Culture Matters

Culture Matters

Gwrthryfel / Uprising: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Wales
Friday, 06 May 2022 14:38

Gwrthryfel / Uprising: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Wales

Published in Poetry

Gwrthryfel / Uprising takes us on a journey to the heart of Cymru. Edited by Merthyr writer Mike Jenkins, co-editor of ‘Red Poets’ magazine, with artwork by Gus Payne, this ambitious anthology of radical poetry explores Cymru’s history, hardships, rebellions and resistances. The book is sponsored by Merthyr Trades Council, the GMB union, and Left Unity Cymru.

It opens with three poems directly about the 1831 Rising, ‘an extremely significant working-class revolt” according to Professor Gwyn A. Williams. A range of historical and current themes are covered in the anthology, by eighty poets including Kitty Jay, Phil Howells, Malcolm Llywelyn, Rebecca Lowe, Alun Rees, Laura Wainwright, John Williams, and many others. There are also a number of poems in Welsh by renowned poets such as Ifor ap Glyn and Menna Elfyn.

It is an anthology of and for our troubled times.

Here, rebellious poets draw from that common history, common culture, and common desire to speak truth to the world, showing that we, the people of Wales, y werin Gymreig, have the fire of dragons in our words. Through these words the reader is taken from coal mines to political discourse, from coronavirus to historic heroes, from mountains to valleys, through towns, villages and cities. Words dug from mines, hewn from quarries, herded from hillsides and forged from furnaces—here be dragons.

Here are 21st century bards using the ancient magic of poetry to bring home the fight—the fight against imperialism, against injustice, against discrimination. Not just in Cymru, but the world over.

Why? Because an injury to one is an injury to all / un yn dioddef, pawb yn dioddef.

                                                                                              — from the Foreword by Peter Jones

Gwrthryfel / Uprising: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Wales, edited by Mike Jenkins, £12 inc. p. and p., 180pps., 4 colour illustrations, ISBN 978-1-912710-48-5. 


Culture For All: Why Theatre Matters
Monday, 18 April 2022 19:14

Culture For All: Why Theatre Matters

Published in Theatre

As part of the Culture for All series, supported by the Communication Workers Union, we're proud to present a short film about why theatre matters, by Ed Edwards

Why Theatre Matters

by Ed Edwards

Like every sector of society over the 30 years since the disastrous rise of Thatcherism and the economic devastation it has brought to Britain, culture has taken a big hit. Ideas that years ago seemed insanely right wing are now considered normal, such as cutting social security to the point where tens of thousands are losing their shelter and people with serious diseases are walking miles to food banks on a daily basis. While the richest increase their income and pay no tax, the rest of us face insecurity and misery.

And while this disaster unfolds the means of communication are getting further and further out of reach of the ordinary people. Lies and deceit are everywhere. The free press, which should probably be called “the very expensive press” based on what they pay Fleet Street hacks, seems more like a pack of attack dogs chewing up truth, while the few sane voices are drowned in the sea of disinformation. It seems to me, after many years working as a professional script writer that our culture has been as badly deformed by the dictates of The Big Dollar as socialist art and culture was under Stalinism. Instead of asking how do we please the censor, a modern TV producer has to ask: how to we make money out of this?

Yet in the middle of all this, British theatre – before lockdown of course – and hopefully again after lock down – has remained something of an oasis in the cultural desert. Rather than sanitised, or frankly stupid entertainment, or glittery distortions and fantasies, theatre has remained a place where audiences can often see work that tells the truth, or explores alternative views and sometimes sticks two fingers up at the system. I’m not talking about the array of musicals here, which have sprung up these last couple of decades, some of which are undoubtedly very entertaining, but which usually aspire to no more than to become billion dollar shows. I’m talking about struggling local theatres and travelling theatre companies, often run by people who are struggling economically and will probably one day have to leave the industry to earn money somehow, somewhere else, but are still for now clinging to the dream of a better life and a better society.

Most of these theatre groups and buildings are funded out of public money. They somehow manage to cling to the notion that our cultural life matters for reasons other than profit making, that truthful words can change the world and that the airing of radical and different views is a vital part of our lives. And yes, you need money to make a show that can enter this realm of debate and feeling – and even ecstasy – but you need a hell of a lot less than you do to make a Netflix show, or a movie, or a billion dollar musical. So somehow, the tradition lives on. Yes theatre struggles to publicise itself, yes a lot of it happens in London, yes some of it is “up itself”, but there’s a lot of amazing theatre out there still all over the country and if you look for it you will find it. Theatre can still turn your world upside down. It can change the life of the young, as it did mine.

I’ve seen fantastically entertaining and moving plays in recent years about child abuse, zero hours contracts and casualisation. About racism, domestic violence, prisons, crime, foreign policy disasters, corruption, immigration, pollution and war. I myself wrote a play called The Political History of Smack and Crack that made the link between the advent of Thatcherism, the 1981 inner city riots that see their fortieth anniversary this year and the massive heroin epidemic that followed in its wake. Sounds heavy, yes? Actually it was a wild comedy that still made people cry at the end.

Make no mistake about it. The pandemic will give the current government a great big excuse to continue their ravenous eternal austerity drive. They have every intention of cutting deeper and deeper into the money they currently pay to every sector and will use every device to divide us against one another. Every penny they cut will go to pay off the billionaires who will use the disaster to continue their takeover of everything. They will say, “How can you expect us to pay for grassroots football, or TV licences for the elderly, or theatre when we’re having to make “tough decisions” like cutting disabled benefits and closing hospitals.

The real truth is there is more than enough out there to go around. They don’t need to cut a thing. All the debts can be paid by collecting due taxes off the corporations that are talking over everything and especially the means of communications – plus a little more on income tax. It’s actually very simple. But the people who control the airwaves would have you believe there isn’t. We have to stand together to protect every inch of ground against those that would tear it out from under our feet.

We have to fight to keep theatre relevant. To let people in who are currently shut out. We have to fight to make work that challenges an increasingly - and I don't know what else to call it - fascistic system.

In fact, I’m going to write a play about this!


Culture for All: Why Art Matters
Monday, 18 April 2022 19:08

Culture for All: Why Art Matters

Published in Visual Arts

 As part of the Culture for All series, supported by the Communication Workers Union, we're proud to present a short film about visual art, written by John Molyneux. Image above: Käthe Kollwitz, Tower of Mothers, 1937/1938.


Culture for All: Why Religion Matters
Friday, 15 April 2022 09:03

Culture for All: Why Religion Matters

Published in Religion

As part of the Culture for All series, supported by the Communication Workers Union, we're proud to present a short film about religion, written by James Crossley. 

Why Religion Matters

by James Crossley

Religious ideas have been central to human culture and society for thousands of years. They have been the inspiration behind art, architecture, and epic literature from the Bible to the Qur’an, from Homer’s Odyssey to Icelandic sagas.

Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with them or not, religious ideas have influenced systems of morality and our very understandings of life and death.

Traditional expressions of religion are still with us. Today, people will experience religious buildings and ceremonies at weddings and funerals—or even when visiting a historic town. But even in twenty-first-century Britain where church attendance is in years long decline, religious-related ideas remain widespread, such as in beliefs in the afterlife, guardian angels, horoscopes, or alternative spiritualities. Many popular sayings in English are from the Bible. Think of ‘eye for an eye’, ‘love thy neighbour’, Good Samaritan, ‘the blind leading the blind’, ‘cast the first stone’, ‘eat drink and be merry’, ‘writing on the wall’, and many more.

We all know that religion has justified acts of bigotry and even extreme brutality. Even to this day, we only need think of groups like ISIS, American presidents going to war with the enthusiastic backing of Christian fundamentalists, or far right attacks on Muslims on the basis of their religion supposedly being incompatible with the values of a supposedly Christian country.

In this country, the medieval church justified the social hierarchy, class relations, and oppression with reference to God, theology, and the Bible. This has even been updated to be relevant for today’s ruling class—the austerity measures under David Cameron’s governments were justified with reference to a Thatcherite reading of the Bible in favour of charity rather than a strong welfare state. 

Liberatiuon Theology and revolutionary change

But religion has also inspired reactions against the ruling class. Liberation Theology in Latin America emerged in opposition to American imperialism where religion and the interests of workers and peasants has gone hand-in-hand and where priests have even been murdered for taking a stand.

Radical traditions can be found arguably in any religious tradition, particularly when attacking landowners and the wealthy, demanding care for the poorest in society, and providing a community as protection for the individual. These common ideas across religious traditions can be taken not only in reformist directions but used to justify more revolutionary change. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism (and no doubt many more) have long traditions noting the connections between their teachings and Marxism or socialism—sometimes to the point that they are seen as one and the same thing.

And while religious capitalists preach a gospel of wealth being as a result of hard work and a sign of being blessed by God, religion has simultaneously provided opposition to this fantasy by also being used on the side of the workers. The rise of the labour movement in Britain owed much to Christian and Jewish socialists with their traditions of combatting poverty, homelessness, and deprivation and a hope for a transformed world sometimes labelled a New Jerusalem.

And that religion has been part of the labour movement should be no surprise given our national history where religion has been integral to any number of revolutionary movements. Think, for instance, of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 inspired by ideas from the Bible about social equality and a time when all things would be shared in common. Or think of the English Revolution of the seventeenth century and the advancements made in democratic thought and visionary ideas of a better future by religious figures from outside the established church.

Religion isn’t automatically good or bad, pro- or anti-worker, revolutionary or reactionary, any more than film or literature are. But it can be all these things because it is an integral part of human culture and society, a shared language.

