22 RECORDING A CRISIS

Those most affected by COVID-19 are often unable to speak. Who else is not being heard or listened to? Historians and archivists consider what needs to be done.

ONLINE MEETING
TUESDAY 9 JUNE 6:30PM-8:30PM

Watch the recording and download the write-up.

HA22 Recording a crisis

ACTIVISTS

Paul Dudman – Living Refugee Archive
The Living Refugee Archive is based at the University of East London’s Library at Docklands, the home of the Refugee Council Archive for over a decade. It facilitates accessibility to archival resources on the refugee and forced migration experience.

Jen Hoyer & Nora Almeida – Interference Archive
The Interference Archive was founded in Brooklyn in 2011 and explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements. Its archival collection comprises cultural ephemera produced by and for social movements worldwide. It also produces publications and hosts a study centre and public programmes.

Fani Arampatzidou & Chris Jones – MayDay Rooms
The MayDay Rooms collect and preserve historical materials related to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups. Their current project Pandemic Notes works to build an archive around the Covid-19 crisis.

HISTORIANS

Dr Charlotte Clements is Senior Lecturer in History at London South Bank University. She specialises in youth, welfare and charity in Britain since 1945 and has worked on a British Academy project supporting charities and voluntary archives to preserve and use their archives.

Dr Andrew Flinn is Reader in Archival Studies and Oral History at University College London. His academic interests include documenting the activities of political movements and parties, particularly grassroots political activity and the use of history by political parties and activists.

21 PRISONS IN LOCKDOWN

How the pandemic has exacerbated existing appalling conditions in prisons and migrant detention centres, and how abolitionist and anti-prison expansion activists are adapting to socially distant forms of organising.

ONLINE MEETING
Tuesday 19 May 6:30PM – 8:30PM

Download the event’s write-up & watch the recording.

HA21 Prisons in lockdown – 19 May 2020

ACTIVISTS

Cambridgeshire Prisoner Detainee Solidarity is an abolitionist activist group standing in solidarity with those incarcerated in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre and the four Cambridgeshire prisons by campaigning for their safety and protection.

The Prisoner Solidarity Network is a group of people committed to dismantling the criminal justice system and building a society based on collective care. Our members include people inside and outside of prisons. Some of us are ex-prisoners and some are children, partners or friends of people inside.

HISTORIANS

Dr Ben Bethell, University of the Arts, London
Ben is an historian of penal theory, policy and practice. His publications include ‘An exception too far: “gentleman” convicts and the 1878-9 Penal Servitude Acts Commission’, and ‘Defining “unnatural crime”: sex and the English convict system, 1850-1900’.

Dr Katherine Roscoe, University of Liverpool
Katherine is a historical criminologist researching global mobilities, unfree labour and racial inequalities, with a particular focus on mid-nineteenth century crime and punishment in Britain and its former empire. Her current project focuses on the history of the Cockatoo Island convicts.

20 FIGHTING WITH DATA

How activists can use, resist or generate the data that is being deployed in this crisis

ONLINE MEETING
Tuesday 5 May 6:30PM – 8:30PM

HA20 Fighting with data – Tuesday 5 May

ACTIVISTS

Radical Statistics Group was formed in 1975 by researchers and statisticians with a common interest about the political implications of their work. Members are committed to helping build a more free, democratic and egalitarian society.

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a data-visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession and resistance upon gentrifying landscapes. The collective primarily works in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City.

HISTORIANS

Professor Oz Frankel is Associate Professor of History at the New School for Social Research, New York. His book States of Inquiry: Social Investigations and Print Culture in Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States explores the early roots of the modern informational states. 

Professor Edward Higgs is Professor of History at the University of Essex, UK. He has written widely on the history of censuses and surveys, civil registration, women’s work, the impact of the digital revolution on archives, the information state, and the history of identification.

Dr Guy Beckett is a historian of ideas. His research looks at the impact of nineeenth-century social statistics on governance and political debates. He recently completed his PhD and is a founder of History Acts.

ALSO CONTRIBUTING

Professor Zohreh Bayatrizi, University of Alberta, works on the history of sociology, knowledge and power, law and society, sociology of death and dying, sociological research & social policy.

Professor Tim Rowse, Western Sydney University, works on Australia’s colonial history, including the history of its official statistics, which he sees as a form of colonial knowledge.

19 THE WORK CRISIS

How can workers organise, resist & protect themselves during this pandemic

ONLINE MEETING
Tuesday 28 April 6:30pm – 8:30pm

CATCH UP

If you missed this session you can listen to the audio and read the write-up.

