Working-class artists continue to be hugely underrepresented in the arts industries, though they make up a third of the British population. These professions are already notoriously hard to get into, but working class artists face extra challenges, from unpaid work reinforcing social disparity, to prejudice. How do we break this cycle of inequality in the arts? In Smashing It, leading musicians, playwrights, visual artists, filmmakers and writers share how they overcame obstacles, from the financial to the philosophical, to make it in the arts.

Edited by acclaimed poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, it celebrates the achievements of working class artists in Britain, from the … More

A fascinating trip around the side streets and back to backs of working class cinema, exploring the British New Wave kitchen sink dramas of the 50s and 60s, such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey and This Sporting Life, to Kes, Quadrophenia and This is England. From stuffy post-war stereotypes to more ethnically diverse work and female orientated films, this is an unflinching look at a gritty sub-genre and its constant clashes with controversy, censorship and the establishment. If you’re a fan of challenging, unforgettable British movies, this book is it, all the rest is propaganda.

Andrew Graves is a poet and writer who regularly performs his work throughout the UK. His first full collection Light … More

Kerry Hudson is proudly working class but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was all-encompassing, grinding & often dehumanising. Always on the move with her single mother, Kerry attended nine primary schools & five secondaries, living in B&Bs & council flats. She scores eight out of ten on the Adverse Childhood Experiences measure of childhood trauma. Twenty years later, Kerry’s life is unrecognisable. She’s a prizewinning novelist who has travelled the world. She has a secure home, a loving partner & access to art, music, film & books. But she often finds herself looking over her shoulder, caught somehow between two worlds.

Lowborn is Kerry’s exploration of where she came from. She revisits the towns she grew up in to try to … More

Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged & dispossessed. Common People is a collection of essays, poems & memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth & texture of working-class life, the joy & sorrow, the solidarity & the differences, the everyday wisdom & poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser. Here, Kit de Waal brings together 33 established & emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud & clear as they reclaim & redefine what it means to be working class.

Features original pieces from Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, … More

“..I was distracted from the frontline, though, by appearance on Top of the Pops one Thursday night of a new group. The sampled Prince Buster screech at the start of the song… Now, Saturday mornings were spent exploring every possible way of exchanging my pocket money for 2-Tone and 2-Tone related products.”

Know Your Place Is a collection of essays about the working class, written by the working class. We had an … More

“I am a socialist, & have been fighting and will fight for an absolute reconstruction of society for the benefit of all. I am proud of my conduct. I have squared my conduct with my intellect, and if everyone had done so this war would not have taken place. I act square and clean for my principles. I have nothing to retract. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Your class position is against my class position. There are two classes of morality. There is the working class morality and there is the capitalist class morality…”

There is this antagonism as there is the antagonism between Germany and Britain. A victory for Germany is a defeat … More

Born OTD in 1810, English novelist, biographer, and short story writer, Elizabeth Gaskell. Set in Manchester in the 1840s – a period of industrial unrest and extreme deprivation – Mary Barton depicts the effects of economic and physical hardship upon the city’s working-class community.

Paralleling the novel’s treatment of the relationship between masters and men, the suffering of the poor, and the workmen’s angry … More

First published on this day in Germany in 1867, Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital Vol 1’. Subsequently published in all the world’s major languages and studied widely by workers it was often referred to as “The Bible of the working class”. While lengthy, it is unsurpassed as an analysis and critique of capitalism.

One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, “Capital” is an … More