page BBC history of NI page BBC’s news from NI pages BBC ‘quick guide’ to the history of the conflict in NI  BBC recent history NI Sinn Fein’s history page

Famous Northern Irish people:


Personal Accounts from Northern Ireland's Troubles: Public Conflict, Private Loss by Marie Smyth and Marie-Therese Fay (2000)

Northern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction  by Marc Mulholland (2003)

Films: - list of films set in NI.



General and history websites:  BBC news from Scotland BBC’s Scottish history pages Wikipedia’s general Scotland Pages Wikipedia’s history of scotland Pages The Scottish tourist board history pages The Scottish tourist board The Scottish tourist board bookshop

Famous Scottish people:

Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson - A vivid look at Scotland's long and difficult road to nationhood, re-exploring some cherished myths and unearthing a wealth of fascinating new detail, from the earliest Mesolithic settlers on the island of Rum to the establishment of the new Scottish parliament in 1999.

Highland Clearances by John Prebble a moving account of an important piece of Scottish history

Films: A list of films set in Scotland

Ae Fond Kiss (2004), Dir. Ken Loach: In Glasgow, Scotland, the Pakistani parents of Kasim Khan have decided that he is going to marry his cousin Jasmine. Unfortunately, Kasim has just fallen in love with his younger sister's music teacher Roisin. Not only is she 'goree', a white woman, she is also Irish and Catholic, things that may not go down well with Kasim's parents. They start a relationship but Kasim is torn between following his heart and being a good son. Review from

List of other films:
Gregory's Girl
Local Hero
My Name is Joe
Shallow Grave



General and history websites: BBC news from Wales BBC’s Welsh history pages Wikipedia’s Welsh pages Wikipedia’s Welsh history pages Immigration into Wales Three sites about the oldest British Language – Cymraeg or Welsh as it is called in English Diversity in Wales: Welsh tourist board

Famous Welsh people:

Books: a selection of books by Welsh authors more Welsh books

A History of Wales by John Davies: Originally published in Welsh as Hanes Cymru, this book traces the history of Wales stretching from the Ice Ages to the present day; this masterful account traces the political, social and cultural history of the land that has come to be called Wales.

The Mabinogion (Oxford World's Classics) by Sioned Davies: Celtic mythology, Arthurian romance, and an intriguing interpretation of British history - these are just some of the themes embraced by the anonymous authors of the eleven tales that make up the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion. They tell of Gwydion the shape-shifter, who can create a woman out of flowers; of Math the magician whose feet must lie in the lap of a virgin; of hanging a pregnant mouse and hunting a magical boar. Dragons, witches, and giants live alongside kings and heroes, and quests of honour, revenge, and love are set against the backdrop of a country struggling to retain its independence.


A Way Of Life Dir. Amma Asante a powerful, controversial portrait of contemporary South Wales. A Way of Life tells the story of Leigh-Anne, a 17-year-old single mother living in a South Wales coastal city who is drawn into a racist attack on a Turkish neighbour.

United Kingdom General and history websites: Wikipedia general UK pages Wikipedia UK history pages  lists of all the major and minor political parties and links to their websites Lists of all sorts of different people!

Four Nations: A History of the United Kingdom by Frank Welsh – single volume history of the mutual relations between the constituent parts of the UK.


Black and Asian British The first and original African/British History website. Wikipedia's Black British page Wikipedia’s British Asian page history and current affairs BBC Asian Network National archives Black history project,,605382,00.html My Britain: voices from across the nation

Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain: Black People in Britain Since 1504 by Peter Fryer informative book tracing the history of Black people in Britain.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali: With its gritty Tower Hamlets setting, this sharply observed contemporary novel about the life of an Asian immigrant girl deals cogently with issues of love, cultural difference and the human spirit.

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi The winner of the Whitbread Best First Novel 1990, this is the story of Karim Amir, "an Englishman born and bred - almost", who lives with his English mother and Indian father in the South London suburbs

And Still I Rise: seeking justice for Stephen by Doreen Lawrence In April 1993, Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a group of young white men on a street in South-East London. From the first police investigation onwards, the case was badly mishandled. In the end, long after the case against the five suspects had been dropped, the government had to give in to mounting pressure and hold a public inquiry, which became the most explosive in British legal history. These facts leave the reader unprepared for Doreen Lawrence's own story of her son's murder. In this raw, honest book, she writes about her life for the first time, and recreates the pain, frustration and bafflement she experienced as she realised that there would never be a moment when she could say to herself that justice had been done.

For the Love of Anthony: A Mother's Search for Truth After the London Bombings by Marie Fatayi-Williams In this unique account, Marie Fatayi-Williams, a mother who lost her son, Anthony Fatayi-Williams, in the July 7th bombings in London tells of her loss, her grief, and ultimately her faith in this powerful and moving book. After her heart-rending speech on Monday 11 July 2005 in the wake of the atrocities, she became a symbol of the grief caused by terrorists all over the world. Now, a year on, she describes her account of that terrible day and personal struggle to face the senseless death of her son. This book also highlights her frustration with the official investigation and expresses how she resisted against bureaucratic delays. Her story is told with her vivid gift for language with raw passion, and ultimately with the love of a mother.
Her story will move everyone who has ever grieved for a child, inspire anyone who has ever longed for peace, and enrich everyone who reads it.

