Under the auspices of the Franco-British Collaborative Workshop Scheme, jointly established by the AHRC, ESRC, CNRS and Ministere de l’enseignement Superieur et de la Recherche, a number of workshops were conducted bringing together French and British academics. The purpose of the workshops was to discuss the recent riots in the French banlieues and corresponding riots in former textile towns of northern England in mid-2001. The series allows participants to exchange relevant ideas and experiences with the aim of enhancing knowledge, informing social policy and instigating future research projects. A core group of eight British and eight French academics were joined by specially invited subject matter experts including; academic specialists engaged in relevant research in Germany and Holland; police officers with direct experience of the riots; and practitioners responsible for formulating and implementing social policy in the aftermath of the British riots. The workshops stimulated much debate and have provided positive outcomes, serving to contribute new knowledge and a greater understanding of the social complexities which give rise to civil unrest.