Lisa Mckenzie is a working class academic currently working in the Department of Sociology at Durham University, her work focuses upon on issues of social and class inequality. Her work builds upon the narratives of working class communities collected through political ethnographic research. Lisa brings an unusual and innovative approach to research as an activist and by means of her extensive experience of bringing the academic world and local community together. Her most recent book is Getting By: Estates Class and Culture in Austerity Britain (2015) and her new book Class Cleansing: Grieving for London was published in 2019.
Adam is Director of Research in the Institute of Impact Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University. Adam’s research interests include funds of identity/knowledge, international schooling, and teachers’ lived experiences in Chinese Internationalized Schools. Before moving into academia, Adam taught English in a number of international schools in Shanghai.
I am currently a Reader in Cultural Sociology (and sometimes WEA tutor) at the University of Nottingham. I have been an academic for over 30 years and I am currently working on issues related to class identity and history. I view myself as part of a fortunate generation of working-class people who were able to go to university as mature students and receive full grants. As someone who started life as a card board box crusher from Derby; I am very aware what a life in higher education has given someone of my class and background. I have always been able to work on questions that have interested me, but I am now conscious this is now much more difficult in the contemporary neoliberal university. The social support that was available for working-class academics is no longer there and now I am fairly sure I would have become a school teacher. The major transformation in this respect has been loss of the working-class movement that acted as both as a pedagogic and structural force that worked for the common good. However attending the conference last year gave me a strong sense that the struggle for an educated life by working-class people is far from over and I look forward to discussing this further at the conference.
Michael Hepworth is a Senior Lecturer in TESOL and Education at the University of Sunderland. He is also an Associate Lecturer at the Open University. Before this, he worked as a Teaching Fellow in TESOL at the University of Leeds, where he completed his PhD on Spoken Argumentation in the Adult ESOL classroom. His research interests are in argumentation and in radical/critical pedagogies and he has published on Argumentation and Citizenship in the Adult ESOL classroom (2019) and Debating neoliberalism in the language education of adult migrants (2021, forthcoming). He is an experienced ESOL teacher and teacher educator and has worked as an English teacher in state comprehensive schools.
Alex Dunedin is an independent reader who is interested in the development of methods and means of education which are resilient to appropriation by financial compulsions and cults of status. Focuses of research include dehumanization psychology, group behaviour, and autopoiesis of systems.
Aidan Teplitzky is a composer and doctoral researcher from a working-class background. Aidan is exploring the creative potential of embodying working-classness in new interdisciplinary music compositions at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Dr Michael Wolters and Joe Cutler. Having worked with organisations including the Psappha Ensemble, the Glasgow Barons Orchestra, and the BBC SSO, Aidan’s practice explores the relationships between individuals and larger society and how we establish our identities. Aidan graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a First-Class Honours degree and the winner of the Patrons Fund Prize (Royal College of Music) in Composition in 2018 and the Craig Armstrong Prize for 2018/19 while studying with Dr Gordon McPherson. He is the recipient of several Dewar Arts Awards, two SIET trusts, a Cross Trust bursary and a Silver Medal from the Musicians’ Company. Aidan is also the presenter of the What Is Your Working Class? podcast, a new podcast exploring the variety that exists in working-classness.
I live in Burnley, Lancashire. Military Veteran and Dad.
I came into film-making through taking my BSc in Media Production. I took a module which explored Documentaries and from this found a calling of wanting to tell hidden stories about people and places. My portfolio involves thematic work in Inclusion, specifically in hidden disabilities. It is an area that I am passionate about and aim to raise awareness through film and media.
I have over 10 years of experience in the field of Psychology, Coaching and Mentoring. I like to explore the purpose and direction in clients lives, focus on values and help them determine how much they are living in alignment. Spiritual development is a core part of the work I do with individuals and couples. My work with couples is focusing on building connection, improving communication and exploring ways of reaching common ground to build a positive future together. When clients marry up their different areas of their lives with their values they live a more harmonious life full of vitality.
Eileen Mary Fitzgerald
Failed my 11 plus and couldn’t wait to escape secondary modern. Like many other girls, I only learned to know what I didn’t want. Later I discovered real education, and that nuts just like me populated Arts departments in Universities. Haven’t looked back except to guide other nuts here.
Ben Hickman is Senior Lecturer in Modern Poetry at the University of Kent, and Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry, having studied at University College, London and the University of Kent. Recent publications include John Ashbery and English Poetry (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and Poetry and Real Politics: Crisis and the US Avant-Garde (2015), also with EUP. His Art, Labour and American Life will be published with Palgrave in 2022.
