End of the project

November 3, 2010

The one-year Global Issues<>Local Action project finished at the end of October 2010.

Please read  the (draft) final report which outlines the activities and outcomes of the project and makes suggestions for the sustainability of some of the gains: Final Report

This blog will remain online so that information and resources (reports, displays, workpacks) can continue to be downloaded and used by individuals or organisations.

For further information about global issues work at Northern College, please contact the Vice Principal Jayne Hawley:  jhawley@northern.ac.uk


Women’s Voices

October 13, 2010

Watch the YouTube video of the highly successful launch of the book

Women’s Voices from South Yorkshire.
Different Cultures. One World.


Women's Voices

Also read the article in the Sheffield Star at


The book can be purchased from DEWA (Development and Empowerment for Women’s Advancement) at £12.50 including postage.

It was published by Northern College in association with CAM Yorkshire and launched as part of the Off the Shelf  literary festival in Sheffield.

The video was made by Daniel Pinder.

Webskills for worldwide campaigning

October 13, 2010

What’s your story?

And what’s the most effective way of getting it across?

It seems that online campaigning comes down to the magical number 3… 
And that all successful campaigns have a simple story to tell…

Ten community activists from a range of organisations came together for the weekend 8th-10th October to develop skills and exchange ideas for using WordPress.com as one way of engaging more members in their work.

Organisations  included the Workers Educational Association’s Making a Change programme, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Communication Workers Union, Sheffield Cuba Solidarity Campaign and Leeds Refugee Forum – all of whom hope to link to the new Northern Social Forum network.

 For more information on webskills courses contact Daniel at daniel_pinder@yahoo.co.uk

Sport & Development Workpack

October 13, 2010

Please see out new Sport and Development workpack, which has been designed for the project by HIVsport (www.hivsport.org ) and is available to download here in pdf: Sport and Development Workpack.

The pack  provides entry points for tutors, youth workworkers and other facilitators into  how issues of sport can be used to raise awareness about international development among young people and adults.

 The workpack includes a range of issues for discussion, to be explored in further depth through research on the web – and to stimulate local action:

  1. The impact of large scale events on the local community
  2. The World Cup and the  informal economy
  3. The exploitation of young African footballers by European clubs
  4. Gender equity in sport
  5. Using sport to tackle HIV/AIDS
  6. The Olympics and questions about human rights
  7. Sports products and decent work
  8. Racism and homophobia in sport

This is one of the products from the Sport and Globalisation dayschool that we held in April 2010.

Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production

September 8, 2010

John Smith, who took part in the Northern Social Forum in June, has completed his thesis on Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production, which he wrote for people who want to change the world.

In it he argues that neoliberal globalisation has greatly increased the inequality between North and South, constituting a new form of imperialism. In particular the globalisation of production processes has meant a global shift of industrial production to low-wage nations. The contribution of labour in the south is massively understatement in the accumulation of wealth by transnational companies with headquarter based in the north.  Estimates of GDP obscure the exploitation of southern labour by northern capital.

The complete thesis can be downloaded from 


Writing for change

August 6, 2010


  • How do you draw your audience in?
  • How can you get people reflecting on global issues?
  • How can I strengthen my voice?
  • How can I use creative writing as a form of political action?

Fourteen “writers for change” spent three days at Northern College with playwright Julie Bokowiec –  exploring such questions through discussion – as well as through the production of new writing.

The material used as stimulus included James Cameron’s Avatar (dispossession), Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush (poverty) and Oliver Postgate’s The Clangers (greed and inequality versus socialism).

There was a focus on environmental issues, with one of the writing tasks based on this photo of  Avetik, Ludmila and Liana in their sinking house in Yakutsk, east Russia, where the ice is melting because of global warming.

We live on the edge

This was taken from the photo story by Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer entitled ‘We live on the edge’ in The Guardian Weekend 12 December 2009. See the whole story at http://photo-schweiz.ch/09/flash/Guardian.pdf

The course was run in collaboration with The Last Cuckoo project http://thelastcuckoo.com featuring the play by Julie Bokowiec which will premiere at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on 22nd October. Before the performance, the writers  for change from the Northern College workshop will join other groups to share their work.

Writers for change at Northern College

 Read The floor  written by Anne Steward.

See Ali Herod’s blog at http://collaboratehere.blogspot.com/2010/08/writing-for-change.html

A Look at 21st Century Slavery

July 29, 2010

Historian and teacher, Steve Jones, brought illumination and inspiration to participants in a short course held at Northern College between 12th – 14th July 2010, entitled Slavery and Colonialism in Yorkshire – Past and Present.

 Below we have the pleasure of showcasing one of the group projects produced during the course, which helped to turn around people’s view of the world.

Twenty First Century Slavery: An Introduction

In 2010 an estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world. They are often forced to work through violence or the threat of it. Usually they are under the complete control of their ‘employers’, treated as property and sometimes bought and sold.

 To illustrate this using one example:

Mumbai is a city of poverty. More than half of the 19 million inhabitants live in the slums. An equal number have no toilets. And while a good portion of the slum-dwellers likely live below the poverty line of less than $1.25, there are actually more than a million that live on less than 50 cents a day.

 Stanley, Rosa and Das are just three of the many children sold into slavery by their parents. They now work and live in a small shack making bangles in the poorest slum in Mumbai, India. Individually they made less than $200 a year, not enough for school, let alone food.

Traditionally India, Pakistan and Nepal are nations that are responsible, but it extends to global proportions. Children are trafficked between West African countries, men forced to work on Brazilian estates and Eastern European women bonded into Western Europe’s sex industry. China also has a huge section of industry based on slave wages but some culprits lay closer to home…

 Corporate Slavery: Primark in the dock

Looking at the exploitation of child labour and using Primark as just one example begins to illustrate the level of depravity involved in the garment trade.

 One pound in ten spent on clothes in Britain’s high streets ends in Primark’s pocket. They advertise openly in their stores a policy of no unethical commitment, no child labour. However a recent BBC programme suggests otherwise.

Primark market their clothes in Great Britain under various guises such as Gap and Atmosphere. It also markets its clothes in Ireland under the brand, Pennies.

 The 2008 programme showed that although factories are used to manufacture the garments, the sequins and finishing is done in isolated villages where their earnings are 52 oence per day (half the level of minimum wages).

 Reporters went into the factories disguised as buyers as they had been refused entry on prior occasions.

 Notices within the factory showed that it was illegal to employ children. However:

When the children were questioned on their ages they were silenced by the factory managers. They declared ages of being 12 and 13 but were later proven to be aged 8 and 9. The children work 11 hour days 6 days per week.

 Three quarters of the population worked in textiles. The communities have no clean water as the use of water for the textile industry is turning all the supply toxic.

 In Tirapur, Westerners are banned from visiting the factories that supply Primark. United Nations are also banned from visiting. Children working on night clothes are as young as 7 years old and earn 19 pence per day.

Primark’s overall main supplier (The Fab An Fabrics factory) earns £700 million profit per year.

Is this not 21st Century slavery and exploitation at it’s very worst?

What we can all do:

–          Join networks and organizations that are fighting slavery

–          Make other people aware that slavery still exists

–          Hold companies to account

–          Lobby your government to take action. Write to your elected representatives and ask them to press for policies which would help to end slavery

–          Make your money talk. Use your consumer power positively. Buy fair trade products – from bananas to chocolate to carpets. Badger your local retailer or supermarket to stock fair trade goods

 This project was constructed by John, Enid and Gary. Huge thanks.