“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


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.