The Working-Class Expression initiative will showcase and reflect on sources of knowledge from below that offer an alternative to dominant narratives about deindustrialization. It will bring together a collection of original working-class writing and photographic sources that illuminate the legacies of deindustrialization. Industrial decline has sparked widespread reflection on the part of displaced workers and, perhaps more importantly their children and increasingly grandchildren. Here we aim to collect autobiographical writing and visual expression on industrial change from across the project sites. We will consider why workers have written about their former lives and what meanings they attach to visual and material objects collected from industrial labour. A feature of such working-class writings is that they rarely circulate internationally – they are often published by small local presses, for example, while studies or archives of such writings have tended to remain within national boundaries. One of the key contributions of this initiative will be to make such material available across linguistic boundaries through translation and to bring it into a transnational framework of analysis.

Thematic Initiatives