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Lisa McKenzie

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.

Photograph of Lisa McKenzie

Fraser Mycroft

I’m a Social Anthropology graduate and Yorkshire exile living in beautiful Edinburgh, where I’ve never felt more working-class. I’m here today with friends from the Solidarity Space, a fortnightly online Thinking Environment where we come together as working-class thinkers to rant, cry, laugh and make sense of a world which seems to disrespect our strengths on a daily basis. 
Our ‘presentation’ is a demonstration of Solidarity Space, as authentic as we can make it in front of 200 people! We are focusing on how the discipline of the space has helped us connect with our own working-class voice, through lockdown and beyond. We hope to inspire many people watching to set up their own Solidarity Space. 
Photograph of Fraser Mycroft

Jacqui Brewster

I work as a lecturer in nursing at Sheffield Hallam university having followed nurse education from Schools of Nursing to the dizzy heights of university education. I’m passionate about making nursing education accessible for all and believe strongly that nursing has an important role to play in addressing social inequalities in health. My first role in education was as an in-service trainer for care workers who were mainly older working-class women re-entering the world of paid work after raising their children or ex miners having to start a whole new career following the closure of the South Yorkshire coalfields. As the daughter of a pit driver and care worker it was a bit like teaching Mum and Dad!

My own experience of education has a powerful impact on my approach to teaching and learning. At school I was written off very early as being ‘remedial’ or in common South Yorkshire parlance, a ‘duggie’. It took me years to prove that I had any academic ability and I still live daily with imposter syndrome. The experience led me to become a learning disability nurse because I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone being written off, and then into nurse education to help others into such an important profession. My presentation will explore the barriers and enablers to nurse education for working class people.

Photograph of Jacqui Brewster

Amanda Price

I am an offender education specialist. I have been Head of Education and worked for many years in the private sector as a trainer/educator. I am currently completing her Masters im Education, Power and Social Change at Birkbeck University.
With my friend and fellow Chai Conversations contributor Pam Prior, I  recently formed CST Northamptonshire, supporting education in the community. Social purpose education is at the heart of everything for me. Having worked with students who have been told their whole lives that they will not achieve, is what drives me to support others just like me!
I’m a mother to 6 grown children and 3 grandchildren, left school with no qualifications and was told that I would never amount to much. My presentation is about what happens when I speak out. It is the drive, determination and enthusiasm to prove the whole world wrong which brings me and Pam together. Our motto in life is, “If I can do it, anyone can!”
Photograph of Amanda Price

Pamela Dale

Pam is proud to be the first person in her family to graduate and dip her toes, somewhat tentatively, into the world of academia.  She is an educator, wife, mother, grandma, friend and proud working class woman.  Her parents hail from Waterford in Southern Ireland, but migrated and settled in the picturesque village of Holmfirth in the 1960s.  She found it difficult being a little working class Irish/Yorkshire lass/colleen and so acceptance and belonging seemed to evade her as a small child and, for the most part, into adulthood.  Pam felt shame, loneliness and a sense of isolation.  However, the events and the people she has encountered over the last year have taught her that whilst belonging may well be about being part of something bigger than herself; it is also about having the courage to stand alone and to belong to herself above all else.

She no longer makes herself small and unseen; she now leans into her vulnerability and practices courage.

Photograph of Pamela Dale

Adam Poole

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.

Photograph of Adam Poole

Nick Stevenson

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.

Photograph of Nick Stevenson

Michael Hepworth

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.

Photograph of Michael Hepworth

Alex Dunedin

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.


Photograph of Alex Dunedin

Claire Sedgwick

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Jack Whatley

Jack Whatley is studying for his PhD in Philosophy and Religion at Bangor University, Wales, UK. His focus is primarily upon allegory and applied ethics, using the lens of fantasy to explore ethical issues which present themselves. He has presented his model of argument and papers on various permutations of applied ethics and eastern philosophy at several conferences before and has written several articles and papers as part of this, during both his MRes and BA in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics.

Outside academia, Jack is an accomplished game master of several TTRPGs, and has multiple long-running games under his belt, making a point to understand and explore the morality, mechanics, and philosophy of each.

