18th-19th August 2022, Manchester

Deadline for proposals: 18 March 2022

This conference is designed to expand on the remit of this project and to discuss and reflect upon a wider range of cultural activities engaged in by industrial workers – for example, as dramatists and theatre-goers, as musicians and composers, as artists and visitors to exhibitions and galleries – as well as considering the state of critical work in this field and new directions for research. ‘Piston, Pen & Press’ focuses primarily on Scotland and the North of England: we are also interested in papers which consider literary and other productions in Britain more widely, and in papers which connect British cultural productions to those of international industrial workers, in order to make transnational or transcultural comparisons. 

Given the project’s connections with industrial heritage museums and archives, we additionally seek to explore the ways in which creative, cultural and artistic activity by workers is, or could be, included in museum holdings, and used to engage twenty-first century audiences and communities. We therefore welcome proposals from museum, library and heritage professionals and from creative practitioners, as well as from academic and independent researchers.

The conference will have three main themes:

  • Reflection – we wish to reflect on the current state of the field and identifying future areas of research.
  • Expansion – we wish to explore working-class cultural production and engagement beyond the printed page e.g. art, music, photography, drama.
  • Engagement – we wish to explore the role of working-class cultural productions in the creative and heritage sectors.
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