(De)Industrial Kent is a research collective based in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent.

Kent is often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’. It is a county in the far South East of the UK known for its agriculture and coastal resorts, separated from the industrial ‘heartlands’ of the country. Yet Kent, like many other places beyond these heartlands, was a site of modern industrial development from the 18th century onwards. The county had coalfields, steelworks, large-scale shipbuilding, the manufacture of munitions, paper mills and other modern, heavy industries that defined work and life in many of its communities. That is, until it didn’t…

Deindustrialisation and attempts at local regeneration in ex-industrial places are always complex, multifaceted economic, political and cultural processes. In areas where the history and legacies of industry conflict with other established or more saleable narratives of place (areas that are not supposed to be or have been ‘industrial’), these are complicated further still.

So it is here, in a once industrial county that cannot and must not be industrial, that studying the processes and impacts of deindustrialisation takes on new challenges and opportunities.

While a significant portion of our work focuses on Kent as a region, we are also working on research into changing landscapes and experiences of deindustrialisation, work, place, class and community in a much broader range of places and times. We aim to build partnerships with other scholars and institutions, and across disciplines.