Play and its Potential Publics

Activity: Academic and Industrial eventsGuest lecture or Invited talk


I was invited to give a presentation at the Play and its Potential Publics symposium at UCL. My talk, ‘Policing Play: The Arts and/as Social Control in WWII’ used one of the key case studies from my postdoctoral project Revolutionary Red Tape—factory canteen concerts organised by the Ministry of Labour—to examine the fine line between state patronage of the arts and forms of social control.

In WWII, different classes of worker experienced different types of entertainment: if you were a female munitions worker, you might have heard an operatic aria or a violin concerto on your lunchbreak; if you were one of the ‘rougher’ class of manual workers, you might have been treated to music hall songs or a stand-up comedian. Was this decision to divide concerts according to gender and class a way of giving everyone a good time, or was it a way of keeping workers in their place?
Period14 Sept 2019
Held atUniversity College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom