Beds Talk shares research which challenges thinking on ‘street activities’

Tue 30 January, 2024
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Another series of the popular ‘Beds Talks’ events gets underway at the University of Bedfordshire, kicking off with an in-depth look at ‘street activities’ including begging, street sex work, rough sleeping and street drinking.

The event is free to attend and open to the public, students and staff by registering here.

Hosted by Dr Sarah Wadd, Principal Research Fellow at Bedfordshire, ‘Beds Talks: Making Sense of Street Activities’ will be held on the ground floor of the Postgraduate Centre at the University’s Luton campus on Wednesday 6 March from 6pm.

Those wishing to join can also watch online via a livestream, and you can register for both tickets via Eventbrite.

At this interactive event, the audience will hear gritty accounts of life on the streets, have opportunities to share their own views and put questions to a panel of experts including Chief Superintendent Jaki Whittred of Bedfordshire Police, Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Homelessness and Jen Robus, Chief Executive of SMART CJS, a local charity supporting people experiencing homelessness.

As a result of concerns raised by local communities, and with funding from Luton Borough Council and NHS England, the University of Bedfordshire has undertaken research into these ‘street activities’, interviewing more than 90 people involved in street activities in Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes and 50 professionals who work with them.

Speaking about the research set to be explored in this ‘Beds Talks’ event, Dr Wadd said: “Our research shows that while street activities are often cast in the public imagination as antisocial behaviour, they are a response to personal circumstance rather than a deliberately anti-social activity. 

“The current focus of interventions is enforcement and support strategies which target individuals.  But street activities are influenced by interpersonal, organisational, community and policy factors.  Failing to take these into account means that many of the interventions aren’t working and harm vulnerable people.  We need a contemporary rethink to tackle this complex issue.”

‘Beds Talks’ is an exciting series of free public events running throughout the academic year that showcase the best of the University’s ground-breaking research and its societal impact. Previous events have included an exploration of younger people and physical activity, and a round table discussion on literature and creative writing.

This event is the first of two ‘Beds Talks’ events this academic year. For more information about the second event ‘Eating, Drinking & Exercising in a Warming World’ – held in April 2024 – click here.


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