Maria Impedovo is an Associate Professor at the Aix-Marseille University, France. Originally from the South of Italy. She holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Psychology. She currently teaches at the School of Education. Her research interests sit at the intersections of identity and professional development, learning, and the use of technology for individual and collective empowerment.
Becka White works as Engagement Officer (“professional services staff” = admin) at LSE’s Department of Gender Studies, and also at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat in London. She also volunteers as a Schools Speaker at Amnesty. Before that, she spent many years subtitling live news on TV. Becka is a loud, proud feminist and mum to two young critical thinkers. Language is her first true (non-human) love. Becka lives in south-east London, down the road from where she grew up.
Clive Trusson is a lecturer in the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University. At 18 he was told by his Grammar School that going to university was not for him. In his forties he embarked on a PhD and now in his mid-fifties his experience of being an academic remains that of the outsider acutely sensitive to issues of (self-)respect/ dignity.
Dr Anastasia Christou is Associate Professor of Sociology at Middlesex University, London and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Anastasia is a long-term committed academic activist, trade unionist, feminist and anti-racist. As an interdisciplinary critical scholar her work is fully immersed in the humanities, social sciences and the arts in the pursuit of a public sociology which is relevant, meaningful and impactful.
Anastasia extensively researches, publishes and teaches on issues of identity, emotion, inequality, intersectionality, ethics, decolonial and feminist pedagogies, social justice and exclusions as regards gender, class, sexuality, race and ethnicity in migrant, minority, youth and ageing groups, and, has engaged in multi-sited, multi-method and comparative ethnographic research in the United States, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, France, Iceland and Switzerland. As a writer and editor Anastasia works across disciplines, geographies and cultures conducting empirical field research and extensively theorizes from her findings. Anastasia’s research has been published with University presses (Harvard University Press; Amsterdam University Press), as well as in international journals and she has edited a number of book volumes and special issues, while her recent poetry appears in the Feminist Review and forthcoming in the International Human Rights Art Festival and Menelique.
Jamie Holman is an artist, director of Prism Contemporary in Blackburn, a non-executive director of the National Festival of Making and is currently associate artist for The British Textile Biennial 2021.
Holman leads Fine Art at Blackburn College, and lives in Lancaster, working from a studio in Blackburn. Holman’s practice is often collaborative and challenges existing notions of heritage, craft and contemporary fine art practice, interrogating these propositions through the lens of class. Holman’s research proposes the emergence of cultures through the exploration of topics and movements including youth subcultures, trade unions, folklore, activism, mill workers, football, magick, labour and poetry. His work explores the impact of ‘Uncultured Creativity’ on the mainstream heritage of this country, and locates these shared identities as ‘Future Folklore.’
Holman was artist in residence for the British Textile Biennial 2019 and has exhibited and published research internationally.
Tina Marie Bebbington
Tina is the History Librarian at the University of Victoria.
Jessica is also the creator and producer of Calgary’s first BIPOC magazine called Star Roots (starroots.net). Ultimately, Jessica’s work aims to democratize knowledge and create inclusive and accessible cities for all.
Charity Slobod is the Community Connect Lead and Professional Development Coordinator for the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Alberta. For more than ten years, she has worked in the field of community outreach and engagement with a particular focus on supporting graduate students in developing effective strategies for sharing their research with non-specialist audiences. Although that’s her professional scope, she cares deeply about collaborating with others to make profound societal change. Being involved in several community initiatives, her own experience with poverty keeps her drive never ceasing.
Budd Hall is Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility In Higher Education and Professor Emeritus, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria (Canada). Budd is a pioneer in the field of participatory action research and has 40+ years’ experience in community-based research. He is world-renowned for his advocacy and activism in advancing equality and equity in higher education for marginalized students. He has spent his career working with vulnerable populations in Canada and around the world. Budd is actively engaged in decolonializing open source and open access scholarship, knowledge mobilization and knowledge democracy/equity. Budd is also a poet and addresses systemic injustice through all forms of poetry. Follow Budd on Twitter @buddhall
Megan Holly Burns
Amy is an activist, feminist and sort of historian. She recently finished her MA at Birkbeck and is pursuing ways to share her research on working class history and writing of the 1970s and 80s. Amy is the programme manager of Newingtom Green Meeting House: Revolutionary Ideas since 1708 and is co-founder of public engagement agency Dig Yourself.
