What's On



BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival: Gangs: the Usual Suspects?

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tickets: Free but ticketed (Max 4 per person)


From Brighton Rock and Goodfellas to the streets of Glasgow, London’s East End and Chicago, what’s it really like to be part of organised crime? Matthew Sweet calls a meeting with Heather Shore and Alistair Fraser, reporter on the London riots Symeon Brown and youth worker James Docherty.

Symeon Brown describes himself as an ’activist/writer on youth, justice and urbanism’ and is a journalist for Channel 4 News reporting on gangs and prisons.

Alistair Fraser researches gang culture with a particular focus on youth ‘gangs’, street-based teenagers involved in criminal activity in Glasgow, Chicago and Hong Kong. His most recent publication is Gangs and Crime: Critical Alternatives and his book Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City, was awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize.

Historian Heather Shore Professor at Leeds Beckett University has published widely in the field of crime and penal history. Her research encompasses the history of youth offending, the historical evolution of the idea of the criminal underworld, and British organised crime in the interwar period of the twentieth century. Heather is co-convenor of History UK (HUK), co-chair for the Criminal Justice Strand of the European Social Science History Conference (ESHHC), and a founding member of the British Crime Historians (BCH).

James Docherty has both professional and personal experience of gangs and navigating the care and criminal justice system. He’s worked with a leading children’s charity helping young people on the cusp of organised crime and with the ‘Violence Reduction Unit’ in Glasgow, mentoring young men and woman seeking to alter their lives. James advocates for change and awareness in how we address the hidden cost of untreated trauma in our communities.

Matthew Sweet is author and a columnist for Art Quarterly and Newsweek and presents Free Thinking and Sound of Cinema on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher’s Arms on BBC Radio 4.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Monday 5 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Monday 19 February.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2018