Back to school from a holiday in the slums!: Images, words and inequalities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


In the late 1960s and early 1970s SHELTER produced a series of campaign pamphlets aimed at raising public awareness of homelessness in the United Kingdom. Back to school from a holiday in the slums! was one such pamphlet which, using a mixture of photographic images and oral testimony, posed a series of questions about the relationship between living in unfit and overcrowded housing and poor educational performance. The school environment was 'a change and a comfort' for children living in slums, but school teachers and social workers were asked if such children had any chance of success as they came each day 'from housing conditions so oppressive that their capacity for education ... [was] severely restricted'. On the basis of these interviews SHELTER concluded that their childhood was 'a time of lost opportunity'. Back to school from a holiday in the slums! is used in this article to explore the dialogue between the image and the word and the representation of inequalities.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-30
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • poverty, housing, representation, childhood, photography