A Northumbria University academic will discuss the impact culture and literature can play in addressing UK regional inequalities during a major conference next week.

Professor Katy Shaw has carried out extensive research into the under representation of northern and working-class writers within the UK publishing industry, and how this issue can be addressed.

She has now been invited to speak at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) State of the North conference, taking place in Newcastle upon Tyne on 22 January.

The event will analyse the root cause of many of the UK’s current socio-economic problems through conversations about divisions and connections between different regions, and about the potential of radical Mayors.

As a Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University, Katy Shaw has researched how northern and other marginalised voices can achieve better representation within mainstream UK publishing, in particular through regional writing awards such as the Northern Writers Awards.

Her findings are being used to inform future policy – last year she gave evidence at the Performers’ Alliance All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into social mobility within the creative sector.

She will now speak at a panel discussion entitled ‘Question Time North: the potential of Mayors’, in which she will give her perspective on regional inequalities in the North and how northern leadership positions could be more inclusive and diverse.

Speaking about the event, Professor Shaw said: “The power of the North has recently been recognised in the 2019 General Election, and now attention is shifting to the region as a powerhouse of potential and a dynamic launchpad for the future of a very different United Kingdom.

“The role of arts, culture and literacy are often overlooked in discussions about future policing and planning but these areas of expertise define the proud history of the North and are vital to shaping its future.

“The IPPR State of the North convention will bring together a range of leading thinkers to discuss how we can sculpt and define a twenty-first century North that works for everyone.”

IPPR North’s State of the North conference takes place on 22 January 2020 at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The event is being hosted in collaboration with the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Find out more about the State of the North conference.

Professor Katy Shaw is Deputy Head of Department: Humanities. Find out more about the courses on offer and the work of academics within Northumbria University’s Department of Humanities.