Photograph of Jack Whatley

Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith began his teaching career began in 1989 and he still works with young people in schools on Merseyside, most notably All Saints High School in Kirkby. His work is driven by the mission to help both adults and young people to be more open to learning.  Andy has consulted for BBC Education and written and led projects with Comic Relief.  He is best known as the creator of the Outstanding Teaching Intervention (OTI) programme which has twice been recognised in the prestigious TES Awards. The OTI programme is now an international franchise involving over thirty quality-assured trainers, its content based around his two best-selling education books, Engaging Learners and Teaching Backwards. Andy has been a prolific trainer in the past 20 years where he has developed an excellent reputation for delivering excellent, incisive and memorable training courses.

In recent years Andy has helped a number of businesses and other organisations to raise the morale and performance of their staff.  He has written about this in his latest book, The Learning Imperative (Business Book of the Year Award in 2019) which spawned the training course Leading for Excellence.

Andy has started podcasting under the title of CommuniTEA Talks, interviewing community activists who are harnessing the spirit of co-operation, fighting for social justice and building excellence within their communities. He is also director of the community interest company, Dramatic Recovery which is at the vanguard of the social prescribing movement – using drama and performance to support people with mental health challenges some of whom have been referred through their GPs.

Twitter: @Oteaching  @Dramaticrecover

Photograph of Andy Griffith

Aidan Teplitzky

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.

Photograph of Aidan Teplitzky

Sinead Blackledge

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Stacey Salt

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021


Mike Scott

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.

Photograph of Mike Scott

Aamna Khokhar

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.

Photograph of Aamna Khokhar

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.

Photograph of Eileen Fitzgerald

Sorca McDonnell

I am a lecturer in TU Dublin, teaching on the Early childhood education and Social Care Programmes.  I am also a student on the Doctorate in Higher and Adult Education, in the Adult and Community Education Department in Maynooth University.  My doctoral research is a co-operative exploration, and reflection on the experiences of working class women who have attended Higher Education (HE).  As an insider in this research I believe it is very important to do research ‘with’ and not ‘on’.

Previous to working in academia I worked for almost 20 years with children, families and communities in a number of different organisations.  Most of this work was based in working class communities in Dublin.  Being a researcher ‘with’ people is informed by working this way in projects and communities.

Photograph of Sorca McDonnell

Garry Nicholson

Garry Nicholson is an adult learning educator with lifelong aversion to rules. In the early 1980’s, from late January onwards, he spent Wednesday mornings in the school science cupboard poring over the pages of the NME. A score of 4% in his O level German mock deemed him as being a lost cause. Not that this mattered because the plan was either an apprenticeship at the local carriage works or printers. With some disbelief, thirty-six years later he finds himself in the latter stages of a long and fulfilling teaching career. He is currently undertaking a postgraduate research degree with Sunderland University that asks ‘Does Bildung have a place in English adult education?’ Focus areas of his research include pedagogical praxis in the Danish folk high schools and educators’ professional phronesis. He believes that neo-liberalism has led to an overemphasis on developing economic capital and that education should be person-centred and holistic in its approach.

Photograph of Garry Nicholson

Julie Devon

Julie Devon is a Creative Wellbeing Practitioner-Facilitator, bringing lived experiences of disability, Neurodiversity, grief and working class, into working within community/educational settings. Using traditional arts, crafts and writing to gently encourage creativity for sustainable wellbeing. Passionate about supporting people to unlock their positive wellbeing potential through art, whilst empathetic to others, using creativity and learning as coping and self-management tools for herself, as well as seeing its potential for others. Current practice through online workshops.

Julie has a BA in Education, with Community Engagement and an MA in Design. Having exhibited work through her Design Degree show and in a 2019 group show exploring themes of grief and loss at Sunderland Museum. Although currently a PhD candidate researching the narrative between personal voice, nature, and health; currently looking to focus on own health, art, skills and how to move forward after piloting ideas.

During lockdown, having co-authored a piece of creative writing titled ‘Lemon in the Elephants’ Eye’ about experiences within Covid. Alongside this, was commissioned by Teesside University Wellbeing department to run creative writing for wellbeing workshops, having also supported workshops since 2019, as a Peer Mentor/Researcher with the Psychology department, supporting individuals with long-term conditions through online creative sessions and chair yoga. Julie has previously worked in partnership with many organisations in County Durham, delivering creative wellbeing workshops over the past decade. In addition, furthering own creative practice through Helix Arts’ ‘Make it Happen’ project.

