Brecht Forum, 451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets), New York, NY 10014

The ‘History Workshop’ movement was founded in 1966 in Ruskin College, Oxford, U.K. by the Marxist academic Raphael Samuel, a champion of ‘history from below.’ He famously defined this movement as being “the belief that history is or ought to be a collaborative enterprise, one in which the researcher, the archivist, the curator and the teacher, the ‘do-it-yourself’ enthusiast and the local historian, the family history societies and the individual archaeologist, should all be regarded as equally engaged.”

In 2006 in the U.K., Bristol Radical History Group was formed with a view opening up some of the hidden history of their home city to public scrutiny, to challenge some commonly held ideas about historical events and approach this history from ‘below’. Unlike Samuel’s ‘History Workshop,’ the group actually came ‘from below’ its genesis being in an expanded sports club rather than in the academy. As a result it has been able to successfully integrate both the formal lecture with street performance, the organic intellectual with the academic and engage the public in the excitement of radical history by the use of different media.

Members of Bristol Radical History Group will be outlining the influences that inspired their project from E.P.Thompson to punk rock, describing their forays into the battles over the historical representations of their city from slavery to labour history and looking to the future of radical history from ‘below’. So if you want to find out what unites a 17th Century blasphemous preacher and some drunken Can-Can dancers this is the event for you.

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