'Religion is the opium of the people'

Karl Marx got religion right, though maybe not in the way many people think. Marx famously claimed that religion is ‘the opium of the people’. This is popularly understood as an outright attack on religion as manipulation. But if we read the fuller version of the saying we see that Marx knew how complicated religion could be: ‘The wretchedness of religion,’ he stressed, ‘is at once an expression of and protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.’

This is why even some atheists have embraced the more revolutionary parts of religion as a way of understanding what a better world would look like and how to achieve it. People like William Morris—who had long given up his faith by the time he was active in politics—saw the values of solidarity, community, and pride in work emerging from our shared religious heritage, ideas which should not be lost and could now challenge and help overthrow the uncaring individualism of capitalism. We should not underestimate the appeal of these values in an era when loneliness has thrived as a consequence of contemporary capitalism.

In everyday practices we see the connections made between non-religious and religious people—campaigning on housing, welfare, and poverty regularly involves people from churches and mosques working alongside agnostics and atheists. No matter how their values are personally justified, the reason why such people can work together is that they clearly do have shared beliefs, goals, and concerns about the devastation caused by a class-ridden society.

People from whatever tradition who interpret their religion in such ways—whether committed members of a radical religious community or casual believer—are potentially part of any response to a heartless world as much as agnostics and atheists who likewise want to overturn class oppression. This should not mean accepting any views—reactionary views must be challenged, religious or otherwise. And the labour movement cannot promote this or that religion and will remain central in opposing ongoing imperialist and capitalist versions of religion. But the trade unions and the labour movement are now the main custodians of those inherited and shared values of solidarity and community which will one day transform the world.  

Culture for All: Why Jazz Matters
Monday, 11 April 2022 12:01

Culture for All: Why Jazz Matters

Published in Music

 As part of the Culture for All series, supported by the Communication Workers Union, we're proud to present a short film about jazz written by Chris Searle, with voiceover provided by Mike Quille. 

Why Jazz Matters

by Chris Searle

I grew up in the skiffle and trad era of the 1950s, when the songs and sounds of Southern black Americans and white radicals like Woody Guthrie became almost mainstream. One of my favourites was the Ken Colyer band. Colyer was a merchant seaman who had jumped ship in New Orleans and played his trumpet there, with its finest musicians. His experiences of virtual apartheid in the city and the racist barriers facing his beloved musicians increased his radicalism, and he and his band marched to Aldermaston on giant demonstrations, protesting against nuclear weapons.

Such experiences taught me that jazz and the blues was the music of black working people, and there was no separation between music and ordinary working life. Songs like King Oliver's 'Working Man's Blues', Freddie Keppard's 'Stockyards Strut', Louis Armstrong's 'Coal Cart Blues', Duke Ellington's 'Stevedore Stomp', Bessie Smith's 'Washwoman's Blues' and Clara Smith's 'Strugglin' Woman's Blues' encompassed a world of work, hardship and struggle. The depth of their poetry of sound and word made me realise that this music was about the real world, and the musicians' powerful quest to humanise and improve it.

I listened to the early records of Ellington, and his radicalism and condemnation of Jim Crow racism in works like 'Jump for Joy' or 'Across the Track Blues'. There were also performances like his trumpeter Rex Stewart playing his tune 'Menelik', a compelling protest against the invasion of Ethiopia by Mussolini's Italian fascists.

I also followed the big band genius Count Basie and heard his expose of Southern racism in his 'It's the Same Old South', or his union with Paul Robeson singing 'King Joe', a 1941 praisesong to another great black boxer, Joe Louis. A parallel consciousness was revealed in the performance of Billie Holiday, who had sung with the Basie Orchestra. When I heard her singing the seethingly angry anti-lynching protest song 'Strange Fruit', accompanied by the trumpeter and Marxist Frankie Newton, it became even clearer that jazz was at the very centre of black people’s political protests.

This continued with musicians like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and the great drummer Max Roach, whose records embraced Civil Rights protest and the cry for racial justice. His 1960 album 'We Insist! The Freedom Now Suite', with the sleeve photograph of a group of black activists desegregating a Southern diner, was emblematic of Roach's proud music.

During the 1960s and 1970s the Civil Rights Movement cut a path right through jazz, as dozens of tunes and albums supported and evoked the relentless campaigning. They included

-        Dolphy's excruciating solo on Kurt Weill's 'Alabama Song' on the 1964 Sextet of Orchestra U.S.A. album;

-        trumpeter Blue Mitchell's 'March on Selma' on his 'Down With It!' album of 1965;

-        bassist Charles Mingus’ burlesque 'Fables of Faubus', which lampooned Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas, who, with members of the National Guard had blocked the entry of nine black children to Central High School, Little Rock;

-        John Coltrane's 'Alabama', from his quartet album 'Live at Birdland', mourned the racist murder of four schoolgirls, blown up in their Birmingham church as they prepared for Sunday School.

Mingus' contemporary, saxophonist Archie Shepp, is another dedicated musical revolutionary. Albums like 'Fire Music', 'On this Night' and 'Attica Blues' of 1972  which included his epochal 'Blues for Brother George Jackson' fused insurgent jazz aspirations and political struggle, often with incendiary vocals:

Rise up you starved and toiling masses
My brothers, sisters all.
We cannot fail, justice is our avenging angel, 
All hail the bird of truth.
Come soon that day
When slaves break their chains,
And the worker's voice resounds.
Give back the valleys, steppes and plains,
They are mine! They are mine!

Shepp's internationalism was echoed in the music of Carla Bley and bassist Charlie Haden, who jointly formed the Liberation Music Orchestra in 1969. They fused Civil Rights anthems with songs from the Spanish Civil War, a praise-tune to Che Guevara, and Ornette Coleman's lament for the children of Vietnam, 'War Orphans'.

Their track 'Circus '68 '69' satirised the Democratic Party congress of 1968, and its support for the war in Vietnam. Successive L.M.O. albums spread out to support for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua with Haden's tune 'Sandino', their championing of South Africa's liberation from apartheid with their version of 'Nkosi Sikelel'i Afrika', their solidarity with the Portuguese Revolution in 1974 with 'Grandola Vila Morena' and the people of El Salvador in 'The Ballad of the Fallen'.

In the sixties many tunes of protest against the war were recorded by jazz musicians. The great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard recorded an entire album memorialising the fallen of the massacred Vietnamese village of My Lai in the astonishing sounds of his suite 'Sing Me a Song Of Songmy'.

While this musical militancy was at the centre of U.S. jazz, in South Africa the music had taken root with new forms and folk genres in the townships. Outstanding musicians like altoist Kippie Moeketsi, trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim developed a powerfully African version of the music, while apartheid forced many conscious and brilliant artistes to become musical refugees.

Now, as I listen to the new generations of jazz musicians, transformed by the ever-growing participation of superb women virtuosi, I hear new human power, democratic intent and revolutionary configurations of sound. In their performances they embrace the issues and struggles of all of us living in the real world, and their music seeks to find creative, radical and humane answers.

I leave it to the words of great music-maker Charlie Haden, writing in the sleeve notes of the first Liberation Music Orchestra album of 1969:

This music is dedicated to creating a better world; a world without war and killing; without poverty and exploitation. We hope to see a new society of enlightenment and wisdom where creative thought becomes the most dominant force in all people's lives.

Jazz is real music about real life: that’s why jazz matters.

Culture for All: Why Football Matters
Friday, 08 April 2022 13:12

Culture for All: Why Football Matters

Published in Sport

Next up in our series of short films about culture and cultural democracy is a film by Martin Cloake on football, followed by the text of his talk

Football is the great passion for so many of us. Going to the match is an escape, a chance to be a part of a community, a connection with memories and traditions and people we value. And, despite the efforts of some, it’s still a game where the outcome isn’t known in advance. It’s the hope that gets you, as we always say.

We need to value it more, this thing of ours. Because it is still ours, however much the modern game seems bent out of shape. We worry that it’s a business, but it became a business largely to make sure it was accessible to ordinary people. If players weren’t paid, the only people who could play when the game was first being established were those who could afford not to be paid. Gentleman amateurs not paid professionals.

Football and Progressive Politics

I’ve always thought football illustrates one of the key challenges for progressive politics. We worry about the making of money when we should worry more about what is done with the money we make. It’s the fans who save clubs when business interests give up on them, because fans realise the true value of the business. The disconnect comes when the business becomes just about making money, rather than about making money to make a better business.

But why do we talk so much about feeling a lack of connection? It’s because we still value the game, our clubs, the feelings the activity of going to the match generates. It’s a spectator sport, but one of the things we value most is the physical participation in the spectacle. Being there is important. And people being there is important to the ‘product’ that is sold on TV. The crowd plays a bigger part in football than any other sport.

Football without fans is nothing has become a bit of a cliché. But we’ve recently seen that games played in front of empty stands don’t provide the same quality of product. Fans count. We play our part. We need to assert ourselves more.

The clubs we built can be bought and sold by anyone who claims to have the money. And once they have bought in, club owners are under no obligation to retain the colours, the badge, the name or even the club’s location. They take business decisions designed to get rich quick, and then blame the fans for wanting success too fast when it goes wrong. And when it goes wrong, it’s the fans who are left to sort it out.

The worst thing we can do is accept that football is just another product. The fact that the culture we created is used so often to sell the game we made back to us shows that those doing the selling recognise the power we have.

