Steffan Blayney's picture
March 21, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Local History, Public History, Social History / Studies, Urban History / Studies



An opportunity for historians with an interest in the housing crisis to  engage with activists.

Tuesday 21 March 2017 6pm to 8pm
Dreyfus Room, Birkbeck, 26 Russell Square, London

History Acts workshops are led by activists, who give a short talk or presentation about their work. Historians working on a relevant topic will then respond, before opening it up to group discussion.

Our Panel

Hackney Digs campaign for a better deal for people renting in Hackney and beyond. They are a private renter information, support and campaign group, run by Hackney renters, for Hackney renters. Digs support anyone who is renting privately in Hackney or who is homeless or insecurely housed and trying to find a home in Hackney’s private rented sector.

Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians recently squatted a £15m Belgravia mansion owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Goncharenko. They used it as a homeless shelter and community centre, open to any group that ‘would disgust the wealthy’. The group Anal, who briefly opened a squat in Admiralty Arch in 2015, have squatted a number of prominent buildings since their formation in 2014.

The Focus E15 campaign was born in September 2013 when a group of young mothers were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association after Newham Council cut its funding to the Focus E15 hostel for young homeless people. They demand social housing, not social cleansing!

Professor Jerry White Formerly a public health inspector enforcing housing standards in Islington in the 1970s, and then Chief Executive of the London Borough of Hackney from 1989 to 1995, Jerry White has been researching and writing London history since the mid-1970s. Among his many published works is London in the Twentieth Century: A City and Its People. His most recent book, Mansions of Misery. A Biography of the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison, was published in October 2016. He is Professor of Modern London History at Birkbeck, University of London.

Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite is a historian currently working on squatting in postwar London, and on women’s activism during the miners’ strike of 1984-5. She has published work on Thatcher, New Labour, and the 1970s in the Historical Journal, Twentieth Century British History and elsewhere.


History Acts is a new radical history forum, affiliated to the Raphael Samuel Centre, and based at the University of London. Our goal is to bring together radical and left-wing historians and contemporary activists. We want to find new ways to engage as academics with contemporary struggles, to learn from activists, and to see how we can use what expertise and institutional resources we have to provide active solidarity.

History Acts sessions take place on the third Tuesday of every term-time month. They are held at Birkbeck, University of London.
Sessions are free and open to any historian, any history student, or anyone interested in how history can work for social and political change.

Twitter: @HistoryActs

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