History and the Housing Crisis

We are pleased to announce our next Applied History event on History and the Housing Crisis to be held on the evening of 14 June 2016 at the Marx Memorial Library. The event is free to attend but booking is essential via our Eventbrite page.

We are currently in the midst of a housing crisis. House prices are on average seven times people’s incomes, and with the economic downturn repossession rates are soaring. In the private rental market rents are also soaring, especially in London, and at the same time one-third of private rented homes fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard. All the while the government continues to pursue the sale of council houses and housing association homes. Hundreds of thousands are pushed into homelessness, living in temporary accommodation or on the streets.

In this event we will ask what the historical roots to the current housing crisis are, what historical solutions have been posed, and how we might tell the history of housing politics. Did past politics of rent strikes or squatting work, and do they work in the same way today? What solutions have past local and national governments pursued to resolve housing crises, and could these be pursued again? And why is it important to remember the history of housing today? Should we look to the past to think about what the future of housing politics in Britain might look like?



This event is being led by Diarmaid Kelliher and Tank Green. It is supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre.




Save the date! The fourth Applied History Network event will focus on ‘libertarian education’ on Tuesday 19th April 2016, at MayDay Rooms (London EC4Y 1DH). Attending is free, but booking via our Eventbrite page is essential.


Libertarian education is based on principles such as non-hierarchical relationships, mutual-aid and personal responsibility. In the last century, these values inspired the foundation of radical/democratic schools and (anti)universities. They challenged the role of mainstream schools as ‘reproducers of authoritarian social structures’ and universities as ‘selectors of the ruling class’.

Recently, while the British education system has become increasingly subdued by free-market logic and bureaucratic procedures, parents and students have started expressing a growing interest in libertarian educational experiences. However, these still remain mostly marginal. What are the historical reasons for this? Is libertarian education possible within a neoliberal society after all? Can it help transform the status quo?


  • Judith Suissa – Reader in philosophy of education at Institute of Education, UCL
  • Ian Cunningham – Chair of governors at Self Managed Learning College, Brighton
  • Jenny Aster – Former pupil at White Lion Street Free School, London
  • Alex Brown – Co-organiser of Antiuniversity Now!


Tickets available here!

This event in supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre RSHC_logo_Colour-1

“Sites of Resistance” UPDATE

Due to unforseen circumstances the venue for our upcoming event has MOVED from the Marx Memorial Library to UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, room 6.12.

Due to space restrictions in the new venue we will be operating a first come, first served basis so arrive early to guarantee your place.

All of the details remain the same so please get your tickets through Eventbrite, as they are selling fast.

“Sites of Resistance”: Radical Bookselling

Banish those winter blues next year and join us on Tuesday 9th February for the third Applied History event, at  UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, Room 6.12 (London,WC1H 0PY). As usual, the event is free but booking is essential. You can book through our Eventbrite page and don’t forget to tell everyone.

The event will be looking at the importance of radical bookshops as “sites of resistance.”  The 1970s saw a peak in the numbers of bookshops dedicated to providing access to alternative publications covering the growing anti-racist, LGBT+ and feminist movements, amongst others. Many of these bookshops also acted as meeting places and support centres for new and established groups, and offered a template for encouraging further grassroots and community activism and campaigning. More recently, the numbers of these vital “sites of resistance” have closed due to increasing rents, funding cuts, the growth of online bookstores and competition from larger bookshops.

Although bookshops have been a core element of campaigns, as a subject this seems to have been neglected by researchers and historians of social history. Key questions that we will cover are: has the internet already filled the space left by these important centres? What is the future of activism and campaigning? And the future of radical bookshops?


Sarah Garrod – Archivist, George Padmore Institute

Nik Gorecki –  Co-ordinator, Alliance of Radical Booksellers and co-manager of Housmans

Ken Worpole – Author

Rosa Vilbr – Oral historian and founder of On the Record


Tickets available here!

This event in supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Public History Discussion Group



The second Applied History Network event will be held at the Marx Memorial Library (London EC1R 0DU) on Tuesday 1 December at 6.30pm. We will be discussing why labour history still matters. This event is again free but registration is required. Please sign up on our Eventbrite page.

Labour history was central to many constructions of radical history in Britain in the twentieth century. Since the 1980s, however, the decline in the strength of the British trade union movement alongside intellectual trends away from the centrality of class have coincided with an apparent ‘crisis’ of labour history. Yet trade unions still have 6 million members in this country, work is still a central experience of everyday life, and antagonism at the point of production must still have a role in radical politics. But what place does recounting the experience of labour in the past have to play in this process? This session will bring together people who have engaged with the history of labour and trade unions from a variety of approaches to engage with this question.


This event in supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre


British history and anti-racist campaigning: a discussion event

We are pleased to announce that our first discussion event ‘British history and anti-racist campaigning‘ will be held at the Marx Memorial Library, London EC1 on Tuesday October 20th at 6.30pm until 8pm. Please go to our Eventbrite page to register. The event is free of charge but registration is required.

This event is inspired by listening to anti-racist campaigners say that their work is hampered by a general lack of historical knowledge in respect of Empire and colonialism amongst the white British public. In order to explore this more fully, the event will bring together four speakers to examine the relationship between the white general public’s understanding of British history and anti-racist campaigning work. Since the point of the event is to assist historians in directing their research in socially responsible and useful ways, the speakers will be campaigners, journalists, and educationalists rather than academic historians. The panel members will each approach the topic from a different vantage point based on their experiences and will speak for 10-15 minutes each. After which, the discussion will be opened up for the next hour or so to include the floor.


Kiri Kankhwende: ‘How the lack of a historical perspective fuels racist media narratives about migrants’.
Kiri is a journalist and immigration and human rights campaigner.

Rita Chadha: ‘Historical voyeurism and the concept of migration: why are we so obsessed with migration journeys of despair and success?’
Rita is the Chief Executive of RAMFEL.

John Siblon: ‘Losing and gaining the British Empire in the classroom’.
John is a Sixth Form History Teacher in London and PhD candidate.

Suresh Grover: ‘Before My Memory Dies: The Persistence of Imperial Racism’
Suresh is Director of the The Monitoring Group and a Civil Rights campaigner and will explore how the role of the British Empire remains invisible in understanding the cause and impact of racism in UK today.

This event is being organised by Tank Green for the Applied History Network. Tank is a doing a PhD in contemporary British history at the University of Exeter. Her thesis is on ‘race’, racism and ‘race relations’ in the sixties, with specific reference to the work of a church in Notting Hill. She has one more year to go… allegedly.