Congratulations to two SOCLAS postgraduate students, Sarah Parry and Ian Gwinn, for being accepted onto the AHRC-funded HAPPEN scheme. The HAPPEN programme is a collaborative scheme in conjunction with Culture Campus Liverpool designed to encourage public engagement and cultural exchange between PhD researchers and cultural institutions in Liverpool.

Sarah’s research focuses on the changing perception of the Latin American region, not only within the academic world, but also in the popular imagination, taking into account the role that film and literature have in creating and reinforcing these perceptions. She is looking at the way in which a number of texts (literary and cinematic) from the region deal with the theme of urban violence, and compares this with the way in which the texts have been marketed.

As part of the programme Sarah will be working with FACT, a Liverpool-based cinema, art gallery and the UK’s leading organisation for the support & exhibition of film, art and new media.

It is an exciting time at FACT, as the organisation puts the final touches to a new educational space, as well as a number of projects directed towards engagement with the public, including a new exhibition with the aim of allowing members of the public to create their own small exhibitions for a short time period, as well as a new social media programme which will allow members of the public to upload their own work and share with others.

Ian’s research focuses on the History Workshop movement and its role in the development of radical and oppositional forms of historical scholarship and pedagogy in Britain and Germany from the 1960s onwards. One of the key aims of his research is to explore the often problematic interface between the academic and non-academic realm, particularly with regard to their respective ways of knowing and engaging the past.

As part of the programme, Ian will be working with the Bluecoat, a ‘creative hub’ for visual art, music, dance, live art and literature, that encourages participation from both artists and communities alike. This year has been designated the year of ‘Radicals’ in Liverpool and a series of events has been organised in which the Bluecoat will be centrally involved. As Ian’s own research examines the history of 20th Century radical and left-wing thought in Britain, he hopes to be able to contribute ideas to this project and to use it as an opportunity through which to communicate his research to a wider public audience.