Lynn Arner is an associate professor of English at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. Her first book, Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: The Problem of the Populace after 1381, focused on socioeconomic struggles in the aftermath of the English Rising of 1381. She is currently working on her second book, a study of class, race, and gender in the professoriat in the discipline of English in Canada and the US. She has published many articles on late medieval English literature and several on working-class women in academe. Her latest article is “Degrees of Separation: Hiring Patterns and First-Generation University Students with English Doctorates in Canada,” Minnesota Review 96 (May 2021): 101-134.
Wayne Reid is a Professional Officer, Social Worker and Anti-racism Visionary for BASW England and lives in Sheffield. Wayne qualified as a Social Worker in 2010, but the entirety of his social care experience spans nearly 20 years. He has worked in: private fostering; the Probation Service; youth offending; adult mental health; child protection and with care leavers.
Wayne’s career reflects his dedication to supporting vulnerable members of society, working with diverse professionals from across all sectors to improve service standards and meet holistic needs. Wayne’s wide-ranging career has enabled him to understand the dynamic contextual factors that affect the strategic planning, implementation and review of effective Social Work services and the direct impact this has on service-users, practitioners and the public. Wayne has knowledge, experience and skills in: supporting/supervising service-users and staff; working with professionals and stakeholders from various professional backgrounds; building/maintaining collaborative strategic networks; evaluating complex outcomes and implementing new innovations.
As a black male Social Worker, Wayne understands some of the challenges that service-users and practitioners from different minority groups can face. From his experience, Wayne believes academic and ‘life education’ are essential to improve an individual’s quality of life and life chances. Wayne adds: “Social Work is a vital multi-faceted international service that: coordinates support for the most vulnerable people in society; assesses and manages risk; addresses problematic behaviours and relationships; champions equality and social justice; optimises service-users’ strengths, promotes human decency and creates meaningful opportunities for social mobility”.
Kaidong is a current PhD student in Sociology at the University of Manchester. His doctoral research focuses on the experiences and perceptions of working-class students across generations. Before starting his PhD, he studied Sociology at the University of Leicester. His research interests include social class, social inequality, social mobility, education, and life course.
John P Egan
Working-class, single mum, currently juggling 3 kids, a part-time PhD, and precarity in academia through sessional and fixed term short contracts (and now the benefit system as one of the ‘underserving poor’ who gets capped)! Born to an Irish mother and Italian father, grew up in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk (known as one of the left-behind coastal regions), graduated in social studies in the 1990s from the University of Newcastle as a ‘mature’ student (aged 23) and now attempting a PhD as a ‘very mature’ student at the University of Reading. Interested in the mechanisms of class making, researching how perceptions of higher education amongst working-class mothers are constructed, and subsequently exploring tensions in widening participation (as while promoting HE access, actually serves to reinforce and reproduce class inequalities throughout the student lifecycle and beyond). Up for a bit of ‘class war’ by challenging deficit discourses of working-class lives, deconstructing knowledge production, and confronting what, and by extension who, is valued today.
Lucy is a teacher educator in a North West widening participation college. Having been a teacher of fashion and textiles in FE for 20 years, she is now embarking on a postqualitative journey through her Educational Doctorate. Using creative methods, such as visual matrix and diffractive analysis through stitch, she is exploring the experiences of working class trainee teachers.
Lee Crookes is a University Teacher in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield where he teaches on urban planning, community development and public health. Committed to the notion of the civic university and the mobilisation of university resources in support of local people, he is a Co-Director of the University’s Engaged Learning Network, which works to support staff and students who work on collaborative projects with local organisations and communities. He is committed to advancing working class epistemologies, cultures and ways of being in his institution and beyond and, wherever possible, he strives to disrupt the pompousness and elitism of certain academic practices, language and behaviours. Lee continues to suffer from episodic feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’ and frequently struggles to pronounce the surnames of a wide range of French social philosophers, whilst also experiencing difficulties with advanced cutlery settings (despite his Sheffield heritage) and he looks forward to a HE sector where he works alongside more people who share his outlook, accent and sense of humour and who aren’t averse to straight-talking and taking the piss, where necessary.
Currently studying for a BA honours Education studies degree and a trained member of the Smiles mentoring project. I aspire to become a lecturer within the education studies spectrum. One of my most significant achievements is returning to education to change my career. I have a Diploma in teaching, with the view to passing my Honours degree and doing a Masters. I played rugby at a high level and volunteer as a coach for younger children’s development teams. I advocate being positive, have enthusiasm and passion for everything I do. As a mentor, most importantly, I value every person for who they are. I am empathetic, understanding and offer support and advice through knowledge and experience. I am a first-generation student, also a father. With hard work, life skills and knowledge my goals can be achieved.