Our game is too important to be left to business interests to buy and sell like a product on a shelf. It’s too important to be left unregulated and unprotected. We need to preserve the integrity of competition in the face of business interests that want to guarantee success. We need to recognise that clubs are the products of communities and what community means today. We need to cherish and defend the health of the collective game, to recognise that while our clubs compete there is a common interest in every club thriving. We need to harness the power of the game to bring people together and achieve good things.

Cultural democracy in football

Above all, we need to see ourselves as active participants. Get involved in your club supporters' group. Believe you have a right to question and hold accountable the people who make decisions. Make good football governance an issue that our Members of Parliament take seriously. Believe you have the right and the ability to influence the way the game we created is run.

You can trace a social, economic and political history of our country by reading the names of its football clubs. That’s part of the reason the game is so embedded. It’s part of what we are. And it gives us a chance to express our identity and our ingenuity.

Football was once described as the most important of the unimportant things. And it is. It’s easy not to love much of what the game has become, but the fact that you’re still watching this five minutes after I said the word football says something. Our game means something to us, because it’s still the people’s game.

Culture for All
Wednesday, 23 March 2022 16:17

Culture for All

Published in Cultural Commentary

Over the last year Culture Matters has been commissioning a series of short films about cultural democracy, called culture for all. The films cover a range of cultural topics, including the arts like poetry, film, theatre and music, and also other cultural activities like sport, religion, the media and videogames. The films were made by Carl Joyce and Mike Quille, with the support of the Communication Workers Union. We will be uploading them onto our website over the next few weeks, together with the text of the talk.

Here is the introductory video......

....and here is a video on the media, by Professor Natalie Fenton, followed by the text of her talk. 

Why the Media Matters

By Natalie Fenton

 We live in a society full of information and entertainment, coming at us from all kinds of media. The TV we watch, the radio we listen to, the newspapers we read, the content we consume online, are a crucial part of our daily lives. From watching ‘Strictly’ to getting our daily diet of news, our media are a source of pleasure as well as a means of education and information.

The media we consume stimulate conversations and provide collective experiences – from the televising of the football or the Olympics – to gaining knowledge about the Coronavirus Pandemic – to figuring out who to vote for and how we build our own identities. The very ideas and concepts that people use to make sense of an increasingly confusing world are to some extent dependent on the images and frameworks offered by the media.

So it matters who owns, controls and produces this content. It matters how messages are communicated and the sorts of values, beliefs and forms of understanding that the media promote at any one time. It matters which voices are excluded to the preference of others; who or what is marginalised or misrepresented; which sets of ideas are prioritised and which are neglected.

Ownership of newspapers is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires. Newspapers continue to set the news agenda of the nation yet just 3 companies dominate 90% of the UK’s national newspaper market, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, DMG Media and Reach. Concentration of ownership creates conditions in which wealthy individuals and organisations amass huge political, economic and cultural power and distort the media landscape to suit their interests.

The same happens online. Our digital media space is dominated by a few unregulated tech companies and social media platforms. Apple is the first trillion-dollar company in history. Jeff Bezos, founder and owner of Amazon, is the richest person in history. In 2018 his net wealth increased by $400 million a day. These corporations – the likes of Facebook, Google, and Amazon – form the largest oligopolies the world has ever seen.

They exist to make money out of advertising – they seduce us onto their platforms, monitor our behaviour and then sell that information back to advertisers so that they can target their goods more precisely. These tech giants exercise considerable gatekeeping power over how UK audiences discover, access and consume media content constantly adjusting their search algorithms to maximise their advertising revenue. And although some independent media are flourishing online, their business models are precarious and their audiences tiny compared to legacy national media like the Mailonline, that benefit from algorithms that prioritise well-known brands. 

The BBC is still a powerful presence, but a decade of funding freezes has kept its budget far below that of its immediate domestic and international competitors. Over the last 3 decades its independence from government has also been steadily eroded and its programme making increasingly commercialised. Boris Johnson is threatening further cuts to its funding, and suggesting he might sell off Channel 4. So unsurprisingly, the editorial culture of the BBC has become increasingly Conservative.

And two rival news channels – GB News and News UK TV (from the owners of the Sun, The Times and Times Radio) – will launch soon. Murdoch’s move back into British TV will only increase his already tremendous power over UK politics.

This is bad news for democracy. Major shocks like the coronavirus pandemic have made it clearer than ever how much we need public media – accountable media institutions, run in the public interest, which help a divided society talk to each other and hold the powerful to account. ‘Public media’ are media institutions that act in the public interest, rather than the interests of politicians and governments, billionaire owners or powerful corporations. In the UK today, public media are the best of public broadcasting, as well as independent media cooperatives and democratically-run community media.

Public media are essential to a functioning democracy, and for facing the huge challenges of the 21st century. Our current media system is very far from this ideal, which is why we have to fight for change and for cultural democracy in the media. One vital area for change is access to the internet. 11% of the UK population still does not have access to the internet at home – that’s 7.5m people – more than the combined population of the cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Leicester and Nottingham.

Many do not have the appropriate device, quality of connection or required skills to make use of digital technologies and services. Digital exclusion extends to all of life – access to work, quality of education, availability of healthcare, costs of goods and services and the ability to connect with loved ones as well as voice, information and political participation.

Studies also show that the varying forms of political participation online correlate to social class and educational achievement. In other words, although half of the world may now be online, those using the internet for political purposes are still largely middle-class and well educated.

So what can we do?

Firstly, we need to lobby government for regular media plurality reviews that will ensure plurality of media ownership and redress existing concentrations to deliver a rich mix of media at both local and national level.

Ensuring plurality also means ensuring our media serve a more diverse set of interests. So we need to encourage alternative models of media ownership such as co-operatives and employee buyouts that promote equality and financial security over shareholder returns through offering tax relief and direct subsidies for media that function in the public interest and not for profit.

Social media and other fundamental media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google need to be brought under public ownership and control, in various national and international ways.

We need our media to be fully accountable to the public they serve through independent and effective regulation so they can no longer be discriminatory and cause harm.

We need to ensure equality of access to careers in the media for working-class people, women, people of colour and others who are systematically excluded from sustainable, satisfying careers in TV and broadcasting, newspapers and publishing as well as online provision.

We need to ensure equal and fair representation of working-class people, women and people of colour and others who have historically been under-represented and unfairly represented in the media.

We need a more democratic, diverse and devolved public service broadcasting that is fully independent of government and fully representative of all UK citizens.

And we need free broadband for all.

We need these changes now – there can be no meaningful democracy without media reform.

The Media Democracy Festival is on Saturday 26th March, see here.

Thursday, 07 November 2019 09:48

Round Up

Published in Round-up

There are three important callouts on our Poetry page: for the Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2024, for two poetry workshops run by Jenny Mitchell which are linked to the Award, and for a new anthology of Welsh radical poetry, to be edited by Mike Jenkins.

Our latest book is Orgreave Stations by William Hershaw, see Poetry and Books sections for further details. 

We run this site and publish books on the thinnest of shoestrings, so any and all donations to defray costs would be gratefully received, if you can afford it — see the Support page.



Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:45

Contributors to Culture Matters

Published in About us

The editors would like to thank all the contributors for the material sent in to us.

Mark Abel is a musician and a trade union activist. He teaches history and philosophy at University of Brighton.

Matt Abbott is a spoken word poet from West Yorkshire. Having started a few weeks before his 18th birthday, his career has so far ranged from a major record deal with the band Skint & Demoralised, through to political activism, education work and forming spoken word record label Nymphs & Thugs. He is an ambassador for Trinity Homeless Projects and CRIBS International, as well as Poet-in-Residence at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.

Jim Aitken is a poet and dramatist living and working in Edinburgh. He is a tutor in Scottish Cultural Studies with Adult Education and he organises literary walks around the city. He is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.

Nathan Akehurst is a socialist activist and freelance writer, working in campaigns and communications.

Roaa Ali is Research Associate (Cultural Production and Consumption), University of Manchester.

Sarah Alderton is an Assistant Nutritionist at Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar & Health, an organisation working to reach an agreement with the government and food industry over the harmful effects of high salt and sugar intakes and bring about a reduction to the amount in processed foods. 

Scott Alsworth is a video game developer, political activist, and reviewer for the Morning Star. He lives in Norfolk and manages a co-development studio. 

Tayo Aluko is a writer, actor and singer based in Liverpool. His two Paul Robeson plays are Paul Robeson's Love Song (for radio) and Call Mr. Robeson (for stage). See

Chris Amos is a professional playwright, actor and director working largely with young people and people with special needs. He lives on the Grand Union Canal and performs his poetry as THE RED LIGHTERMAN. He is a proud veteran of the 1984-85 Miners' Strike.

Keith Armstrong has worked as a community worker, librarian, publisher and poet, and has performed his poetry throughout the world. 

Ruth Aylett lives and works in Edinburgh and has been a political and trade union activist since her teens. Her pamphlets Pretty in PInk (4Word) and Queen of Infinite Space (Maytree), published in 2021, focus on the lives of women. As an expert in AI and Robotics, she also writes on technology and its impacts.

Lyndsey Ayre won New Writing North’s inaugural Sid Chaplin award for Working-Class Writers. She has an interest in challenging stereotypical perceptions of working-class communities and culture.

Alain Badiou is a French philosopher, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure and founder of the faculty of Philosophy of the Université de Paris VIII with Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Jean-François Lyotard. 

Nicholas Baldion is a social realist artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the UK, including the Peoples' History Museum, the Jewish Museum, The Mall Galleries as well as numerous commercial galleries. 

