“With all the resources at the disposal of the State”

The ‘Industrial Unrest Committee’ and Industrial Legality during the 1919 Railway Strike

This talk will explore the various tensions that existed within the Cabinet’s Industrial Unrest Committee, and its various sub-committees, as government officials sought to confront the different challenges thrown up by the national Railway strike of late September 1919. Reading the files and documents from the National Archives reveals the extent to which Government departments and quasi governmental agencies struggled to contain the strike within its original industrial bounds. In an age when […]

Regional Radical Press in Britain 1968-88 exhibition

From the late sixties to the mid-eighties, small, co-operatively produced local and neighbourhood papers played an important role in grassroots radical politics across the British Isles. Some achieved passing prominence with occasional news scoops, but most are unremembered now and their history is overlooked. This project, led by Phil Chamberlain (University of Bath) and Steve Poole (UWE) seeks out those papers, reconnects with the people who produced them, and re-evaluates their impact on […]

A people’s history of poetry

Highlights from Stage Invasion: Poetry & the Spoken Word Renaissance

Hot-foot from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bristol’s Pete Bearder will be sharing perspectives on the radical history of performance poetry, based on his recent performance work. His ground-breaking new book Stage Invasion: Poetry & the Spoken Word Renaissance: ‘Explores the unwritten history, science and skill of spoken word and answers some strangely under-explored questions: What is the history of performance poetry in the UK? How does emotional contagion happen in live literature? What has […]

Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons

Talk and panel discussion

David Bollier will give an overview of the latest thinking on the commons, based on his new book Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons, which presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons – the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and […]

‘Nautical Women and the Rum Do’

Bristol Harbour Festival Bristol Harbour Masters Office, Underfall Yard, Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6XG By kind invitation of the Blue Schooner Company and introducing their ethical trading ship De Gallant. Rosemary Caldicott will talk about extraordinary women sailors in history taken from her recent BRHG book Nautical Women: Women sailors and the women of sailortowns: A forgotten diaspora c.1693 - 1902. Rosemary will be accompanied by the Rum Do Crew, traditional sea shanty singers, to […]

The draining of the mere

Story-telling by Otherstory

A storytelling that demonstrates, however benign the technology, it is who owns and controls it that matters. A narrative that recounts the conflict between the rich landowners who want to tame and exploit a marginal place and those whose subsistence is rooted in this rich wilderness. This tale of Whittlesea Mere in the Fenland starts in 1605 and ends in a few years into the future ...when the environment strikes back. Story lasts approximately 40 minutes.  

Roots of Resistance: Earth First!

Live animation puppetry from Otherstory

A live animation show celebrating twenty years of the environmental direct-action network Earth First! It gathers together the stories of many activists – from the treetops of Newbury to the tops of power stations. Using a simple puppetry technique like an animated zine, the imagery is captured on a video camera and projected live onto a large screen. Show lasts approximately 50 minutes.  

3 Acres and a Cow: A history of land rights and protest in folk song

NOTE: This event is sold out

Connecting the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with fracking, our housing crisis and Brexit via the Enclosures and Industrial Revolution, the show draws a compelling narrative through the people’s history of England. Part TED talk, part folk club sing-a-long, come and share these tales as they have been shared for generations. We expect this event to be very popular! Advance tickets are available here.  

Burning Bristol: the 1831 ‘reform riot’

This talk is part of the above event at Cardiff Museum, The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH In 2006, The Guardian newspaper ran a series of articles in a search “for the most overlooked moment in British radical history”. The 1831 ‘Bristol riot’ featured in the top ten because of its historical obscurity, somewhat surprising considering the scale of the destruction and the human cost. The reason for this obscurity is related to the pathologized characterisation of the event as the […]

Facing up to the Fascists

Confronting the National Front in Bristol

Facing up to Fascists front cover
As the ultra-right tries to spread its message of hate, Colin Thomas reminds us that we have been here before. This is how the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism resisted the National Front in Bristol in the 1970s and 80s – and won.