A wearer of many hats, Senior Lecturer, Doctoral Student, Mum of boys and a pooch (Four boys nonetheless)! Fortunately I love adventure, trying something new every day, and re-discovering where I am after getting very lost!
I am a senior lecturer and course leader of Education Studies at the University of East London, where I have now taught within the department for nine years. UEL is also where I studied my undergraduate degree.
After working within the Education Sector for fifteen years, my curiosity hasn’t peaked yet. As a sociologist, my keen research interests are within lived experiences within education, and spatial geographies. As a naturally rebellious person, I often question my role in academia, especially after spending many teenage years fighting against an elitist system; a worthy journey is not always the most conventional one.
My name is Joanne McLeod, and I am 54 years old. I have just completed my final year of an undergraduate degree in Education Studies at the University of East London. I have an offer of a place at Goldsmiths to study a postgraduate degree in Education: Culture, Language and Identity. I am planning to eventually teach within the HE sector.
Lisa (she/her) is a working-class, emerging early careers academic and is an Education and Early Childhood Studies Lecturer at the University of East London. Lisa entered HE as a mature, single parent to two children who had no expectations of ever teaching in HE, until embarking on the transformational journey of critical education as an undergraduate at the University of East London. She is a practising critical pedagogue with a strong focus in Freirean pedagogy, social justice and educational equity.
Jodie is from West Cumbria and is a first year NWCDTP funded PhD student in English at Lancaster University. Her project focuses on four landmark events in British history that have been subject to an institutional silencing and an ‘organised forgetting’, arguing that testimonial poetry has the political agency to reconstruct the social imaginary. Prior to this, Jodie studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, and worked for two years in Widening Participation in schools, colleges and communities in West Cumbria.
Teresa is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Bangor University. She’s not the typical academic as she still lives on a council estate and her family biography includes poverty, the ‘dole’, low paid employment and various social problems. She recently published a book ‘Higher Education and Working-Class Academics Precarity and Diversity in Academia’, written because she wanted her students to know that not every academic is posh.
I’m a PhD student at UCL researching methods for documenting and archiving UK DIY music communities. I’m also a cultural organiser, musician and zine maker.
Lucy Brownson is a PhD researcher working collaboratively with the University of Sheffield and the Chatsworth House Trust, where she explores the labour history of archival practices and social reproduction. She is an archivist and an organiser of Sheffield Feminist Archive, a community archive documenting voices and stories of grassroots feminism across Sheffield.
Scott Downham is a doctoral researcher in political communication at Royal Holloway, University of London. Research interests centre political communication and journalism, especially digital/social media, media representation, the media system and political socialisation. He has worked at The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence (AI), training AI to detect online hate speech and misinformation. Scott has degrees in BA Journalism with English Language, MRes Sociology, plus professional NCTJ Journalism qualifications, from the University of Portsmouth. He also has two years’ experience in industry as a gaming journalist.
Sharon Clancy is Assistant Professor in educational leadership at the University of Nottingham. Her writing focuses on adult education, class, culture and social justice issues. Her PhD, completed in 2017, was a case study of a historic short-term adult residential college within its political and societal context. Sharon was Head of Community Engagement at the University of Nottingham between 2007 and 2013. A voluntary sector leader before entering academia, she was previously CEO of Mansfield Council for Voluntary Services. She is a singer in a band and a painter when not staring at her PC!
I am a first-generation university graduate from a working-class family in South Yorkshire. Having attended university of York I went into teaching. Following a successful career in which ended as a deputy headteacher, I left school leadership in 2015 I gained a part time post in an FE college teaching adult on an Access to HE programmes. I had not taught adults before and had no previous experience of working in FE or teaching on this particular programme: all my teaching experience was A level teaching and young adults. This teaching experienced re awakened my own working-class identity and the cultural dissonance I experienced in moving away to university in the early 80s.
My research stems from my work with this group of adult women I encountered in my FE classroom. Working class women who had often left school with few formal qualifications, and who were looking to get a “proper job” that would make “a difference” to others, and their family. In discussions around selecting their universities we began to consider identity, fitting in and belonging to university. They were highly critical or hid behind practical problems associated with studying at the local red brick university. Through the use of narrative inquiry I reflect on 5 case studies of self-described “ordinary” working class women from 3 FE and 3 HE institutions. Their stories offer some insights into
- the practical and institutional actions that would encourage greater participation, and feelings of belonging.
