Club Critical Theory Present Essex Futures Free Conference

Club Critical Theory: Essex Futures Conference

Venue: Civic Centre Southend-on-Sea, Committee Room 4a (close to Southend Victoria and Southend Central railway stations)

Dates: 15th-16th September, 2016

Club Critical Theory (CCT) host a free two day conference exploring ideas relevant to three public policy areas that have an impact on local communities within a national context

Keynote speakers

Robert Hewison (cultural historian and author of Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain)

Jack Monroe (writer, journalist and activist)

Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the RSA)

Programme will also include local entrepreneurs and key policy maker respondents – full details to follow.

Day One: Thurs 15th Sept

Doors open 9.30pm

Morning session 10am – 1pm

Introduction to CCT: Tony Sampson

Creative Industries and Entrepreneurialism: Exploring the drive by local authorities and other agencies to encourage growth in ‘creative sectors’. What impact is this really having on regional economies, and is it any more than simply ‘branding’?

Chair: Andrew Branch

Afternoon session 2-5pm

Food Cultures: Who is really setting the agenda in terms of policies on health and wellbeing in respect of what food we buy and consume? What can be done at a local level to improve ‘food cultures’ in the context of national policies which endorse a free market vision of society?

Chair: Giles Tofield

Evening drinks at the Railway Hotel

Day Two: Fri 16th Sept

Doors open 9.30am

Morning session 10-1pm

Cultural Policy, Heritage and Place-Making: What do we mean by ‘place-making’ at a local level? Who creates the stories and narratives that define how our towns and cities are to be ‘branded’? Does local cultural policy (where it still exists) have a role to play in creating really distinctive identities and differences in a globalised world economy? How is local ‘heritage’ being used to promote new narratives of towns, cities and regions?

Chair: Giles Tofield

Closing remarks by Andrew Branch

Free Registration here:

Conference Funded by the University of East London

About the Organisers

Club Critical Theory (CCT) is a partnership between the University of East London (UEL) and Southend based social enterprise, The Cultural Engine. Established in 2014, CCT is a public engagement programme that seeks to encourage academics to get out into community spaces to explore how radical theory can inform the imaginative life of society.

CCT co-founders: Giles Tofield (The Cultural Engine), Dr Andrew Branch (UEL) and Dr Tony Sampson (UEL)

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When Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 9:30 AM – Friday, September 16, 2016 at 1:00 PM (BST) – Add to Calendar Where The Civic Centre – Southend-on-Sea Essex


Thank you all for attending first CCT event

The first CCT event

We met yesterday to review the first CCT event and put in place plans for the next.

All of us are very pleased indeed with the turnout, interaction and feedback on the 17th April. Over the moon in fact.

It is great to know that there are so many people in Southend with an interest in critical theory, and ready to come down the pub to engage with it. Please tell your friends about us. We welcome anyone who wants to contribute or just listen (over a pint) to what critical theory has to say about Southend related issues.

We will be publishing a summary document of the first event on this site in the next few weeks. More to follow.


Re. next event

There will most probably be a change to the initial advertised May 25th date for the Kursaal as Heterotopia special. We want Angie Voela (from UEL) to come down and do her stuff on Foucault to complement artist and curator Jane Millar’s fascinating proposed project on the amusement park – and possibly another guest to be confirmed.

We  also have a guest DJ on the night – Twig the Wonder Kid 🙂

Hope you can all make this free event – will keep you all updated about new date and times here, twitter and on FB.


Iry’s Photos

Before Thursday evening’s first ever CCT event upstairs at the Railway we’d like to share some of Iry Hor’s specially commissioned photographs of the various territorializations and deterritorializations found in Southend’s urban spaces.

The photographs focus on the contrasts between the new college/university sites and the so-called gateway to Southend, including Heath House (below) and the old derelict college building nearby in Canarvon Road.

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See more here