TALK: ‘Is there a class-shaped hole in the diversity debate?’

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Wed 25 April at 7pm

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Part of Common People: the working class theatre festival. Browse the full programme here. Common People runs from Tue 17 – Sat 28 April.

In 2017, a Labour party report criticised working-class under-representation in the arts, and demanded the cultural sector work harder to fill the “class-shaped hole” in their audience and workforce.

Tonight, a panel of experts including the sociologist Sam Friedman (author of ‘The Class Ceiling: Why it pays to be privileged’) discuss the persistence – or resurgence – of class inequality in the arts, asks what can be done about it, and proposes some radical solutions.

Our panelists will include:

Sam Friedman
Sam is Associate Professor of Sociology at the London school of Economics. His research focuses on social mobility and class inequality, particularly in the culture and creative industries. He is author of Comedy and Distinction: The Cultural Currency of a ‘Good’ sense of Humour (Routledge, 2014), co-author of Social Class in the 21stCentury (2015, Penguin) and his upcoming book The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged, will be published by Policy Press in late 2018.

Conrad Murray
Conrad is a working-class artist from Mitcham. He has lived on five London council estates, and six council properties. He has been creating a fusion of hip-hop, UK music and political theatre since setting up theatre company A Theatre De Cunt in 2004.  Creating theatre and signing-on went hand-in-hand for a decade. His current theatre company Beats & Elements, a collaboration between him and spoken word artist Paul Cree, creates work from a working-class/underclass perspective. They are working on a co-production with Camden People’s Theatre, High Rise eState of Mind – which is being performed as part of the ‘Common People’ festival. Conrad has directed the BAC Beatbox Academy for the past ten years. Its most recent production Frankenstein had a recent sold-out run at BAC, and returns in the upcoming Battersea Arts Centre Phoenix season.

Liza Vallance
Liza is Artistic Director of Studio 3 Arts. She grew up in South Wales, a daughter and granddaughter of miners, and trained at Queen Mary College, specialising in Forum Theatre and Performance Art.  Liza has worked with artists and companies including Split Britches, Augusto Boal, Ali Campbell, The Koestler Trust and Proteus Theatre, creating socially and politically-charged work that toured prisons, mental healthcare settings and community spaces as well as theatres, galleries and museums. Liza is a performer, director and writer, and with her comedy partner Del Taylor she performs as Original Army, Studio 3 Arts’ in-house performance art collective.  Becoming AD in 2010, Liza has led Studio 3 Arts to become east London’s leading socially-engaged arts practice bringing significant financial and cultural investment to Barking and Dagenham.  Liza’s current directorial project is Meat Raffle: A Working Class Cabaret which premiered at the Barbican in March 2018.

Twitter: @lizavallance @studio3arts / Instagram: @lizamafia @studio3arts

Image credit (c) Joe Twigg

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