History Acts 19 – The Work Crisis

Download the write-up.

ACTIVISTS

SWARM – Sex Worker Advocacy & Resistance Movement is a collective founded and led by sex workers who believe in self-determination, solidarity and co-operation. They campaign for the rights and safety of everyone who sells sexual services. Together they organise skill-shares and support meet-ups just for sex workers, as well as public events. They are UK-based and part of the global sex worker-led movement advocating the full decriminalisation of sex work.

Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). The BFAWU has recently been organising the McDonalds strikes. During the crisis the union is campaigning for employers to top-up the wages of furloughed fast-food and hospitality workers to 100%. 

Henry Lopez, President, Independent Workers Union of Great Britain Union (IWGB). The IWGB is a small, independent trade union, whose members are predominantly low paid migrant workers in London. The union was founded in 2012. The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has waged a number of high profile campaigns such as the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London.

HISTORIANS  

Dr Erin Maglaque is an early modern historian at the University of Sheffield. She is currently at work on a new project on care work and the family in early modern Italy.

Dr Jack Saunders is a labour historian. His work looks at the history of work in the NHS and in the motor industry. He currently teaches twentieth-century British history at Kings College London.

18 Locked Down

Organising community support and mutual aid during pandemics

Online Meeting
Part 1 Thursday 2 April: 6:30pm-7:15pm
Part 2 Tuesday 7 April: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

CATCH UP

If you missed this session you can listen to the audio, and download the write-up.

History Acts 18, Parts 1 & 2

Download write up

ACTIVISTS

Seth WheelerLabour Transformed is a network for anti-capitalist Labour Party members organising for socialism. Recently, they set up the Virtual Social Centre, to bring together the different campaigns and initiatives emerging in response to the triple threat of Covid19, the financial crisis and authoritarian governance into one place.

Aviah Day founded the Hackney Covid-19 Mutual Aid group. She is an activist with Sisters Uncut, and a lecturer in Criminology at Birkbeck, University of London.

HISTORIANS

Dave Hitchcock is Senior Lecturer in History at Canterbury Christ Church University. He is interested in early modern social and cultural history, particularly of England, in poverty, mobility, and inequalities, and has taught on the Great Plague of London of 1665-1666.

Michael Bresalier is a lecturer in the History of Medicine, with expertise in the social, cultural, economic, and global dimensions of health and disease in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has researched and published on nineteenth and twentieth century British medical science and its institutions, specifically the role of bacteriology and virology in the modern state, military and empire. 

This is our first online History Acts workshop.

17 Culture Strikes

Tuesday 18 JUNE 6PM-8PM

BIRKBECK COLLEGE, ROOM 106,
43 Gordon Square, London WC1B 5DT.

ACTIVISTS

The World Transformed – Ben Beach is the arts coordinator for The World Transformed, the political conference organised by the grassroots Momentum group of the British Labour Party. Ben has a background in housing and urban struggles and an interest in constructing situations from the relationship between art, space and politics.

Tate Strike – Jack Jeans, Tate employee and Public & Commercial Services union organiser, was recently involved in organising the Tate Strike ballot.

HISTORIANS

Lucy McFadzean, Aberystwyth University, is a Phd Researcher looking at the cultural policies of the Greater London Council between 1981-6. She is interested in the ways grassroots, political and community centred cultural forms can be supported by state and other institutions.

Dr Gavin Grindon,University of Essex, recently co-curated The Occupation Museum in Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine, presenting a Palestinian-led narrative of the history and everyday experience of Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine. In 2015, he curatedThe Museum of Cruel Designs, at Banksy’s Dismalandin Westom-Super-Mare. His research focuses on twentieth century art, specifically activist-art and institutional critique and its futures. He is currently completing a book on the history of activist-art.

16 Police violence

Tuesday 21 MAY 6PM-8PM

Birkbeck College,  Room 103,
30 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DT.

ACTIVISTS

Kevin Blowe – co-ordinator of Netpol. The Network for Police Monitoring seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing, and to challenge and resist policing which is excessive, discriminatory or threatens civil rights. Netpol has built an inclusive network of activists, campaigners, lawyers and researchers to create a forum for sharing knowledge, experience and expertise. Through active campaigning, sharing knowledge and building awareness, Netpol aims to effectively challenge policing strategies which are unnecessarily damaging to any sector of our society.