Over the past year, Julie has taken online CPD courses to further skills and feels better equipped to move forward, requiring valuable time to: build and reflect on skills learnt, find areas which need development and look thoroughly at how she can make a more sustainable creative role.

Photograph of Julie Devon

Richard Hudson-Miles

Richard Hudson-Miles is an artist and researcher based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He holds a PhD from Kingston School of Art which focused on the occupation of L’École des beaux-arts, Paris, 1968. He also has an MA in the Social History of Art from the University of Leeds and a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art from Manchester School of Art. He is an expert in the aesthetic and pedagogic thought of Jacques Rancière and will shortly be publishing an introduction to his work for Routledge. In addition, he is a member of the artists’ collective (, and has published widely on the politics and philosophy of art education. He is currently precariously employed across various neoliberal art schools. profile:


Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Ben Hickman

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.

Photograph of Ben Hickman

Ben Campbell

I’m a  Clinical Psychologist working in Oncology and Critical Care. I trained at Liverpool and have an interest in physical health, trauma and health inequalities. I developed #classclinpsych with Dr Will Curvis – we wanted to create a safe, validating space to discuss what its like navigating a career in Psychology, where class and “not fitting in” was not openly discussed. Since our first webinars at the start of 2020, I’m really pleased our group has grown, expanded into new areas and conversations feel like they are opening up.
Photograph of Ben Campbell

Amy Goddard

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Liz Henshaw

I’m Liz, I’ve lived in mid-wales for the last 17 years but am originally from Widnes. I currently work as an Assistant psychologist in an Older Adult Psychology Service in Powys. I like to try and get out and about and biked 3000 miles across South East Asia in 3 months … for fun.

Photograph of Liz Henshaw

Celine Brookes-Smith

Celine is a PhD student at Coventry University and is working on developing and evaluating digital interventions to support the positive mental health and self-conscious emotions of identified at-risk subsets of students. Alongside psychological wellbeing, Celine’s other interests include social, educational and health equity, and she has been part of ClassClinPsych since September 2020.

Photograph of Celine Brookes-Smith

Maria Impedovo

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.

Photograph of Maria Impedovo

Shona Smith

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Lisa Kelly

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Becka White

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.

In June 2021 she was selected to be part of A Writing Chance – a programme for under-represented writers in the UK funded by Michael Sheen and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Photograph of Becka White

Clive Trusson

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.

Photograph of Clive Trusson

Anastasia Christou

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.

Photograph of Anastasia Christou

Jamie Holman

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.

Photograph of Jamie Holman

Tina Marie Bebbington

Tina Marie is a librarian extraordinaire at the University of Victoria specializing in history. Tina Marie is a brave and caring soul who is well known and deeply respected for her support of students from poverty- and working-class heritages. Tina Marie is creating a powerful collection of marginalized class-based knowledge with her library community.

Photograph of Tina Bebbington

Jes Annan

Jes focuses on hostile architecture in Canadian cities and how this impacts those without homes in the inner-city. Her MA thesis in sociology will be completed this August at the University of Victoria. Jes is the creator and producer of Calgary’s first BIPOC magazine Star Roots. Jes is a brilliant poet and storyteller who eats theory for breakfast.

Photograph of Jess Annan

Charity Slobod

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.

Photograph of Charity Slobod

Sarah Potts

Sarah is a single mom and City of Victoria Councillor. Sarah is an activist and advocate for addressing systemic housing precarity in Victoria and across Canada and against the colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist structures that perpetuate poverty. Recognizing the absence poverty- and working-class voices in the creation of the policies that shape our lives Sarah is dedicated to their inclusion at all decision making tables.
Photograph of Sarah Potts

Budd Hall

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

Photograph of Budd Hall

Megan Holly Burns

Megan Burns is a PhD researcher at Oxford Brookes University. Her project collects and examines twentieth-century working-class poetry from Glasgow’s Red Clydeside period. Prior to this, Megan studied at the Universities of Oxford and Glasgow. Her research interests include Glasgow’s literary tradition and contemporary working-class literature.