The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole
Written in 1857, this is the autobiography of a Jamaican woman whose fame rivalled Florence Nightingale's during the Crimean War. Seacole's offer to volunteer as a nurse in the war met with racism and refusal. Undaunted, Seacole set out independently to the Crimea where she acted as doctor and mother' to wounded soldiers while running her business, the British Hotel'. A witness to key battles, she gives vivid accounts of how she coped with disease, bombardment and other hardships at the Crimean battlefront.

Only Half of Me: Being a Muslim in Britain by Rageh Omaar ex BBC reporter now working for Al Jezeera writes about the experience of being a Muslim growing up in England

The Storytellers Daughter by Saira Shah “Saira Shah takes us on an extraordinary journey from an English childhood, laced with Afghan myths handed down from her forebears, to the terrors and complexities of present-day Afghanistan. . . . At the end of it you are left with the truest sense of this magical country together with the recognition this exceptional English writer is still unmistakably Afghani.” –Jon Snow

Film: List of British Asian films article about and list of Black British films.



Websites: Tourist guide to Britain  The BBC history site Antislavery website with some info about the 1807 abolition BBC World Service ‘Learn English’ website 'Welcome to London' is an intermediate English language course. It follows two characters, John and Fiona, through a series of situations as they arrive and settle down in the city.

Photogalleries:  England mostly some Wales and Scotland Photographs of Ireland - Lots of lovely photos of events and celebrations throughout the year from Hogmanay in Jan to the Frost Fair in Dec


Art: Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to 2007

Newspapers:  The Guardian The Independent Independent Media social activist site The Scotsman Western Mail & South Wales Echo The Belfast Telegraph The Irish Independent publisher of weekly newspapers, magazines, websites and digital newspapers for Britain’s African, Caribbean, Black British and Asian communities. Lots of Scottish online newspapers  Lots of Welsh online newspapers Lots of English online newspapers Lots of NI online newspapers Mix of ROI and NI online newspapers   Al Jazeera’s English language website provide both a regional voice and a global non-Anglo-American perspective, news management rotates around broadcasting centres in Kuala Lumpur, Doha, London and Washington, D.C. "following the sun". The Forgiveness Project: a young charitable organisation – with no political or religious affiliations – working at a local, national and international level to promote conflict resolution and restorative practices as alternatives to the endless cycles of conflict, violence and crime that are the hallmarks of our time. Through collecting and sharing personal stories, and delivering educational and self-help programmes, The Forgiveness Project aims to reframe the debate about how individuals and communities can learn to celebrate difference and overcome division, thereby fostering positive social change.


Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature by Jean Markale: A comprehensive and revealing look at the druids and their fundamental role in Celtic society that dispels many of the misconceptions about these important religious figures and their doctrine * Written by the world's leading authority on Celtic culture. Druidism was one of the greatest and most exalting adventures of the human spirit, attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable, the individual and the collective, creator and created, good and evil, day and night, past and future, and life and death

Credo by Melvyn Bragg –– historical novel, about Irish and English Christianity circa 6-9 centuries.

The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary Prince the first narrative of a black woman to be published in Britain. It describes Prince's sufferings as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island and Antigua, and her eventual arrival in London with her brutal owner Mr Wood in 1828. Prince escaped from him and sought assistance from the Anti-Slavery Society.

Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror  by Tariq Ali lays bare the vengeful platitudes of Blair's war on civil liberties, mounts a scorching attack on the cosy falsehoods of the government's 'consensus' on what the threat amounts to and how to respond, and denounces the corruption of the political-media bubble which allows it to go unchallenged. Finally, invoking the perseverance and integrity of the great dissenters of the past, he calls for political resistance, within parliament and without.

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by Tariq Ali After the events of September 11, 2001, the veteran writer, filmmaker and political activist Tariq Ali has been in great demand to provide his own radical perspective on the significance of the attacks, and the result is The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity. Ali's book explores the history that preceded these events, and deals directly with the political history of Islam, its founding myths, its origins, its culture, its riches, its divisions. However, this is no dry history book, but a powerful and wide-ranging polemic that interrogates the hypocrisy of Islamist politics and religion, while also denouncing the double standards of US and UK foreign policy towards Islamic states over the last century. Tariq Ali has written many other great if controversial books on contemporary issues with Britain and the Middle East.

Rough Crossings by Simon Schama the astonishing story of the struggle to freedom by thousands of African-American slaves who fled the plantations to fight behind British lines in the American War of Independence.

Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary by Riki Anne Wilchins, Clare Howell, and Joan Nestle: In this groundbreaking anthology, three experts in gender studies and politics navigate around rigid, societally imposed concepts of two genders to discover and illuminate the limitless possibilities of identity.

The nearest ancient sites accessible from London

Stonehenge is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. It is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world. Archaeologists think that the standing stones were erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC although the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury. It is also a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge itself is owned and managed by English Heritage while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Adapted from English Heritage Stonehenge page
Avebury is a World Heritage Site and includes the world’s biggest stone circle, a large henge and several smaller stone circles. It is in the English county of Wiltshire at grid reference SU103699, surrounding the village of Avebury (its geographical location is 51°25′43″N, 1°51′15″W). It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to around 5000 years ago. It is older than the megalithic stages of Stonehenge, which is located about 32 km (20 miles) to the south, although the two monuments are broadly contemporary overall. It is situated approximately midway between the towns of Marlborough and Calne, just off the A4 national route on the northbound A361 towards Wroughton.Avebury is National Trust property. Adapted from National Trust Avebury website lots of photos of Avebury


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