Since its foundation in 2013, the Social Movements Network has held two international conferences and is in the process of organising two further events.
Our inaugural event, “Generations of Protest: Marxism Matters?”, took place on 20-21 November 2013. The conference programme brought together a wide range of papers including work on Occupy and the ‘anarchist turn’ in social movement theory, theories of citizen journalism and active citizenship, the 2011 riots, memory and ideology in the Spanish Civil War, migrant solidarity collectives in Calais, Asian youth movements, and a number of other topics. The event also featured keynote speeches and two roundtables, which gave academics and activists the opportunity to discuss issues concerning contemporary political activism, post-abundance politics and industrial collapse.
The second event, “Anti-Fascism on Film”, was held on 20 February 2014 as part of the Cultural Exchanges programme at De Montfort University. Presentations and keynote addresses covered research on anti-fascism as represented in films such as Land and Freedom, Pan’s Labyrinth, Defiance, and The Zero Years, among other productions. Keynote addresses focused in particular on latent and manifest anti-fascism in Italian cinema, the Spanish Civil War in international cinemas, and on the representations and collective memory of the Spanish Civil War on television. The event also featured some of Vera Elkan’s rare footage of the International Brigade.
The Social Movements Network is now organising its third event, “Sites of Protest”, which will be held at Canterbury Christ Church University on 29 October 2014. This conference seeks to explore the concept of ‘sites’ of protest in broad terms, from street assemblies to creative work, and will also include a combination of theoretical and empirical analyses. Abstracts received so far cover critical discussions on Occupy, and Art, music and film as sites of protest. Other areas covered may include: Online and offline sites of protest; Social media: opportunities and limitations; Mobilizing people: following, liking, joining; Uses of public space; Building collective identities; Sites of protest and the State; Street assemblies; Occupy; Researching social movements on social media: methods and approaches.
“Sites of Protest” is partly funded by MeCCSA and by the Department of Media, Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University, so we have tried to keep the cost as low as possible. There is a fee of £20 which covers conference packs, lunch and refreshments. To register, please go to:
In addition, we are organising the event “Uprisings, Politics and Emotions: A Participatory Workshop” at Bournemouth University. This workshop will now take place in 2015 and more details will follow in coming months.
We are interested in receiving expressions of interest from social movements scholars who would like to contribute to the organisation of Network symposia or conferences. We want the Network to be as participatory as possible so we hope to develop dialogues with other bodies and research groups. You can subscribe to our mailing list by clicking on the link available at https://www.meccsa.org.uk/networks/social-movements-network/. If you would like to contact us, please email Ruth Sanz at: