Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

Trade Union Travellings – your next life writing challenge

Friday 24 March 2023
Venue: Zoom or room (booking link below)
Free, all welcome
Disabled access

From oral histories of the miners’ strike, biopics of the Tolpuddle martyrs, to TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady’s confessions on Desert Island Discs, the lives of Trade Unionists have captured the imagination for their deep revelations about class, power and social change. They have also provided difficult challenges for those exploring an individual life in relation to the collective, and the ideals and compromises at the heart of Union experience.

Trade Union Travellings – your next life writing challengeCommemorative comic about Jayaben Desai and the Grunwick Strike 1976-78. © striking-women.org

This workshop will start with short presentations from academics and activists who have sought creative and critical modes for representing Union struggles and identities, including ballads, exhibitions, drawings and quest biographies. We will then share our own ‘Trade Union travellings’ through guided discussion and exercises, including a left-field interview with UCU Sussex President, Dr Jo Pawlik.

Proudly featuring Natalie Thomlinson refreshing the history of women in the miners’ strike, Sundari Anitha on creating comic-form representations of Jayaben Desai from the Grunwick Strike, Christian Høgsbjerg on the lost biography of seafarer’s organiser and black activist Chris Braithwaite, Ros Eyben on the elusive memoirs of her Fire Brigades Union father. Prof Margaretta Jolly will guide exercises and Dr Jonathan Moss will chair.

This event has been co-sponsored by the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories at the University of Brighton.

Drinks and nibbles provided!

Registration required at: EVENTBRITE 


Questions please contact: r.j.eyben@sussex.ac.uk