Welfare Imaginaries: 21st Century Welfare: Understanding the present

Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Tuesday 25th September, 2018

Location: Blackburne House, Liverpool

Organised by Kim Allen, Sara De Benedictis, Kayleigh Garthwaite, Tracey Jensen and Ruth Patrick.

Funded by The Sociological Review Seminar Series Event competition 2018

This free seminar, open to all, will explore how 21st century welfare is represented and understood. There will be a chance to talk about how public attitudes toward the welfare state have been informed, and transformed, by media representations and by an enduring focus on long-standing concerns about (un)deservingness and the character and behaviour of those living in poverty and in receipt of social welfare.

This seminar will provide a space to think through the different emotions and responses that we can see in contemporary welfare imaginaries. For example, the complex co-existence of nostalgia, disgust, pride, anger and resistance that may be mobilised in popular ‘factual’ television, such as Channel 4’s Benefits Street; in films like I, Daniel Blake; in contemporary fiction; through online activism and campaigns such as ‘Benefit To Society’; and in grassroots community action. There will also be a chance to hear from individuals who are themselves active in resisting and challenging contemporary representations of ‘welfare’, and their reflections on the possibilities and problems with doing so.

The seminar will include a zine-making session led by Jean McEwan from Wur Bradford.

Speakers include:

Kerry Hudson, author and journalist. Her forthcoming book, Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns, documents her return to the deprived communities she grew up in England and Scotland.

Sara De Benedictis, Lecturer in Media and Communications and Brunel University London, researching how gender and class inequalities come into being through representations, especially in relation to birth and menstruation.

Vickie Cooper & David White, authors of ‘The Violence of Austerity’. Vickie is a Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology and is researching the relationship between welfare reforms and evictions in the post-crash climate and austerity as a violent political project.

Mo Stewart, independent disability studies researcher and author of ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’, published in September 2016 to critical acclaim.

Rachel Broady, National Union of Journalists and Liverpool John Moores University), collaborator on the ‘Benefit to Society’ campaign and guide for journalists on fair reporting for social housing tenants

Heather Mew, doctoral researcher at Newcastle University researching working class resistance to austerity, in collaboration with Thrive.

Tracey Herrington, manager at Thrive, a grassroots anti-poverty organisation in Stockton-on-Tees which builds the capacity of low income community members to build their capacity to enable them to affect change, and contributor to Stockton’s Poverty Truth Commission.

Chunky Mark, artist and online activist and also known as the Artist Taxi Driver

Full biographies of all our speakers and activity organisers can be found on our website here: https://welfareimaginaries.wordpress.com/about-the-series/seminar-2/

Registration and further details 

It is free to register for and attend this seminar but spaces are limited. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/welfare-imaginaries-constructing-rhetoric-realities-and-resistance-over-time-tickets-48405399854

The venue is wheelchair accessible and fitted with an integrated hearing induction loop. If you have any additional requirements around accessibility please inform Laura Clancy at l.clancy2@lancaster.ac.uk 

Travel Bursaries

The seminar organisers have a small travel bursary fund for those requiring financial assistance (priority is given to those who are unemployed; unfunded PGRs; ECRs in insecure work; and unaffiliated academics). There is also an access fund for attendees with specific attendance requirements.

If you would like to make a request to draw on these funds, please view our website for further information on how to apply. These funds will be allocated by 10th September.

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