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Class and Labour

Researchers in the department are engaged in a rich strand of research and impact activities that centre on issues of class politics and social and economic inequality.

We also explore the relationship between cultural practice and methodologies of resistance. This involves collaborations with trade unions and other activists and community organisers; devised and scripted political performances; historical and archival explorations of working-class culture; ethnographic explorations of working-class spaces; and mapping the intersections between race, class and gender in contemporary and historical performances. Other work, such as Schaefer’s involvement with acta theatre, involves excavation of long histories of working-class experience throughout the life course.

Partner organisations and collaborators have included COMMON, The Working Class Artists’ Group, acta Community Theatre, the General Federation of Trade Unions, Art Not Oil, BP or Not BP, Brandalism, Banner Theatre, Brighton People’s Theatre, Commoners Choir, Culture Unstained, Manchester People’s History Museum, The Working Class Movement Library, Queer Tours London, the Radical Film Network, Red Ladder, Reel News, Salford Community Theatre, TerrorBull Games, Theatre Uncut, Townsend Productions, Future’s Venture Foundation, Slung Low, and The Battersea Arts Centre.

Staff are currently developing projects to investigate class and unionisation on the British stage, the representation of working class women, and hip hop theatre.

The art of trade unions: building an arts network for labour movement activists in the 21st century’, with Banner Theatre, Townsend Productions, Reel News and trade union partners Rebecca Hillman
Social Housing in Performance: The English council estate on and off stage (London:Bloomsbury, 2019). Katie Beswick

Political organising; historical and contemporary performance; race and intersectional politics; cultures of the left; community organising; trade unions; gender and identity; theatre in the labour movement; class and representation; working class theatre; social and economic inequality in the creative industries; activism; political theatre; Practice Research; socialism; post-capitalist politics, assets-based community organising, community cultural development (radical welfare).