Jon Baldwin is Senior Lecturer in Film and Digital Media at London Metropolitan University. He recently edited a film/television special edition of the Journal of Class and Culture.

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg spent four years putting on radical folk gigs up and down the country, and still occasionally volunteers to organise a show. He likes socialism, trains and exquisite song-craft. He dislikes jazz music, gardening and the European Union. 

Sarah Barrington did a stint as a drug worker, worked for ten years in IT, wrote songs and sang in a band and has given birth to three bright and beautiful children. For over a decade now, she has taught English, currently leading a department in a secondary school in Birmingham. She has been writing poetry and prose for forty years but has only recently ventured to share it. 

Philip Berry is a practising NHS hospital doctor and writer. He has explored medical error and recent healthcare inquiries in his books Necessary Scars and The Golden Thread. Website:

David Betteridge is the author of a collection of poems celebrating Glasgow and its radical traditions, 'Granny Albyn's Complaint', published by Smokestack Books in 2008. He is also the editor of a compilation of poems, songs, prose memoirs, photographs and cartoons celebrating the 1971-2 UCS work-in on Clydeside. This book, called 'A Rose Loupt Oot', was published by Smokestack Books in 2011.

Ian Birchall is a writer and translator; see his website at 

Pam Bishop runs Sing Political and the Political Songster, encouraging people to write and sing songs for our times.

Roland Boer is a distinguished professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Renmin University of China, Beijing. 

Becky Bone is a mature student, studying a Creative Writing and English BA at Birkbeck University. She works part-time with children as a creative arts facilitator.

Mina Boromand and Chris Bird create art and cartoons for 'The Morning Star' newspaper and trade union publications, hoping to connect political action to creativity and imagination. They have organised exhibitions and displays at the Marx Memorial Library and other events such as the annual Red Star conference. 

Philip Bounds is a historian, journalist and critic. He holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Wales and is the author of a number of books, including Orwell and Marxism (2009), British Communism and the Politics of Literature (2012) and Notes from the End of History (2014).

Dr Emma Boyland is a lecturer in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. She is part of the appetite and obesity research group, which addresses behavioural and psychological processes that govern appetite expression - see

Glenn Bradford is a poet and short story writer based in Sutton-in-Ashfield. He works for Royal Mail, and takes inspiration from the people and places he sees whilst out delivering the post. In some ways he genuinely is a man of letters.

Ross Bradshaw runs the radical Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham.

Peter Branson is a full time poet, songwriter, traditional-style singer and socialist whose poetry has been published around the world. His latest collection, ‘Hawk Rising’, is due out early 2016. 

Phil Brett is a primary school teacher, who has written two novels (Comrades Come Rally and Gone Underground) set in a revolutionary Britain of the near future. In between planning lessons and marking, he is writing the third.  

Geoff Bright is a Research Fellow in the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. With a background as a rail union activist and community educator in the UK coalfields, his research focuses on the intersection of class, place, gender and affect as it impacts on the political imagination of working class communities. 

Jack Brindelli is an unrepentant Marxist working as a business journalist in Amsterdam. When he isn't employed as a living paradox, Jack runs Indy Film Library, a platform providing a platform for independent artists and vital feedback for first-time filmmakers.

Dennis Broe's latest book is Diary of a Digital Plague Year: Coronavirus, Serial TV and The Rise of The Streaming Services. He is also the author of Birth of the Binge: Serial TV and The End of Leisure. His TV series blog is Bro on The Global Television Beat. His radio commentary can be heard on his show Breaking Glass on Art District Radio in Paris and on Arts Express on the Pacifica Network in the U.S. He is the author of two novels: Left of Eden, about the Hollywood blacklist and A Hello to Arms, about the postwar buildup of the weapons industry. He is currently teaching in the Masters' Program at the Ecole Superieure de Journalisme. He is an arts critic and correspondent for the Morning Star and for Crime Time, People’s World and Culture Matters, where he is an associate editor.

Andrew Brown is a religious naturalist, Unitarian minister in Cambridge, hermeneutic communist, jazz bass player, photographer, cyclist and Thoreauvian walker. 

Mollie Brown is an activist, student and mother, and an Associate Editor of Culture Matters. She works with the North East Peoples' Assembly, The Othergen, Newcastle Unites, National Assembly of Women, Tyne and Wear Mayday committee and the Peoples' Bookshop collective  in Durham. 

Ron Brown is an activist, teacher and musician, and an Associate Editor of Culture Matters. He works with the Musicians’ Union, Newcastle Unites, Newcastle Trades Council, The Othergen and Tyne and Wear Mayday committee.

Matt Bruce is an architect who moved to Lewis in 1987 and worked in both public and private sectors and then on housing development in the islands' council. He is now retired but active in a number of community organisations. 

Rip Bulkeley is a semi-retired research historian and non-retired poet.

Jane Burn is a widely piublished poet and an Associate Editor of Culture Matters

Linda Burnett, born in West Yorkshire and a former teacher in Nottinghamshire, has had several of her poems published in anthologies, including at Sentinel, Milestones, The Poem of the North, and Bread and Roses Poetry Award anthologies.

Andy Byford is Professor of Russian at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He has published on the history of the human sciences in Russia across the late tsarist and early Soviet periods. 

Luke Callinan is a Left Republican from south County Roscommon, Ireland. His main interests are Irish literature and history. 

Craig Campbell is a freelance writer from Hartlepool. He has been published by the Northern Echo, the Football Pink and The Move mag amongst many others. 'Line Drawings' is his first collection of short stories.

Louisa Campbell has two published mental-health-related poetry pamphlets: The Happy Bus (Picaroon Poetry, 2017), and The Ward (Paper Swans Press, 2018). Her first full collection of poems, Beautiful Nowhere, is about a traumatic childhood, leading to becoming both mental health nurse and patient, and will be published in May 2021 by Boatwhistle Books. She lives in Kent, England. 

Neil Campbell is from Manchester, England. His latest book is Licensed Premises

Stuart Cartland Ph.D is a teaching Fellow at Sussex university, whose thesis was on Discourses of Englishness in the contemporary era. 

Graham Caveney is the author of biographies of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg (both published by Bloomsbury) His memoir The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness will be published by Picador in the spring of 2017.

Prudence Chamberlain is a Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing. Her first collection is forthcoming with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, while her collaborative work with SJ Fowler, on Disney, will be released later this year. She is currently writing a book on affect and the fourth wave of feminism for Palgrave Macmillan.

 Amarjit Chandan is a noted Punjabi poet and essayist. He is the author of eight collections of poetry and three books of essays in Punjabi (in the Gurmukhi and the Persian script) and one book of poetry in English translation.

Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD is a writer, translator, founder of the Sangha Kommune, and Spiritual Director of the Chan Buddhism Institute.

Monique Charles is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Warwick.

Sarah Clancy is a poet from Galway, Ireland. Her last two collections of poetry are ‘Thanks for Nothing, Hippies' and ‘The Truth and Other Stories’ published by Salmon Poetry. In 2015 she was named the Bogman's Cannon People's Poet.

Richard Clarke works at Westminster Business School, Birkbeck College, and runs a consultancy in heritage management. 

Geraldine Clarkson is from the UK Midlands, with roots in the west of Ireland. Her work is featured in Witches, Warriors, Workers: An anthology of contemporary working women's poetry (Culture Matters, 2020), and her first full collection is Monica's Overcoat of Flesh (Nine Arches Press 2020).

Martin Cloake is a journalist, award-winning author, editor, trainer and project manager, with over 25 years' experience in the publishing business. 

Peter Clive lives on the southside of Glasgow with his wife and three children. He is a scientist working in renewable energy, and in addition to writing poetry, he enjoys writing and performing piano music. 

Charlie Clutterbuck Ph.D. was an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Food Policy at City University, London. He’s now Trustee of Incredible Farm, Todmorden, and of The Larder, Preston. He is the author of Bittersweet Brexit: The Future of Food, Farming, Land and Labour, Pluto Press 2017.

Tony Collins is a professor of history at De Montfort University. His books include 'Sport in Capitalist Society' and 'The Oval World'.

Gerry Cordon is a retired FE college lecturer, blogging at 

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country here.

Andy Croft has written and edited over 80 books, including poetry, biography, teenage non-fiction and novels for children. He writes a regular poetry column for the Morning Star, curates the T-junction international poetry festival on Teesside and runs Smokestack Books. He lives in North Yorkshire.

David Cromwell is a founder and editor of Media Lens.

James Crossley is Professor of Bible, Society and Politics at St Mary's University, Twickenham. He writes mainly on religion and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first century, and the historical Jesus in the first century.

Sophie Coudray is a PhD student in drama studies in Strasbourg, a member of the External Editorial Board of Périodeand an activist.

Amir Darwish is a poet, born in Syria and now living in London. His poetry has been published in the USA, Pakistan, Finland, Morocco and Mexico, and he is a graduate of Teesside University and the University of Durham.

Joel Davie works at the library at the University of Nottingham. He spends the rest of his time reading. 

Peggy Deamer is a professor of architecture at Yale University and a practicing architect. She is the founding member of the Architecture Lobby, an activist organisation that argues for the value of architectural work within and without the profession. 

Sam DeLeo is a widely published writer of poetry, fiction, plays and cultural commentary. He lives in Denver, Colorado. 

Alan Dent is the founder and editor of The Penniless Press and its successor MQB. 

Michelle Diaz has been published by 14 Magazine, Poetry Wales and numerous other journals, both online and in print. Her debut pamphlet 'The Dancing Boy' was published in 2019 by Against the Grain Poetry Press.

