For 2019 we teamed up with the Gulbenkian Theatre on the University of Kent campus, to run a series of events to coincide with the conference. These events were open to the general public as well as delegates and were based on the aims and themes of the conference.

Prof Satnam Virdee – ‘Race, Class and the Politics of Solidarity’

Wednesday 4th September – 1.15pm-3.45pm
Keynes College Lecture Theatre 1 

This lecture will be both a keynote session for the Working Class Studies Association conference and a public lecture as part of the University of Kent’s Student Success Project.

Sarah Attfield // Jim Daniels // Jenifer Vernon

Wednesday 4th September – 6pm-7pm
Gulbenkian Theatre Café

Sarah Attfield is a Sydney poet whose work has been published and performed widely in Australia. She has a particular interest in the lives and experiences of working class people (due to her own background) and this is reflected in her poetry. Sarah is also an academic and her research has focused on Australian working class poetry and the working class experience in popular culture (film, music and television).

Jim Daniels’ life has been spent in Detroit and Pittsburgh, the Motor City and the Steel City. He has written 17 books of poems and 6 books of short fiction that explore working-class issues, an essay on working-class poetry for The New Working Class Studies, and is currently the poetry editor for Labor, a working-class history journal published by Duke University Press. His poem Factory Love is displayed on the roof of a racecar.

Jenifer Vernon is a California-based poet and community college lecturer. Her first book of poetry Rock Candy was published by West End Press in 2009, and received the Tillie Olsen Award as the best book of creative writing that insightfully represents working class life and culture from the Working Class Studies Association in 2010.

Working-Class Dinner Party
Wednesday 4th September – 8pm
Gulbenkian Theatre Café

You are invited to dinner with Scottee & Friends’ Associate Director, Matty, in which he and his guests will talk about the C word …class! Guests chew down into social politics, you are encouraged to join the conversation and ask questions – you can also sit on your hands and do nothing. Part show, part discussion and at some point a take away will arrive to feed us all – a dinner party that Nigella would wince at.

We’ll talk for a bit, ask questions and then we’ll eat pizza.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists: a one-man magic lantern show

Thursday 5th September – 7.30pm-9.30pm
Gulbenkian Theatre Café 

Neil Gore brings this witty, humorous and absorbing classic book to life in his one-man Magic Lantern show. Based on the famous book by Robert Tressell, it features political conjuring, music and songs echoing life in the building trades of Edwardian England.

‘A phenomenal performance’ – John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor)

‘A strong and robust show that brings the characters, humour and inspirational ideas of this great book to life. It is needed now more than ever. You’ll leave the theatre and join the struggle!’ – Ken Loach, Film Director​

‘★★★★★ Tremendous’ – The Times​

’10/10 Sensational’ – Liverpool Echo​

This event is open to the public, with reduced ticket rates for WCSA delegates.

COMMON: GROUND – Career Development as a Working-Class Artist in Kent

Friday 6th September – 6pm-8.30pm
Gulbenkian Theatre Café

This COMMON: GROUND event is a supportive discussion which will offer a platform for artists who self-identify as working-class and work in theatre to share the barriers to career development that they face when building a career in theatre in this region. The discussion will also provide an opportunity for working-class artists to offer their suggestions of solutions which would support them to overcome these barriers.

Bait (UK, 2019)
Saturday 7th September – 5pm
Gulbenkian Cinema

Behind the picture postcard idyll of a Cornish fishing village alienation, resentment and anger bubble away. The view may be beautiful, but you can’t eat it.

Martin Ward is a cove-fishermen without a boat, infuriated with his brother for using the family vessel for day-tripping, and with a brooding resentment for tourists flocking to the village while locals are relegated to an estate on the hill. Nearing the end of the summer season, an argument over a parking space with the incomers who bought his old family home comes to represent all that is wrong with the world for Martin. Tensions rise and when a misguided prank and retaliation escalates to tragedy the brothers are forced to unite and face the future together.

Shifting light, captured on B&W 16mm film and processed by hand, offers a grainy black and white polemic; the state of the nation seen through a family lens. Rugged cliffs, stark seascapes, working hands, silent faces, the screech of a gull, the smoke from a barbeque, clashing classes, tensions building, a casual theft, a threat issued, a punch thrown, retribution, high tide, low water, laughter at dusk, regret in the morning, beauty, anger, compassion, hope.