On Friday 23 January, a team from the BBC broadcast a series of interviews on the topic of mixed race live from CONEL’s Pavilion.

The day of filming went out on the BBC News Channel. It gave some CONEL learners the chance to talk about their experiences of their own mixed race ethnicity, and to react to the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Reporter Sean Fletcher and Producer Leon Mann are both of mixed race, so bringing a spotlight onto this issue has been a project with personal significance for the two young men.
Leon said: “The inauguration of President Obama has of course given us a solid peg on which we can hang this debate, but we didn’t want this just to be a deconstruction of one man. Instead, we are trying to spark an ongoing discussion about mixed race – which is now the single largest ethnic minority in the UK population”.

“CONEL is local to me – I grew up in Wood Green, and had friends who came to the College. I felt it was important to base today’s broadcast in a diverse college and a diverse community, although I hope the issues are just as relevant to someone watching from Devon or Newcastle. Those issues are different for every individual: people might think that ‘mixed race’ means someone with one black and one white parent, but –  for example – one of the guests from CONEL going in front of the camera today has one Japanese parent and one who is American.”

Leon has written an article for the BBC website on the subject, which you can read by following the link below. He also had some words of encouragement for CONEL Media learners hoping to break into the world of journalism. As the founder and chair of the Black Sports Journalists’ Forum, he is particularly keen to see the world of journalism and the BBC reflecting the UK’s ethnic diversity more accurately. “When I was starting out, people told me getting a break was all about ‘who you know’. It’s true that contacts do help, but so does confidence, luck and lots and lots of hard work.”