Charlotte Dick is studying Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS, London. She is currently researching The Sewell Report (2021), and wider UK race relations, through a radical intersectional feminist lens.

Jeremy Dibble is Professor of Musicology at Durham University. 

Peter Doran is a lecturer at the School of Law at Queens University Belfast and a life-long activist on issues ranging from the arms trade to the circular economy. He is also a senior writer and editor at UN conferences on sustainable development for the reporting services of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and blogger for the leading political website

Nadia Drews is a playwright, director, poet and performer. Thirty years of repressed rhymes mean she writes long poems - but she reads them fast. 

Mick Drury is a semi-retired forest ecologist and environmental activist.

Anne E. Duggan is a Professor of French at Wayne State University. She is co-editor of Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies ( and author of Salonnières, Furies, and Fairies: The Politics of Gender and Cultural Change in Absolutist France (2005) and Queer Enchantments: Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy (2013; French edition 2015). 

Susan Millar DuMars is the author of four poetry collections, all published by Salmon Poetry. The most recent, Bone Fire, appeared in 2016.

Rod Duncan teaches creative writing but also works in film, poetry and non-fiction. He tweets at @RodDuncan.

Alan Dunnett is a poet, and his latest collection is A Third Colour, published by Culture Matters.

Terry Eagleton is a contemporary British literary critic, cultural theorist and public intellectual.

Julie Easley is a working-class poet, a Tees Women Poet, and host of DiVerse poetry. Julie is widely published in anthologies from Ek Zuban Press, Kirjastus Luul, Slice of the Moon books, Dreich magazine, StepAway magazine, Versification, Stone of Madness Press and Thrive Teesside. Her film poems are published by Icefloe Press and Darlington Pride. For YT channel, see here.

Ed Edwards is a playwright based in Manchester, has written extensively for TV and Radio and currently lectures in Theatre and Creative Writing at a small northern university.

Gareth Edwards is a socialist based in Portsmouth. He teaches on the Sports Journalism degree course at the University of the Arts in London. He blogs infrequently at

Jonathan Edwards's first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014) received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People's Choice Award.

Gabriel Egan is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at de Montfort University, Leicester, and the author of Shakespeare and Marx, Oxford University Press, 2

John Ellison is a retired solicitor with a history of 40 years’ specialism in children law. He published a novel in 2016, contributes history features to the Morning Star, and has written for Culture Matters about Alexander Blok's poem 'The Twelve' and about the life and work of Maxim Gorky. 

Alix Emery has had work exhibited at Tate St Ives, Birmingham Hippodrome, The Truman Brewery, Tenderbooks, The House of Blah Blah, and PS Mirabel. She is in her final year, studying BA Fine Art, at Central Saint Martins. 

John R. Eperjesi is an Associate Professor in the English Linguistics and Literature Department at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, and is the author of The Imperialist Imaginary: Visions of Asia and the Pacific in American Culture (University Press of New England, 2005).

David Erdos is an actor, writer, director with over 300 professional credits. He is a published poet, playwright, essayist and illustrator. He had lectured on all disciplines in theatre and film for leading performing arts colleges, schools and universities around the world.  

Joanne Entwistle is Reader in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College, London. She has written extensively on fashion, dress and the body. 

Jenny Farrell was born in Berlin (GDR), and is the author of Marxist analyses of Shakespeare and Keats: Fear Not Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Comprehensive Introduction (2016) and Revolutionary Romanticism - Examining the Odes of John Keats (2017). She is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters and edited Children of the Nation, An Anthology of Working People's Poetry from Contemporary IrelandCulture Matters, 2019, and From the Plough to the Stars, An Anthology of Working People's Prose from Contemporary IrelandCulture Matters, 2020. 

Robert Farrell lives and works as a librarian in the Bronx, New York. His poems have appeared in a number of publications and his latest chapbook, Meditations on the Body, will be published by Ghostbird Press in 2017. 

S. O. Fasrus is a published poet and has written articles for national newspapers and magazines. She's also a social research interviewer and a social justice activist.

Natalie Fenton is Chair of the Media Reform Coalition and Professor of media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her latest book, co-authored with Des Freedman, Justin Schlosberg and Lina Dencik, is The Media Manifesto (2020, Polity). 

Daniel Clarkson Fisher is a Canadian essay filmmaker whose work has been featured by The AV Club, io9, No Film School, Boing Boing, Film School Rejects, and Vimeo Staff Picks. His writing has appeared in outlets that include AlterNet, Bright Lights Film Journal, Nonfics, and Diabolique.  See For the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association)

Leah Fleetwood edited Hell! But I’d Go Back Tomorrow (the lives of steelworkers), for the WEA; leads literary rambles, and her poems have been published in Stand, Iron, Staple, and The Sheffield Anthology: A City Imagined (Sheffield University/Smith Doorstop). She won the ‘Sheffield Award’ for poetry, and contributed to Right to Roam, A Celebration of the Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland.

Sally Flint lectures in creative writing and co-edits Riptide Journal at the University of Exeter, and is a tutor with The Poetry School. She has a special interest in socially committed poetry and is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.

Michael Flynn is a photographer based in Ashington, Northumberland.

Paul Foley is a trade union activist and arts reviewer for the Morning Star.

Dermot Foster lives in Oldham and recently retired from teaching in colleges, communities, mental health facilities, and HMP Manchester. 

Marilyn Francis lives and writes poems in Radstock, which was once a mining town in the Somerset coalfield. The last mine closed in 1973. 

Paul Francis is a retired teacher, living in Much Wenlock, who's active in the West Midlands poetry scene. His website is

Vivien Freeman has taught Creative Writing and was a script reader for many years. She is a published novelist and poet. Her latest novel, The Proving of Rose Alleyn (186 Publishing, 2023), concludes her Rose Alleyn trilogy.

Peter Frost is a travel writer and broadcaster. Today he writes about the environment, left wing history and many other subjects for a variety of publications including the Morning Star. He is member of the Labour Party.

Gregor Gall is a Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Leeds and an Affiliate Research Associate at the University of Glasgow. He is author and editor of over twenty books.

Mike Gallagher is an Irish writer, poet and editor. His poetry collection Stick on Stone was published by Revival Press in 2013. 

Owen Gallagher is from Gorbals, Glasgow, and lives in London. He has written several books of poetry and his poems have been published widely in the UK, Ireland and abroad. 

Robert J. Gallagher is a radio playwright and former soul music journalist for Melody Maker and Black Music magazine. 

Antoniy T. Georgiev holds an MA in Contemporary History and Politics from Birkbeck, University of London. Currently he teaches English at an English Academy in China, and writes poetry and fiction.

Julian Germain is a photographic artist. 

Elizabeth Gibson is a poet from Wigan. She was announced as a New North Poet at the 2017 Northern Writers' Awards.

Harry Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney who lives in Leith; their latest book is Tonguit (Freight 2016). See

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department.

Salena Godden has been described as ‘The doyenne of the spoken word scene’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb); ‘The Mae West madam of the salon’ (The Sunday Times) and as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ (Kerrang! Magazine). She is also the lead singer and lyricist of SaltPeter, alongside composer Peter Coyte. 

Martin Gollan paints but also works with print and video, and is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters. He recently has been working with local charities and their beneficiaries to dynamically illustrate the impacts of austerity and welfare reform.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt is the author of To Defend the Revolution is to Defend Culture: The Cultural Policy of the Cuban Revolution (PM Press, 2015). She also researched and drafted, for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the report on Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, 2017. 

Reece Goscinski is a Counterfire member and further education lecturer in sociology, history and politics. He also presents a YouTube channel called Simple Philosophy

Catherine Graham's work has appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, USA and Ireland. Her first full collection, Things I Will Put In My Mother's Pocket (Indigo Dreams Publishing 2013).

Nick Grant recently retired from school teaching and a place on the national executive of the NUT. He's the drummer in his own band, Public Sector.  

Sandy Grant is a philosopher at the University of Cambridge and tweets at @TheSandyGrant. She recently delivered the Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lecture ‘Dark Times’, and is the first philosopher to perform at Latitude Festival.

John Green is a journalist and broadcaster. He has authored and edited several books and anthologies on a wide range of subjects including political biographies, labour history, poetry, natural history and environmental affairs.

Haydn Greenway is a recently retired nuclear medicine technologist, having worked for the NHS for over 30 years.

Steve Griffiths has just published Weathereye: Selected Poems, the best of seven books over forty years. It's a book of resistance to injustice, self-questioning, lived landscape, interrogated history; and love poems, poems of being alive and conscious. Steve spent his working life in welfare rights, community work and researching and campaigning on health and social policy, from neighbourhood to national scale. See also

Chris Guiton is a copywriter, and founding member and Associate Editor of Culture Matters. He can be contacted at Wealden Wordsmith

Tara Hanks writes about aspects of popular culture for a variety of websites and publications. 

Ben Harker is a Senior Lecturer in 20th Century Literature at Manchester University and Chair of the Raymond Williams Society.

Paul Hawkins is a Bristol based poet whose fourth collection, Place Waste Dissent, a book of avant-garde protest poetry/collage, was published by Influx Press. The poems are taken from Claremont Road (Erbacce Press 2013). 

Ceinwen Haydon writes short stories and poetry, and has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

Martin Hayes has worked in the courier industry for 30 years. His second book of poetry, When We Were Almost Like Men is published by Smokestack Books and his latest collection is The Things These Hands Once  Stood For, published by Culture Matters

Ray Hearne is a member of the Radio Ballads team, and his songs are still sung by Roy Bailey.

