Announcing - Common People 2021!

What does it mean or feel like to be working class in 2021? Does it even exist? 

Newington Green and its surrounding local areas have changed rapidly in recent years – but how well does the area still serve its working class communities?

Join us where everyone is welcome – in a programme of talks, gigs, workshops, film, poetry and art where we seek to answer these important questions and attempt to explore what working class means in our area today. 

Tickets available here

Line-up:

  • 3rd September (Doors open 7.30pm) – Join us in the Meeting House for a live music performance from Jelly Cleaver (tickets available here: £12/£6 unwaged/student/disabled/carer) 

  • 5th September 3-5pm – Join writer, social historian and local legend Ken Worpole on a walk around Alexander Baron‘s London – and why we need all need to re-discover this working class Jewish authors works.

    Alexander Baron’s Manor: A Stoke Newington walk

    The novelist Alexander Baron (1917-1999) grew up in Stoke Newington, a district he loved, in a city he loved. Starting out in a one room flat in Abersham Road, Dalston, his family moved to two rooms in Sandringham Road, before settling in a terraced house in Foulden Road, then sub-divided into flats. A communist in his youth, he wrote about the life-and-death issues of the mid-twentieth century: war; communism; the Holocaust; and the fraying of the social democratic post-war settlement. Nearly all of his novels – including the war novels – refer back to life in Hackney, and many have real-life locations: Shacklewell Lane Primary School, Ridley Road Market, Simpson’s Clothing Factory, Walford Road Synagogue, Coronation Avenue, and many other familiar streets and buildings.

    In recent years, six of Baron’s novels have been republished, and he is back in vogue. The Lowlife in particular, based in part on the author’s upbringing on Foulden Road, has been recognised as one of the commanding novels of post-war London. Interest in his life and books is strong; his novels are being taught. This walk – led by literary historian and critic, Susie Thomas, writer and broadcaster, Andrew Whitehead, and writer and social historian Ken Worpole (who knew Baron) – re-traces Baron’s steps on his home territory, discussing how his novels help us understand the turbulent history of Hackney’s street life and politics, before and after the catastrophe of the Second World War.

    Following the walk, there will be an opportunity to listen to an extract of an interview with Baron conducted by Ken Worpole in 1983 and to discuss Baron’s life and work. The walk will start and end at the Newington Green Meeting House.

  • 8th September 6-8pm – Join us for the film premiere of ‘The Meeting House’ a film directed and created by film-maker Edwin Miles this year – interviewing local people about their class consciousness and their relationship to Newington Green. Don’t forget explore the installation of photographer Jessica Pierre Ross and Mercedez Mendy’s new exhibition ‘Identities – a retrospective’ in our exhibition space upstairs too.

  • 9th September 12-3pm – A celebration of working class writing – hear from local researchers, poets and writers, sharing and reading their own work and discussing what it means and how it feels to write, share, read and discover working class writing and cultural production in our area. 

  • 9th September (ONLINE event, 6-7.30pm) ‘Not one homogenous lump’ – We’ll be joined by a panel of guests sharing their diverse experience of class and how this intersects with many other characteristics and experiences. Join us to hear from lived experience on how class intersects with race, mental health, living with disability, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and more. – This event will be recorded and released as a podcast on Spotify afterwards. There will be live auto-transcription at this event.

  • 9th September 8-11pm – Join speakers live in the Meeting House and beamed in from Belfast and Sheffield to explore national perspectives on the topic of ‘Fashion and Class’. From dissecting Mod and Mod revival culture and trying to get to its working class roots and how that plays out today, to learning more about how dress, poverty and working class culture intersect within Irish history – we will be skimming the surface of this fascinating topic. Guests include: Lucas Gomersall, Bob Morris, Eliza McKee, Mercedez Mendy and Jessica Pierre Ross. Stick around afterwards for a drink, mingle and to check out the installation of photographer Jessica Pierre Ross and Mercedez Mendy’s exhibition ‘Identities – a retrospective’ in our exhibition space upstairs too.

  • 10th September- (ONLINE event, 6-7.30pm) ‘How do we teach our working class history’ – We’ll be hearing from teachers, professors, researchers, historians and musicians on this important question. Featuring Three Acres and A Cow, teacher Seb Packham, Professor Edith Hall and more to be confirmed.

  • 11th September – Join us for a closing party of Common People, time to have a good old fashioned knees up! Live music from Common Sound, DJ’s, and your last chance to see Jessica Pierre Ross and Mercedez Mendy’s new exhibition ‘Identities – a retrospective’ in our exhibition space upstairs.

These events take place between the 3rd-11th September. When booking please select the events you would like to attend on the registration form. Booking is a £1 minimum donation and a £10 suggested donation for access to all events – apart from the Jelly Cleaver gig on the 3rd in which tickets are £12/£6 unwaged/student/disabled/carer.

Tickets available here

The Meeting House is a fully accessibly venue – please get in touch with the organiser below for more information on how we can ensure you can enjoy and access our full programme.

Please contact Amy Todd (organiser) at amy@new-unity.org for more information.

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