Recording Leisure Lives: Cultures, Communities and Class in Leisure in 20th Century Britain – 27th March, 2018. 


© Bolton Council. From the Humphrey Spender Worktown Collection of
Bolton Library and Museum Services

A Tenth Anniversary One Day Conference at the University of Bolton,
presented by the University of Bolton and University Centre at Blackburn

Second Call for Papers

The annual Recording Leisure Lives conferences were established ten years ago by the Centre for Worktown Studies. Their inspiration was Bolton’s identity as Mass Observation’s ‘Worktown’. The Worktown project was an in-depth study of working-class life in a north of England industrial town. Although intended as a contemporary anthropological cum sociological exercise with the potential to enhance the well-being of the working-class, its documentation now constitutes a globally renowned historical archive.

The Centre for Worktown Studies invites you to its tenth annual Recording Leisure Lives conference on 27th March 2018. The theme of the conference is intended to provoke discussion and debate on the social and cultural contexts of leisure in twentieth century Britain. In particular it aims to explore ideas and meanings of culture, community and class in the context of leisure. In terms of class we are particularly interested in, for example, cultural hierarchies, mass culture, religion, politics and radicalism in leisure. We remain open, however, to other interpretations. The theme of community implies both spatial communities and also clubs, voluntary associations, hobby societies, civic groups, play groups and national regional and neighbourhood leisure organizations. In terms of class we hope to receive papers based around themes of socio-economic divisions, a
leisure class, and other socio-historical constructions of class. It is neither expected nor necessary that papers should cover all three strands. There will also be an open stream for general papers on leisure in 20th century Britain.

We would be delighted to welcome VAHS members to this tenth anniversary conference. A second call for papers (we already have enough for parallel sessions) is outlined below. We welcome papers from academic lecturers and researchers, doctoral students and practitioners –   please do pass on the conference details to anyone who may be interested.  This year’s conference will be held on 27th March at the University of Bolton.

Paper proposals on leisure in 20th century Britain are invited. 

Sub-themes include  Cultures – National, Ethnic, Religious, Class, Sexual, Radical; Communities – Clubs, Voluntary Associations, Hobby Societies, Civic Groups, Play Groups, Spatial Communities (National, Regional, Neighbourhood); Class – Working and Middle Class, Leisure Class, Politics, Economics, Work and Mobility.

There are also open streams on any aspect of leisure.

Keynote speakers include Martin Johnes, (University of Swansea) author
of Christmas and the British: A Modern History and Carolyn Downs
(University of Lancaster), author of A Social, Economic and Cultural
History of Bingo (1906-2005): the Role of Gambling in the Lives of
Working Women.

Please submit abstracts for paper proposals (max. 250 words) to by 12th March.

To attend the event, please contact Bob Snape, or Bethan Atkins and they will forward a booking form to be filled and returned.

The conference website is at

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