PL Henderson has a background in art history/research and has been active in feminist politics and the arts for many years. She is currently working as a freelance writer and reviewer on the subject of women artists, feminism and art. She is also an artist and has had a number of exhibitions and arts events. See

Alejandro Hernandez is an instructor at Carleton University, Canada, a PhD candidate in Sociology, and a Vanier Scholar. 

William Hershaw is a poet, playwright and folk musician. He is the founder and leader of the Bowhill Players, a group who perform the poems and songs of Cardenden miner-writer Joe Corrie (1894 - 1968). 

Rita Ann Higgins is a Galway-based poet and playwright. Her next collection Tongulish will be published by Bloodaxe in April 2016. 

Charlie Hill is a writer from Birmingham. His poetry has appeared in Under the Radar, and he was a regular contributor to Prole.

Rebecca Hillman is a writer, theatre maker and activist. Her teaching and research at the University of Exeter, where she works as a Drama lecturer, are informed by her involvement in trade union and community campaigns. 

Phil Hobbins-White is a Film Studies lecturer and writer, specialising in film festivals, film exhibition, and gender in horror films.

Zita Holbourne is an award-winning author, poet, writer, visual artist, curator and community and trade union activist. She is national vice-president of PCS Union, and National Chair and co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK. 

Owain Holland is an environmental worker in Cornwall, a shop steward and trade union activist and a member of the Cornish language community. 

Tim Hollins is a musician, educator and cultural activist. 

Gemma June Howell is an activist, poet and writer, the co-founder of The Cardiff Sisters of Solidarity, and an Associate Editor at Culture Matters. She's currently writing a novel exploring intersectional feminism in post-industrial Britain. 

Gerald Horne is an African-American historian who currently holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. 

Tom Hubbard is a novelist, poet, and literary historian. His books include: Slavonic Dances and The Flechitorium (both 2017) and a CD: Mither Ape (2019).

Bianca Idelson's main fields of interest are medical theories and contemporary art. 

Harriet Jae grew up in Scotland and now lives in Belgium. Previously she worked with refugees and as editor of a refugee agency's flagship publication. She has been published in The Rialto, Mslexia, The Ofi Press, Ink Sweat & Tears and Words for the Wild.

Michael Jarvie is a working-class writer from Darlington in County Durham. He is the author of The Prison, a collection of short stories, and Black Art, a novel. he is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.

Rob Jeffrey is a playwright, specialising in short comedic, political pieces for BBC and local radio, and longer plays for the theatre. 

Kevin N. Jelf is 54 and works preparing parts for painting in the aerospace industry. He has previously been published in The Cannon's Mouth Quarterly, Here Comes Everyone and The Angry Manifesto.

Mike Jenkins is an award-winning Welsh poet and author and unofficial poet for Cardiff City FC. He is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters

Camillus John was bored and braised in Dublin. He has had work published in The Stinging Fly, RTÉ Ten, The Lonely Crowd and other such organs.

Steve Johnson is London District Secretary of the CPB and a social worker by profession. He has a keen interest in music, politics and real ale and is a regular festival attender.

Susan Jones is a published writer, researcher and consultant on contemporary visual arts matters, at She is a specialist in artists’ livelihoods, professional development and employment patterns, and was Director of a-n The Artists Information Company 1999-2014.

Carl Joyce is a photographer based in Co. Durham, with a website at

James Martyn Joyce is a poet based in Galway. 

Phill Jupitus is an English stand-up and improv comedian, actor, performance poet, cartoonist and podcaster.

Chris Jury is an award winning actor, writer and director. A regular contributor to the Morning Star, he is also the co-founder of the Tolpuddle Radical film Festival and a member of the TV Committee of the Writers Guild Of Great Britain.

Mohja Kahf wasborn in Syria. She is a widely published poet and author. 

Jane Kallir is co-director of the Galerie St. Etienne, New York. 

Kathryn Keane is a poet whose has appeared in in 'Silver Apples Magazine', the 'NY Literary Magazine', 'Bitterzoet Magazine', and the 'Stanzas: An Evening of Words' chapbook.

Lisa Kelly is a freelance journalist. Her pamphlet Bloodhound is published by Hearing Eye and she is a regular host of poetry events at the Torriano Meeting House, London, a meeting place for the arts and the community.

Caroline Kemp is a Scottish writer.currently involved in health-related research projects. She has been published in The Journal of Progressive Sciences, Rethink, Material, and in various Forward Press anthologies.

Peter Kennard is 'Unoffical War Artist' at the Imperial War Museum, London. His 'Peace on Earth' artwork can be downloaded for free at

Muhanned Mohamed Khorshid is an Iraqi born artist and writer, living and working in Helsinki. 

Carol King lives and works in Edinburgh, where she is nanny to two lovely grandchildren. She attends the Royston and Wardieburn Writing Group and was one of three runners up for Woman and Home’s short story competition a wee while ago.

Mark Kirkbride is the author of novels and short stories, and his poetry has appeared in the Big Issue, the Morning Star, the Mirror, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State, The Robin Hood Book and Horror Writers Association chapbooks. See

Alan Kissane works as an English teacher in the Midlands, UK. His poetry has appeared in AllegroDissonance Magazine, Dust Poetry, Emerge Literary Journal, Epoch, Fahmidan, Kindling, and Neologism. He also contributed to Acid Bath Publishing's printed volume 'Wage Slaves'.

Sezen Kizilgul studied philosophy in Turkey. She is interested in all areas of culture and art, and is volunteering at Marx Memorial Library. 

Peter Knaggs is the author of two poetry collections. He has had poems in The York Evening Press, The Hull Daily Mail, The Morning Star, The North, The Reater and The Banana Shovel. In 2017, 'You're So Vain You Probably Think This Book is About You,' was longlisted for The Forward Poetry Prize. 'Sunburnt Bollock,' is forthcoming. 

 Phil Knight is a poet and political activist from Neath, South Wales. He has had poems published in Planet, Red Poets, Dail 174, Poetry Wales, Earth Love, Atlantic Review and other publications. His Poetry Collections include Dylanation (2014) from Green Arrow Press, and You Are Welcome To Wales (2015) from The Red Poets.

Sven Kretzschmar is a poet from the southwest of Germany. He also sometimes expands his creative work to painting, drawing and book illustrations.

Michael Lavalette is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, and Head of School of Social Sciences, Liverpool Hope University.

Trish Lavelle is the Head of Education and Training at the Communication Workers Union.

John Ledger is a visual artist from Barnsley, Yorkshire, currently focusing on images derived from the social landscape of 'Invisible Britain'.

Sean Ledwith is a Counterfire member and Lecturer in History at York College, where he is also a UCU branch rep.

Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, and reviews for magazines and blogs. 

Marc James Léger is an independent scholar living in Montreal. He is editor of The Idea of the Avant Garde – And What It Means Today (2014) and author of Brave New Avant Garde (2012), The Neoliberal Undead (2013) and Drive in Cinema: Essays on Film, Theory and Politics (2015). 

Dave Lewis is a poet and photographer from Pontypridd, south Wales. He runs the International Welsh Poetry Competition, the Writers of Wales database, Poetry Book Awards, Wales Trails and the book publishing company Publish & Print. He has about twenty books out there and been published widely. See

Ira Lightman occasionally appears on BBC Radio 3's The Verb and is a professional proofreader and copyeditor, who makes public art now and then.

Christine Lindey is now retired from being an Associate Lecturer in art history at the University of the Arts, London and at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is a visual arts critic for the Morning Star and her fifth book, Art for All: British Socially Committed Art c.193 - c.1962, will be published in the near future. 

S.J.Litherland is a life-long socialist whose 7th poetry collection Composition in White (Smokestack) is concerned with lost history, cultural and political, of England, looking back to the war years and working-class influences of Brummie aunts and grandmother. 

Fran Lock is a some-time itinerant dog whisperer, activist, and the author of seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks, most recently Contains Mild Peril (Out-Spoken Press, 2019) and Raptures and Captures (Culture Matters, 2019) the last in a trilogy of works with collage artist Steev Burgess. Fran has recently completed her Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, titled, 'Impossible Telling and the Epistolary Form: Contemporary Poetry, Mourning and Trauma'. She is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters

David Hugh Lockett is an artist and art teacher who has paintings in the Miner's Hall, Durham and the Mozambican Embassy, London. Most of his work is concerned with Landscape /Cityscape and the spirit of place, it can be seen on

Patrick Lodge was born in Wales, lives in Yorkshire and travels on an Irish passport. His poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies in England, Wales, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. His author page is

Dave Lordan is a Dublin-based working-class writer, educator, multimedia artist and activist. See

Rebecca Lowe is a journalist, poet and Quaker peace activist, based in Wales, UK. She is a Bread and Roses Spoken Word 2020 Award winner, has appeared on BBC radio, and her poetry has featured in many anthologies including Red Poets, Blackheath Countercultural Review, and the Ymlaen/Onward! anthology of radical Welsh poetry (Culture Matters, 2019). 

Michal Lowkain (pen-name) is a Dubliner since 2006. He is one of the winners of the Bread and Roses Award 2023 and his poems are included in the 2019 Culture Matters’ anthology Children of the Nation. In 2013, Jirafa Roja, a Polish independent publisher, published his poetry book rzeczykrwistość (poems with lowkain’s photos and photo-graffs), and in 2008, his short story in Punks not Dead anthology

Alexis Lykiard was born in Athens.His books include 9 novels, translations of French writers, 2 memoirs of Jean Rhys, and numerous poetry collections, most recently Schooled For Life (Shoestring 2016). His website is at www. 