Photograph of Megan Burns

Amy Todd

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.

Image representing Amy Todd

Michelle Jamieson

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Lynn Arner

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.

Photograph of Lynn Arner

Valerie Walkerdine

Valerie Walkerdine is a working class academic and artist. For many years she struggled with being working class in the academy and didn’t know what else to do but try and write about it. She is thrilled that WCA now exists. She is currently Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales, UK and on the faculty of Transart, an artist-led international postgraduate creative studies programme. She has written many books and papers and is currently writing a book about class and neoliberalism, using material gathered in previous research projects from the 1970s to the 90s.

Photograph of Valerie Walkerdine

Wayne Reid

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”.

Photograph of Wayne Reid

Aimee Grant

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Lys Stone

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Kaidong Yu

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.

Photograph of Kaidong Yu

John P Egan

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Cecilia Muldoon

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.

Photograph of Cecilia Muldoon

Laura Bentley

Awaiting bio

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Rachael Goodwin

Rachael is a first-generation Professional Doctoral student at the University of Manchester, where she is training to become a Counselling Psychologist. Rachael’s own classed and gendered experiences have inspired her research, which explores issues of social class, gender, identity and wellbeing. Through her work as a Psychologist, Rachael is also trying to raise awareness of systemic issues around social class and wellbeing, which have been largely neglected in UK Psychology to-date. She is thrilled (and petrified) to be part of the conference, and still can’t quite believe she is actually doing this.

Photograph of Rachael Goodwin

Joanna Norton

I teach Academic Literacies and Cultural and Contextual Studies at an Arts University.  I am particularly interested in community education and develop bespoke creativity sessions for communities living with austerity.  I have developed two research-based apps (Keywords Geography & Keywords Biology) to support secondary students with the academic language of school.  I train teachers in the areas of vocabulary acquisition and applied creativity.  I am currently editing A Catalogue of Teaching Ideas, a multimodal resource by and for FE teachers working in HE to collate examples of best practice from the year that was. I am also an artist.  

Photograph of Joanna Norton

Lucy Harding

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.

Photograph of Lucy Harding

Lee Crookes

Lee Crookes is a University Teacher in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield where he teaches on topics related to 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 use humour and kindness to disrupt the arrogance 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 habitus, ethos, accent, sense of humour and an enduring appreciation of Sheffield United FC.

Photograph of Lee Crookes

Darren Bowles

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.

Photograph of Darren Bowles

Katie Ketcher

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.

Photograph of Katie Ketcher

Jo Mcleod

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.

Photograph of Jo Mcleod

Lisa Taylor

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.  

Photograph of Lisa Taylor

Jodie Pearce

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.

Photograph of Jodie Pearce

Teresa Crew

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.

Photograph of Teresa Crew

Murylo Batista

Originally from São Paulo, Murylo Batista, MSc CIP, is a social science
researcher trained at Dartmouth College and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Certified IRB Professional in the US. He founded an office of research ethics and regulatory compliance at a large public
health agency in Philadelphia, managing the board review process for sexual health, family services, criminal justice, and addictions treatment
clinical trials with marginalised groups. One of his main concerns is
redressing historical harms committed by researchers and preventing future harm through community-defined ethical oversight.

Photograph of Murylo Batista

Kirsty Fife

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.

Photograph of Kirsty Fife

Lucy Brownson

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.

Photograph of Lucy Brownson

Nenna Orie Chuku

Nenna Orie Chuku [she/her] is a PhD student in the Department of Information Studies at University College London. Her research explores information used to understand international migration and experiences of Sierra Leonean return migration.

Photograph of Nenna Orie Chuku

Sharon Clancy

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!

Photograph of Sharon Clancy

Cheryl Hedges

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.
Photograph of Cheryl Hedges

Rachel Boyd

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.

