Professor Gavin Schaffer specialises in the history of racism, discrimination and immigration in the UK. His research on the Immigrant Programmes Unit, which was set up in 1965 by the BBC in Birmingham to provide television content for Asian immigrants, was recently published in the book The Vision of a Nation: Making Multiculturalism on British Television.
Working with an Arts and Humanities Research Council training grant, Gavin led a team of thirty postgraduate students to link research with community learning and development projects, and has forged partnerships with several regional arts organisations to create a variety of exciting ventures. for example, one group of Gavin's students recently connected with BBC West Midlands, designing a new WWI exhibition in the Mailbox.
His next piece of research considers the social and cultural consequences of Irish immigration in post-war Birmingham, specifically in the context of post-war racial tensions; taking the form of a series of articles and a new archive of oral testimony.
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Being based in Birmingham gives me the ability to engage with diverse communities and access key resources in the city. I feel like I am situated at the centre of an ongoing discussion on the development of a multicultural Britain. The University itself has produced a wealth of historically significant work around multiculturalism such as that by Professors Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy and I am lucky to be able to build on this research