Edward Mackinnon's fourth collection is "The Storm Called Progress", published by Shoestring Press. See also

Kevin McCann is a member of the CPB and has published poetry, fantasy stories and a novel aimed at children.

Len McCluskey was the General Secretary of Unite.

Thomas McColl is a London-based poet and short story writer. His first full collection of flash-fiction and poetry, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is published by Listen Softly London Press.

Alan McCormick lives in Wicklow, Ireland. His recent writing can be read in The Lonely Crowd, Banshee, The Stinging Fly, Southword, Sonder and Exacting Clam.

Annie McCrae is based in Edinburgh, and is a retired English teacher and trade union activist, including a stint as a national organiser for the EIS teaching union.

Niall McDevitt is an Irish poet and activist. He leads epic psycho-geographical walks through London, about Shakespeare, Blake, Rimbaud, and Yeats. 

Roy McFarlane is a poet, playwright and former youth & community worker born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage, living in Brighton. He’s the National Canal Laureate, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate and one of the Bards of Brum performing in the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. His third collection Living by Troubled Waters (Nine Arches Press 2022) is out now.

Chris McGachy is an editor, journalist and photographer who writes about working class and social history, drinking from the cultural drip tray of capitalism.

Patricia McGee is a retired FE lecturer, and very concise. 

Tony McKenna is a writer whose books include a first novel, 'The Dying Light' (New Haven Publishing), 'Art, Literature and Culture from a Marxist Perspective' (Palgrave Macmillan), 'The Dictator, the Revolution, the Machine: A Political Account of Joseph Stalin' (Sussex Academic Press) and most recently, 'Angels and Demons: A Radical Anthology of Political Lives' (Zero Books).

Scott McLemee is a critic and essayist living in the United States who writes for a variety of cultural and political journals. He has edited two volumes of writings by the West Indian Marxist C.L.R. James (and is working on two more) and appears in the documentary Every Cook Can Govern: The Life, Impact, and Works of C.L.R. James.

Stephanie McMillan is an artist, cartoonist, communist organiser and cultural activist. See

Sheree Mack Ph.D is a writer and artist, with expertise in Black British Women's Poetry. She's currently working on a creative non-fiction novel as well as a poetry collection about Rewilding. 

Jim Mainland is a graduate of Aberdeen University and until his recent retirement was Principal Teacher of English at Brae High School, Shetland. He is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.

Lynn Mally is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California, Irvine. She has published on Soviet cultural history, US/Soviet cultural exchange, and American culture in the 1930s. See

Samantha Mansi is a poet and currently writing her first book. She does open mic poetry in Swansea and is studying for her Masters degree in creative writing at the Open University. She enjoys going to open mics and expressing herself through poetry.

Nigel Mellor is a poet from northern England. His performances, focused on up to the minute themes of personal and political concern, aim to engage the widest possible audiences. 

Phil Mellows is a freelance journalist who has been writing about pubs and brewing for more than 30 years. For the last decade he has been obsessed with alcohol policy and vents his frustrations through the Politics of Drinking blog at, and on Twitter @philmellows.

Julia Mickenberg is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Learning from the Left: Children's Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States and co-editor (with Philip Nel) of Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature.

Robert Minto is a writer and philosopher. He blogs and tweets. 

Danny Mitchell is an independent filmmaker from London. He works part-time as a mental health social worker and spends the rest of my time making political, social issue and human interest documentaries. 

Jenny Mitchell is winner of the Ware Poetry Prize, the Folklore Prize, the Segora Prize, the Aryamati Prize, the Fosseway Prize, a Bread and Roses Award 2020 and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. A best-selling debut collection, Her Lost Language, is One of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales). A second collection, Map of a Plantation, published by Indigo Dreams, has been shortlisted for the Poetry Book Awards.  is joint winner of the Geoff Stevens’ Memorial Poetry Prize (Indigo Dreams Publishing) and a winner of the Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2020. Her work has been broadcast on Radio 4 and BBC2, and published in The Rialto, The New European, The Interpreter’s House; and with Italian translations in Versodove. 

John Molyneux is a lifelong socialist activist and writer, a member of People Before Profit, and editor of the Irish Marxist Review. He is the author of many books on Marxist and socialist theory along with a number of studies in art history.

Erika Tiburcio Moreno is a teacher of Film, History and English for adults in Madrid.

Alan Morrison is a poet and editor of The Recusant, and Militant Thistles, He is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters. 

Josiah Mortimer is a political writer from Cornwall and now based in London. He has written for the Poetry Society, Creative Countryside and Culture Matters.

Pete Mullineaux teaches global issues in schools in Galway, through poetry and drama. 

Francis Murphy still lives in Belfast. He is a lifelong campaigner for civil and human rights, and was a founding member of the Committee on The Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland and active in campaigning for support for victims and survivors of trauma. He served on the Management Committee of Law Centre Northern Ireland for 20 years. 

Mark A. Murphy is a self-educated, neurodivergent poet from a poor working class background. He is a 7 time Pushcart Nominee, and has published 1 chapbook, 2 pamphlets and 7 full length collections of poetry to date. He is currently working on 4 new full length books, including 'The Butcher's Barbarous Block: New & Selected Poems 1996 - 2024.' He is chief editor of on-line journal, POETiCA REViEW

Robert Myles is an expert on the social history of early Christianity and the New Testament. He is the author of The Homeless Jesus and the Gospel of Matthew (2014) and editor of Class Struggle in the New Testament (2019).

Chris Nash writes international ‘poetry without borders’ and is now working on a collection of ‘songs’ for species threatened by extinction called ‘Is this Goodbye?’. See

Marc Nash is a novelist and short story writer, and his fifth novel is published by Dead Ink Books in Autumn 2017. He also works with video artists to turn some of his short pieces into digital storytelling. He works for the freedom of expression charity Index on Censorship. 

Doug Nicholls is General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions, and the author of numerous books on history, politics, poetry and culture. His latest book is Lugalbanda, published by Culture Matters

Chad Norman's poems have appeared for the past 35 years in literary publications around the world.

Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.

Eliot North is a doctor, medical educator and writer. 

James O’Brien is an award-winning playwright, poet and filmmaker. He was made an honorary member of the N.U.M during the Miners Strike and was P.C.S. Branch Secretary for sixteen years at Tate Modern. He recently contributed ‘The Sacrifice Zones’ to ‘The Cry of the Poor’ (Culture Matters: Ed Fran Lock. 2021)” His latest collection ‘The Lucky Last at the Terminal of the Dead’ will be published later this year.

Eoin Ó Murchú is a communist journalist, now retired. He was a senior member of the Official Republican Movement in Ireland and then the Irish Communist Party, and is also the author of the 1970s pamphlet ‘Culture and Revolution in Ireland’.

Kate O'Neil is an Australian writer.

Ciarán O'Rourke is a widely published Irish poet, living in Leitrim. His poetry appears in the Culture Matters anthology, Children of
the Nation, and his first collection, The Buried Breath, is available here

Elliot O'Sullivan is a linguist and Open University student.

Mick O'Sullivan is a writer and editor, based in Durham.

Melissa Oldham is a PhD student and tutor in the department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool.

Chi Onwurah is MP for Newcastle Central.

Ness Owen is a Welsh poet, playwright and storyteller who teaches at a FE college. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals.

Anthony D. Padgett is an award-winning writer and artist, whose public sculptures are sited nationally and internationally. He is a North West Representative for the Artists' Union England. 

Clara Paillard is co-President of the PCS union Culture Group representing 4,000 museums & heritage workers across the UK, Branch Secretary at National Museums Liverpool, and has led on the campaign against privatisation at National Gallery. She is a disability and climate activist and member of the Labour Party.

Karl Parkinson is a writer and spoken word performer from north inner city Dublin. He has published a novel, The Blocks (New Binary Press), and two collections of poetry: Litany of the City and other poems, and Butterflies of a Bad Summer (Salmon Poetry). Sacred Symphony (Culture Matters, 2020) is forthcoming.

Ted Parry plays music obsessively and writes with dilletantish irregularity. Although the characters in his stories are fictional, he has met all of them.

Gordon Parsons is an arts reviewer for the Morning Star. 

Razia Parveen has a Phd in Postcolonialism, Culture and Identity. She is a supply teacher and an independent researcher in all matters regarding BAME identity, cultures and living in diaspora. 

John Pateman worked in public libraries for over 40 years and was the Head of Libraries in Hackney, Merton, Lincolnshire and Thunder Bay (Ontario, Canada). He is the author of several books including Public Libraries and Social Justice and Public Libraries and Marxism.    

Norrie Paton is a writer and Burns scholar. He grew up in the shipbuilding town of Port Glasgow and served a five-year apprenticeship as a draughtsman, mainly producing working drawings for structural steelwork, and accommodation layouts. He is the author of Scotland's Bard: Concise Biography of Robert Burns and Song O'Liberty: Politics of Robert Burns.

Lucy Pearson is Lecturer in Children's Literature at Newcastle University.

Dan Perjovschi is an artist, writer and cartoonist born in Sibiu, Romania.

Robert Phoenix is an ex-rock singer/songwriter with 1975/80 punk rock band Dead Fingers Talk, now a full-time experienced spoken word artist/front person of performance group Anarchy Dada and an anti-capitalist allotment holder based in Hull. 

Mair De-Gare Pitt worked in Community Education for many years and is now semi-retired, running Creative Writing classes. She attends a poetry group at The Capel in Bargoed and is one of the Welsh Red Poets. Her latest book is Power Play, published by Culture Matters.