- The social and employment networks that facilitated their success.
- Their individual habitus and continued parental expectations which continue to haunt their identities into their 30s and 40s.
- The part played by the working class academic in being a guide and navigator in the complex and often exclusionary academic environments.
Rachel Boyd is an upcoming graduate of the University of St Andrews’ MLitt in History of Photography (2021). Her research on photographer Margaret Fay Shaw (2019) was conducted in partnership with the Morton Photography Project at the National Trust for Scotland, where she volunteered as a Digitisation and Documentation Intern. Her thesis focusses on the intersection between photography and radio in expanding notions of community through mutual and embodied practices. She is acting research assistant for Logie 100, a Dundee-based project celebrating the delayed centenary of Scotland’s first council housing, and for the Borders-based charity Streets Ahead. She approaches housing and its storied narratives from multiple vantage points, but with individual experience at its core.
Professor Maria Fusco is Chair of Interdisciplinary Writing at the University of Dundee. An award-winning Belfast born writer, she works across fiction, performance and theoretical writing, and is translated into twelve languages. Her latest books are Give Up Art (2018), collected critical writing, of which Lisa Robertson has said “Fusco’s scintillating mobility invites us to savour a new kind of critical empathy” and Legend of the Necessary Dreamer (2017) an ambient novella described by Chris Kraus as “a new classic of female philosophical writing”. Recent performance works include ECZEMA! (2018) commissioned by National Theatre Wales to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and Master Rock, performed inside a granite mountain commissioned by Artangel and BBC Radio 4. mariafusco.net
Sean Edwards, born in Cardiff 1980, graduated with an MA from the Slade School of Art in 2005, and is currently Programme Director for Fine Art & Photography at Cardiff School of Art and Design. Sean’s work investigates the sculptural and political potential of the everyday, often using remnants and fragments of previous activities as a starting point. In many of the works there is a sense of objects being in-progress, indeterminate and open to change. The work intertwines simple sculptural objects, mixed media installations and audio visual components with personal family and political histories. Edwards was recently awarded the 2020 Turner Prize Bursary for his installation Undo Things Done for the Welsh Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, which addressed austerity, class, shame and loss.
PhotoCredit: Photograph by Jamie Woodley
Roy Claire Potter
Roy Claire Potter works between performance and experimental writing to think through the production of subtext in speaker-listener interactions, which they extended to readerly encounters with a page. The operation of interpersonal violence is a prevalent theme within their work, as are the motifs of domestic sound, bodily comportment, spatial and group dynamics. Potter’s live and published work is influenced by linguistic theory and is iteratively constructed over long periods of production and modal translation through acts of writing, reading, and speaking. Recent commissions by Reduced Listening for BBC Radio3 (2020) and by Tate Britain and Tate Publishing (2019).
Honor Gavin is queer transmasculine writer from Birmingham. Their work moves between fiction, theory, and forms of creative criticism. Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins in 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize. Co-edited with Adam Kaasa, Uncommon Building: Collective Excavation of a Fictional Structure (Spirit Duplicator, 2017) documents a collaborative exercise in speculative fiction as a means for imagining the urban. Their short story, ‘Home Death’, was longlisted for the 2019/20 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize and they currently teach in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester.
Sarah Madoka Currie
Sarah Madoka Currie is a doctoral student of the University of Waterloo, Canada, interested in the intersectionalities and deconstructive potential of higher education pedagogical strategies & sociocultural theorizations of psychiatric survivors via the North American Mad Movement. Through compassionate interactionism and leveraging of social determinants and other humanities-bent formulations of postmodern healthcare policy, sarah envisions a professoriate that seeks to enact and normalize everyday activism beyond the traditional dis/ability paradigm. She has spoken on compassionate/empathic potentialities and postcolonial theorycrafting in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Mosaic; in addition to regular multilingual conference events in Japan, France, UK, America, Canada, India and Wales.
Jasmine Jade Plumpton
Kevin Judge is a PhD student at University of Stirling researching sociological approaches to leisure and play. Previously, I worked in the motor trade as a mechanic for 13 years until I learned of an access course and became the first in my family to go to university. I use these life experiences, and other indiscretions, to reflect upon and understand concepts, ideas, and theories. I have studied at Abertay University and University of Dundee, and I hope that my efforts and work contribute to a better future.