Movements: Protest, Politics and Activism in the 21st Century

Movements 2018 has now come to a close.  It was a very exciting one-day, interdisciplinary conference held at Nottingham Contemporary on July 6th 2018.

From the outset, our ambition was to create a conference that reflected the diverse and ongoing work on social movements in the academy. It was also our intention to incorporate other socio-economic and cultural work into the event to attempt to ‘expand the echo chamber’. In the process, we received a great number of applications, which enriched the conference programme beyond our wildest dreams (You can see the full programme here and the abstract booklet here).

Our event brought together academics from across the globe, from Africa, Asia and South America, to present their work on a range of disciplinary perspectives, such as film, art and literature as activism, media representations of protesting, video gaming as a tool for political engagement, and acts of dissent under neoliberalism.

There was also papers from public-facing groups who work daily on social movements, activism, and politics with Tania Aubeelack and Pat Boyer from Journey to Justice and Sam Fairbairn from The People’s Assembly Against Austerity who spoke about how and why the movement mobilise for demonstrations.  This interdisciplinary nature of the conference provided a space in which to discuss the impact that protest, activism and political and social movements might have on the contemporary political landscape.

The Conference was opened by Professor Anita Biressi (University of Roehampton) closed by Vickie Cooper (Open University) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool), authors of The Violence of Austerity. Throughout the day Five Leaves Bookshop held a stall at with a range of books focusing on movements, activism and politics.

An evening event was held in association with Sharewear Clothing Scheme who provide emergency clothing, shoes and bedding to people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. There was a short trailer for their film Sharewear: Uncovered directed by a local film director Jim Boxall at the start of the evening.  This was followed with a live performance by the local theatre group Bread & Roses of their new show about the NHS ‘A Second Opinion’. There was then a screening of Austerity Fight followed by a Q&A with the directors Phil Maxwell & Hazuan Hashim.

Once again we’d like to thank everyone for their participation and help in putting on this conference and we leave you with a few images of the day #movements2018


Image copyright: Lorie Shaull, Can We Breathe Now? Black Lives Matter Justice For All March, Washington DC. No alterations were made to this image.