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Peter Hopkins

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Peter Hopkins

Dean of Social Justice

As Dean of Social Justice, Peter aims to embed the principles of social justice across the University and develop closer relationships with local community groups and social enterprises.

A key inspiration for Peter is continuing the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, who was awarded an Honorary Degree by Newcastle University in 1967.

“He made a speech at the ceremony highlighting that the key challenges facing society were war, poverty and racism,” says Peter. “These challenges, alongside widening social inequalities, are still with us. As a University we need to draw attention to social injustice, work through the challenges and collaborate in order to help overcome them.”

He aims to give higher profile to the already extensive social justice research taking place at Newcastle University in fields ranging from health to education, from race to poverty and from gender to migration. He is also keen to see more courses and modules in social justice topics.

We need to draw attention to social injustice, work through the challenges and collaborate in order to help overcome them.

Peter Hopkins

Newcastle, he says, has always been a civic-minded University and through its new Social Justice Fund is powering partnership projects with voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in the region.

This currently includes working with groups who organise food banks and helping to highlight the issues faced by disadvantaged young people.

“We want to give more focus to the fund and highlight social justice issues. We aim to foster closer collaborations, enhance the capacity of these organisations and help them with their work,” he says.

“We also want to harness the potential and skills of our students to tackle social justice. They are already helping in numerous ways.”

Peter also wants to influence Government policy in order to show how research can contribute to “helping people lead better lives.”

Tackling injustice has been a life-long mission for Peter.

“As Professor of Social Geography all of my research and teaching is motivated by this issue,” he says. “It stems from growing up in Glasgow and attending a working-class state school – it was here that I first started to notice social inequalities and divisions based on race, gender and class.”

Indeed, Peter’s current academic focus is on Islamophobia and he has helped to set up a cross party group in the Scottish Parliament to tackle the problem.