Professor Joyce Canaan and Dr Rebecca Hillman

Joyce Canaan is a professor of sociology at Birmingham City University. She has a longstanding commitment, as an education activist, to explore how pedagogical processes can link theory and action for a socialist future. Her research focuses on how popular education in informal education spaces, and critical pedagogy within and against the neoliberal university, can help build educational processes that link, as Paulo Freire says, ‘the word and the world’, action and reflection for an anti-capitalist future. Joyce has recently begun researching and participating in projects with popular educators and critical pedagogues in Brazil.

Rebecca Hillman is a Drama lecturer at the University of Exeter. Her practice based research focuses on the history of art in the labour movement, theatrical processes as a tool for community organizing and instigating grassroots political activity, and the identification of effective practice for contemporary activist theatre-makers. She is also interested in the intersection of performance and activism, and how ‘acts’ of activism might be understood as performative events in their own right. She writes and directs experimental performances in conventional and found spaces, and formed theatre collective In Good Company in 2011 to analyse impacts of ‘austerity measures’ on her local community. Rehearsals were open to the public, who helped shape the process and performances.

Artists and Trade Unions

Drs Canaan and Hillman discussed Liberating Arts: Building an activist, interventionalist arts and trade union movement.