Photograph of Rachel Boyd

Joanna Neil

Joanna Neil is an artist, researcher and arts educator currently completing her PhD at the University of Glasgow. Making the invisible visible: creating spaces for reflexive artistic practices through digital autoethnography (nearly submitted!) intersects her interests in arts and reflective practice, arts pedagogy, and digital technologies. Her study provides evidence that digital autoethnography is a powerful strategy for dialogic and critical reflection that can exist as integrated and/or outside of the current structures of art and design education. Drawing is central to her practice, happily moving from pen to sewing machine to digital voice recorder and more recently to performance to explore this.  

Research blog:

Photograph of Joanna Neil

Maria Fusco

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.

Photograph of Maria Fusco

Sean Edwards

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

Photograph of Sean Edwards

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).

Image representing Roy Claire Potter

Honor Gavin

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.

Photograph of Honor Gavin

sarah madoka currie クリ窓花  [優先の名前]

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.

Photograph of Sarah Madoka Currie

Jasmine Jade Plumpton

My name is Jasmine and I’m a working-class poet from South Shields in the North East of England. I’m currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing, and my research looks at how working-class artists navigate class migration through their work, and how higher education shapes the ways engage with and feel about our working-class origins. I think it’s incredibly important that working-class academics overcome the institutional pressures to conceal our origins and present as middle-class–particularly for students, ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’– so the aims of this conference are very close to my heart.

Photograph of Jasmine Plumpton

Clare Bell

Clare Bell is a practicing designer, researcher and lecturer on the BA and MA Visual Communication course at the Dublin School of Creative Arts (TUDublin). A graduate of Central Saint Martins (BA Graphic Design), she worked for a number of years as an editorial designer at The Guardian newspaper working on design across the daily broadsheet, G2 features supplement, and Weekend magazine. Prior to this she was a senior designer at Radio Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). She is co-founder and co-programmer of the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM) research and practice seminar group Typography Ireland, co-founder, co-programmer and co-organiser of Face Forward International Typography Conference 2015, and a board member of the Association Typographique International (ATypI). She was co-organiser of ATypI’s annual conference (with Dr Mary Ann Bolger TUDublin) held in Dublin in 2010. A PhD candidate, her research is concerned with the social impact of visual communication, and alternative, inclusive and participatory modes of design and publication.

100 Archive:

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Nathan O’Donnell

Dr Nathan O’Donnell is a writer, researcher, and one of the co-editors of an Irish journal of contemporary art criticism, Paper Visual Art. He has led several public art projects and other participatory and educational initiatives; he has also edited and produced several project-based publications and zines.

His writing has appeared in magazines including The Dublin Review, gorse, 3: AM, The Manchester Review, Southword, The Tangerine, and Banshee (forthcoming), amongst others. A former winner of the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair, he has been awarded artist’s bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council, as well as artist’s commissions from IMMA, Dublin City Council, the Arts Council of Ireland, and South Dublin County Council. He has been a Research Fellow at IMMA since 2017 in relation to the IMMA Collection: Freud Project, and his first book, on Wyndham Lewis’s art criticism, is forthcoming from Liverpool University Press. He is currently Writer-in-residence at Maynooth University.

Keynotes & Speakers 2021

Kevin Judge

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.

Photograph of Kevin Judge

Antonia Darder

Antonia Darder has distinguished herself as an international Freirean scholar. She is a public intellectual, educator, writer, activist, cultural worker, and artist. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education at University of Johannesburg; and Professor Emerita of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She is an American Educational Research Association Fellow and recipient of the American Educational Research Association Scholars of Color Lifetime Contribution Award, as well as the Freire Social Justice Award. As a working class academic, Antonia has worked tirelessly for almost 40 years to fiercely counter social and material inequalities in schools and communities. Her scholarship has consistently focused on issues of racism, political economy, social justice, education and society. Through her award-winning writings, she has worked to extend the contributions of Paulo Freire and bring an anti-colonial reading of critical pedagogy to our understanding of inequalities in schools and society. Darder’s critical theory of human development consistently brings together questions of culture, power, and pedagogy. Through her decolonizing scholarship on the body, ethics, and methodology, she has contributed to rethinking questions of empowerment and liberation in the lives of racialized and working-class communities. Beyond her work as an organic intellectual, she is a poet, songwriter, and visual artist. Antonia’s current association with Banner Theatre in the UK brings together pedagogy, politics, and art to engage struggles of educators and other working people on the ground.

Photograph of Antonia Darder