Team

Principal Investigator

Rebecca Hillman

Rebecca Hillman started collaborating with trade unions in 2010 when her local trades council supported her making of an anti-cuts community play in Reading. Rebecca works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communications, Drama & Film at the University of Exeter. She teaches a module called Activism & Performance, which is informed by her research on political culture, class, and trade union activism. She is a representative of the University and Colleges Union to Exeter & District Trades Council.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Chris Garrard

Chris Garrard is Co-founder and Co-director of the campaigns and research organisation Culture Unstained, as well as a member of the activist theatre group ‘BP or Not BP?’ and the music director of the Stop Shopping Choir UK. He has a doctorate in music and composition, and has written instrumental music about climate change, protest songs for different groups, as well as a chamber opera based on The Handmaid’s Tale.

Partners

Banner Theatre

Banner Theatre have been creating powerful theatre productions for community and trade union audiences since 1973. Based in Birmingham, England, their performances typically reach more than 10,000 people a year.

Reel News

Reel News are an independent London based activist video collective, using film to help bring about social change. Funded by individuals and rank and file trade union branches, they work with organisations often ignored by the mainstream media who are winning campaigns in the UK and around the world.

The Somerset Socialist Library

The Somerset Socialist Library was founded in 1984 during the miners’ strike to defend collieries in England. It was inspired by the South Wales Miners’ Institute Libraries and ‘education for emancipation’ given by the Plebs’ League from 1909-1926. It is intended as an educational resource to maintain enthusiasm for radical change among Somerset people. The SSL is a project partner via the library’s Caretaker Dave Chapple, a retired Somerset Postman, trades union agitator, and socialist author.

The Southwest Region Trade Union Council

The Southwest Region Trade Union Council represents around half a million trade union members. They work to improve workers’ rights and promote decent jobs in the region, where many people rely on low pay. The SWRTUC are a project partner, also via Dave Chapple, who is a Representative to their Executive Committee.

The Working-Class Movement Library

The Working-Class Movement Library in Salford holds over 200 years of records documenting organising and campaigning by ordinary people, including some of the earliest trade union documents to survive, and materials offering unique insight into workers’ theatre and trade union plays. Dedicated to the stories of Britain’s working classes from the beginning of industrialisation to the present day, the collection continues to evolve, with donations from campaigners, activist groups and trade unions. The WCML are a partner on the project.

Advisors

Clara de Andrade

Clara de Andradeis an actor, singer, activist, teacher and researcher in Theatre Arts. Her main field of research is the transnational networks of the Theatre of the Oppressed and Augusto Boal. She is also a TO practitioner. In 2020 she was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Theatre Histories & Developing Theatre Project at LMU Munich. She is currently conducting postdoctoral research at the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro – PPGAC/UNIRIO funded by the FAPERJ Foundation.

Gustavo Guenzburger

Gustavo Guenzburger is an artist, activist, teacher and researcher in Theatre Arts. His main fields of interest are transnationality and modes of production in theatre. In 2020 he was Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Global Theatre Histories & Developing Theatre Project at LMU Munich. He actively participates in many movements of theatre workers in Rio de Janeiro, such as MATER and Reage, Artista!  He is currently conducting postdoctoral research at the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro – PPGAC/UNIRIO funded by FAPERJ Foundation.

Aparna Mahiyaria

Aparna Mahiyaria is a lecturer in drama at the University of Exeter. Her research covers street theatre practices in New Delhi and the importance of political organising for enhancing the efficacy of politically engaged theatre. In the past, she has worked with the Indian Cultural Forum, a New Delhi- based organisation that platforms local and international debates on politics and culture. Her current research explores cultural heritage and performance practices within the workers’ cooperative movement in Kerala.

Mentor

Heike Roms

Heike Roms is Professor in theatre and performance at the University of Exeter. She has an interest in collaborative research practices and has worked extensively with oral history methodologies in her projects. Her current work focuses on the involvement of children in art and activism in the 1960s.

Advisory Board

Larry Bogad

Larry Bogad, Professor of Political Performance and the Director of the Center for Tactical Performance at the UC Davis Arts.

Full bio to follow…

Gavin Grindon

Gavin Grindon is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Essex, whose work focuses on art, design and aesthetics in activism and social movements. He has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions on this area, including Disobedient Objects (2014-15, V&A); Cruel Designs at Banksy’s Dismaland and the museum at the Walled Off Hotel (2015, 2017-present); The Museum of Neoliberalism (London, 2019-present) and Werbepause: The Art of Subvertising (Kunstraum Kreuzberg, 2022). He has recently published on art and protest in Social Text; The Oxford Art Journal; Art History and elsewhere.

Claudiana Nogueira de Alencar

Claudiana Nogueira de Alencar is a scenopoet and researcher at the Center for Culture, City and Language at the State University of Ceará (UECE) and researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ-BRAZIL). She is a professor at the Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics and at the Master’s in Education and Teaching, in the line of research on Critical Education, Work and Social Movements. Also she is a teacher of the Education Program in Areas of Agrarian Reform (PRONERA-MST) of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST). Claudiana coordinates the project entitled Viva a Palavra – Grammars of resistance in the art and culture of the outskirts of Fortaleza and organizes scenopoetry and popular education meetings as a form of resistance by popular movements in Brazil.

Developer

Richard Holding

Richard creates web resources for Digital Humanities research projects. His skills include the development of custom mapping solutions using the Leaflet JavaScript library, the creation of websites for managing and displaying digital collections using Omeka and eXist-db, and the design of websites and blogs in WordPress. Richard also advises academics and professional services staff on Digital Humanities aspects of bid writing for funders including the AHRC, identifying appropriate technologies and contributing details of development requirements for Data Management Plans.