Second group TBC

HISTORIANS

Jonah Miller is a research student at King’s College London. He recently published ‘The Touch of the State: Stop and Search in England, c.1660-1750’ in History Workshop Journal

Anja Johansen is a Senior Lecturer in History at Dundee University. Her research is focused on the relationship between police and the public in France, Germany and Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current research project “Quarrelsome Citizens: Emerging Police complaints Cultures in London, Paris and Berlin, 1880-1914” compares the ways in which individual citizens challenged police violence and malpractice. She is also interested in the development of civil liberties activism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how individual citizens sought to challenge public authorities – including the police and the judiciary. 

15: ANTI FASCISM

TUESDAY 16 APRIL 6PM-8PM

Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts
43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

ACTIVISTS

Adam Lawrence, Plan C London
Plan C is an anti-authoritarian communist and anti-fascist organisation, with a number of local groups spread across the UK. www.weareplanc.org .  Adam is one of the hosts of 12 Rules for What, a new podcast about the far right .

Brighton Antifascists /Antifascist Network
Brighton Antifascists is an active antifascist group in existence since 2010. We are willing to confront any fascist/racist activities in our area, by encouraging mass direct action amongst other methods. We try to organise as a non-hierarchical group. BAF is part of the nationwide Antifascist Network, which works to encourage militant resistance to fascists and racists wherever they rear their unwelcome heads.

facebook.com/brightonantifascists
facebook.com/antifascistnetwork


HISTORIANS  

Professor Nigel Copsey is a specialist in fascism and anti-fascism. His first monograph, Anti-Fascism in Britain (2000), examined the history of anti-fascism in Britain from the 1920s to the present day. A second revised and expanded edition of this book was published by Routledge in 2017.

Jessica Thorne is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, researching transnational anarchist resistance to Franco’s Spain 1960-1975. She has written for History Workshop Online and is a contributor to Notes from Below.

Posted on Categories Past

14: Prison Abolition

Tuesday 22 January 6PM-8PM

Birkbeck College, Room:GOR 327,
43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD.

ACTIVISTS

Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee (IWOC) is a prisoner-led section of the Industrial Workers of the World. IWOC struggles to end prison slavery along with allies and supporters on the outside. On September 9, 2016 it was part of a coalition of inside and outside groups that launched the largest prison strike in US history. Resistance to prison slavery continues with work stoppages, hunger strikes and other acts of resistance to business as usual.

The Empty Cages Collective is a project aimed at building a movement in England, Wales and Scotland that resists the prison industrial complex and organises towards a prison-free world.

HISTORIANS  

Oisín Wall is an historian and curator based in University College Dublin at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland. He is currently working on the Wellcome funded project Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000. His strand of research is focused on the instrumentalization of health by non-political prisoner activists and the prisoner rights movement in Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s..

Ben Bethell is a PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London, researching a thesis titled ‘“Star men”: first-offender classification in English convict prisons, 1863-1914’.  His publications include ‘An exception too far: “gentleman” convicts and the 1878-9 Penal Servitude Acts Commission’, Prison Service Journal 232 (July 2017) and ‘Defining “unnatural crime”: sex and the English convict system, 1850-1900’ in Sean Brady & Mark Seymour (eds.) From Sodomy Laws to Same-Sex Marriage: International Perspectives since 1789 (Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming 2019). 


13 Decriminalising Sex Work

Tuesday 27 November 6PM-8PM

Archaeology Lab, Birkbeck College,
26 Russell Square, London WC1E 7HX

ACTIVISTS

SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement) is a collective founded and led by sex workers who believe in self-determination, solidarity and co-operation. They campaign for the rights and safety of everyone who sells sexual services. Together they organise skill-shares and support meet-ups just for sex workers, as well as public events. They are UK-based and part of the global sex worker-led movement advocating the full decriminalisation of sex work.

Decrim Now is a coalition of sex workers, human rights activists, trade unionists, feminists and politicians, which is calling for the full decriminalisation of sex work. Launched at The World Transformed in 2018, they are campaigning for the Labour Party to support decriminalisation.

HISTORIANS

Julia Laite is a lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research interests are in the area of women’s history, the history of sexuality, and the history of migration in Britain and the British world. Her first book, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1930 examined the criminalisation of prostitution in a period that witnessed the codification of laws and development of policies that helped to shape the control of prostitution and the experiences of women who sold sex in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Kate Lister is is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University. Kate primarily researches the literary history of sex work and curates the online research project, Whores of Yore, an interdisciplinary digital archive for the study of historical sexuality. Kate has also published in the medical humanities, material culture, Victorian studies and Neo-Medievalism. She regularly writes about the history of sexuality for inews, Vice, and the Wellcome Trust. Kate won the Sexual Freedom Publicist of the Year Award in 2017.