Mike Waite

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2019-20

Mike Waite

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2019-20

Mike Waite ISRF

Mike Waite has worked as a youth and community worker in Blackburn, Lancashire; on the Wirral, Merseyside; and as a local government officer in Burnley (all these municipalities are in North West England). He has also worked as a mediator, and as a facilitator and trainer in the field of conflict resolution.

From 2002 until 2018, his work for Burnley Council included responsibility for community engagement, ensuring compliance with equalities legislation, and promoting good race relations.

Mike holds an MPhil in Sociology (Lancaster University, 1992), and a number of post-graduate professional diplomas. His 2019-20 ISRF Fellowship is being hosted by the University of Manchester (Sociology).

Mike’s articles and book reviews have appeared in a range of academic, cultural and political journals including Anarchist Studies, Critical Social Policy, Community Development Journal, New Humanist, Party Politics, Radical Philosophy, Renewal, Socialist History, Soundings, The Cunningham Amendment and Twentieth Century Communism. Writing as Mike Makin-Waite, he is the author of Communism and Democracy (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 2017).

Reflections, lessons and directions: Race relations, class and politics in a northern English town

This entry is a request for support to carry out a systematic and substantial review and testing of the entrant’s personal experience of working in a particular location in local government on conflicted, disputed and controversial issues.

It would thus ‘capture’ learning from front-line professional practice. The form of research will be a major writing project in which the entrant will collate, synthesise and develop reflections from working on race relations, community issues and local politics in Burnley; illustrate these with a detailed and unique account of social dynamics and issues covering a period of over twenty years in this specific location; use this material as a basis for wider critical considerations on themes relevant to the goals of the ISRF; and produce a publication-ready book as a vehicle for contributing to ongoing discussions and policy debates through inputs to conferences and meetings, writing short articles for publications etc.

The possibility of carrying out this project results from the entrant having been made redundant from local government in summer 2018, in the context of ‘austerity’ driven national funding cuts.

Financial support from ISRF is needed so as to cover part of the entrant’s living costs, so that over the next year he is able to work part-time rather than full-time, and devote the bigger ‘half’ of his time to this project; and to cover research expenses. The entrant would spend three days each week researching, drafting and finalising a book-length text. This will involve reviewing, editing, collating and developing a mass of unorganised notes accumulated over the years; re-reading and reading a wide range of books, press cuttings and organisational papers; and conversations and interviews with a range of community activists, politicians, academics and members of research institutions, and others, both in Burnley and more widely.

Research Outcomes

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.