Mark Perryman is a writer and the co-founder of Philosophy Football. 

Rafael Pizarro is a retired trade unionist from New York City. He is a poet and an activist in the fight against the concentration camps for children in the U.S. He has published poetry most recently in Blue Collar Review, and also in Rattle, as well as literary reviews and interviews in Las Vegas Magazine and the journal ONTHEBUS. 

Dakota Pollock is a Jew raised by Mexican mothers in the Sonoran Desert. His counselling is ministered through a watering hole LLC of varying names providing companionship and a good horse sense to patrons who need spiritual encouragement to “keep on truckin”, and is a part time educator for gifted youth who dislike learning from a despotic screen and advertisement warfare.

Carolyn Pouncy, a historian specialising in Muscovite Russia, writes fiction under the pen name C. P. Lesley. Two of her novels—Desert Flower and Kingdom of the Shades—explore themes from the classical ballets Giselle and La Bayadère. See

Deborah Price lives in Deri. She has written four books for children and collaborated on and published another ten. They include poetry anthologies/collections and a 30th anniversary commemoration of the 1984 Miners' Strike. 

Narbi Price is a painter. He was the Journal Culture Awards Visual Artist of the Year 2018, and the winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017. He was featured in Phaidon's Vitamin P3 - New Perspectives in Painting and was a prizewinner in the John Moores Painting Prize 2012. 

Steve Pottinger is a performance poet who's passionate about the power of poetry to create connections between people. He believes in making an audience laugh and think and decide that poetry isn't so bad after all.  

Kate Potts is website and marketing manager for radical independent publisher Lawrence and Wishart. She also works as a freelance writer, academic, and editor, and is currently editing an anthology of poetry from prisons for Koestler Arts.

Narbi Price is a painter. He was the Journal Culture Awards Visual Artist of the Year 2018, and the winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017. He was featured in Phaidon's Vitamin P3 - New Perspectives in Painting and was a prizewinner in the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.

Stephen Pritchard is a final-year PhD researcher at Northumbria University exploring how activist art and radical social praxis might create spaces for acts of resistance and liberation.

Mike Quille is a writer and reviewer, and founder and chief editor of Culture Matters.

Peter Raynard is a writer and editor of Proletarian Poetry: poems of working class lives, which has featured over 130 poems. He has been widely published and his debut collection Precarious will be published by Smokestack Books in April 2018. His poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto is his latest book, published by Culture Matters. He is also a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, a poetry collective set up by the poet Malika Booker. 

Friedrich Farshaad Razmjouie is a refugee from Iran, currently a student and living in Liverpool. 

Shana L. Redmond is the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014) and Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (2020). She is a public-facing intellectual and activist who has written for media outlets including National Public Radio (USA) and BBC 3. She is Professor of Musicology at the University of California-Los Angeles (USA) and the author of Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (Duke UP, January 2020) and Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (NYU Press, 2014).

Kimberley Reynolds is the Professor of Children’s Literature in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University in the UK. Recent publications include Children’s Literature in the Oxford University series of Very Short Introductions (2012) and Left Out: The Forgotten Tradition of Radical Publishing for Children in Britain, 1910-1949 (Oxford University Press, 2016). 

Graeme Rigby wrote a number of Side Gallery texts in the 1980s and 90s. He was a member of Amber film and photography collective from 1999 to 2018. 

Caroline Anjali Ritchie is a poet and researcher living in London. She is currently completing a PhD on the poetry and art of William Blake. Previously her work has appeared in The Isis, Eunoia Review, and New River Press (forthcoming). 

Chrissie Roberts is a community activist with many years’ experience in trade union activism and health campaigning in the voluntary sector.

Michael Roberts is Festival Producer of the Cornwall Film Festival. 

Moya Roddy is a working-class writer from Dublin, who has written novels, short stories and poetry.

Dave Rogers works for Banner Theatre and is a political activist and campaigner. 

Jane Rosen is a librarian and has worked in a number of specialist historical and cultural libraries including the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies and the Marx Memorial Library.

Michael Rosen is a freelance writer, teacher, journalist, performer and broadcaster. He supports Arsenal Football Club. 

Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland and is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, translator, playwright, novelist, short story writer and essayist.

Dan Rosenberg teaches history at Adelphi University, just outside New York City. 

Gerry Rowe is a writer, disgruntled minor functionary, and a Labour councillor in Chepstow.

William Rowe is Anniversary Professor of Poetics at Birkbeck College, London. His most recent book is nation (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2016).

Martin Rowson is a multi-award-winning cartoonist, writer and broadcaster. 

Christopher Rowland is the Dean Ireland professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture Emeritus at the University of Oxford.

Ignacia Ruiz is a Chilean born, London based illustrator with a strong interest in printmaking and reportage. She has exhibited her prints both in the UK and abroad and currently teaches at Central Saint Martins, London. 

David Russell is a writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance.

Ghada Al-Samman is a Syrian writer, journalist and novelist. Her website is at

Sanjiv Sachdev is a Senior Lecturer at the University of West London. Formerly a trade union research officer, one of his interests is political art.

Sabby Sagall is a former Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of East London.  He is a regular contributor to Socialist Review and is currently working on a book about music - "Music and Capitalism: Melody, Harmony and Rhythm in the Modern World". 

Chrys Salt has authored eight poetry collections and has performed her work across the UK and Europe, India, Australia, Yukon and Africa. 

Rebecca Samura is a mixed media artist and poet. Societal constructs, both emotional and physical are themes which are always at play in her work. As honesty plays a huge part in her practice, it is not always refined or comfortable.

Mike Sanders is Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth Century Writing at Manchester University. 

Mark Sealy is interested in the relationship between photography and social change, identity politics, race, and human rights. He has been director of Autograph ABP(London) since 1991 and in his role as director has produced artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide. 

Mark Serwotka is General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union

Adam Shehada is a hyperrealistic pencil artist based in Gaza.

Helena Sheehan is an author and activist. She is emeritus professor at Dublin City University where she taught history of ideas, science studies and media studies. She is an active contributor to mainstream, alternative and social media. 

John Short lives near Liverpool again after a previous life in southern Europe. He's appeared in places like Pennine Platform, London Grip and The High Window. His last full collection is Those Ghosts (Beaten Track 2021). 

Janet Sillett is a socialist who has had poems and short fiction published in a wide variety of magazines and online. She's a secular anti-zionist Jew.

Paul Simon is a reviewer for the Morning Star.

Alex Simpson is a Lecturer in Criminology at the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton.

Annette Skade is from Manchester and now lives in Ireland. She has just completed a PhD on the poetry of Anne Carson at Dublin City University, and has been published in Ireland, the U.K. the U.S. and Australia.

Amy Skinner is Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Practice in the School of Arts at the University of Hull. Since completing her PhD on Vsevolod Meyerhold, she has published in the field of Russian and Soviet theatre. She is also a theatre director and designer, specialising in contemporary stagings of multi-lingual texts and plays in translation. 

Alan Sleater is a retired English teacher, and has lived in Galashiels since 1984. 

Barry Smith is co-ordinator of the Festival of Chichester and director of the South Downs Poetry Festival. He is editor of Poetry & All That Jazz, and his poetry has appeared in Acumen, Agenda, Frogmore Papers and other journals.

Ian C. Smith is a widely published poet, living and writing in Queensland and Tasmania.

John Smith is an award-winning avant garde film-maker, based in London.

Vicky Sparrow is a Ph.D student working on the poetry of Anna Mendelssohn, at Birkbeck College, London. 

Cameron Speller is a black writer and artist who works in photography and video. When he is not creating visual art, utilizing analogue and digital mediums, he can be found writing film reviews and analysis. Currently, he resides in the Southern Gulf Coast region of the United States. Reviews, photography and more can be found at his website,

Sue Spencer is a poet, writer, educator and facilitator. She is the Poetry Adviser for the BMJ Journal Medical Humanities.

Anthony Squiers, PhD, Habil is a political philosopher and poet. He is the author of An Introduction to the Social and Political Philosophy of Bertolt Brecht: Revolution and Aesthetics and co-editor of Philosophizing Brecht: Critical Readings on Art, Consciousness, Social Theory and Performance. 

Bob Starrett was the official cartoonist of the work-in at the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1971-2.

Ben Stevenson is a designer and trade union official for TSSA. 

Gerda Stevenson is an award-winning writer, actor, director, singer and songwriter. She has worked in theatre, TV, radio, film and opera.

Graham Stevenson was a political activist and trade union leader who held many senior posts in the labour movement.

Will Stone is news editor for the Morning Star and freelances for various other national newspapers. He has written for online theatre review site What's On Stage, music magazines and has produced and presented several series on post-punk/industrial for ResonanceFM, an arts radio station in London. 

Adam Stoneman works in museum education. He has written for Jacobin, Open Democracy and Novara Media.
Rod Stoneman was the director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He was previously the CEO of the Irish Film Board and a deputy commissioning editor of the Independent Film and Video Department at Channel 4.

John Storey is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, UK. He has published extensively in cultural studies, including twelve books. He is currently working on a thirteenth book, Refusing to be Realistic: Cultural Studies and Utopian Desire, to be published with Routledge.

Dr Anthony Sullivan lectures in Cultural and Historical Studies at the London College of Fashion.

Andy Summers is a writer based in Birmingham. 

Paul Summers is a poet based on Tyneside who has written for TV, film, radio and the theatre. His latest book is arise!, published by Culture Matters

David Susswein writes from the bottom of England in a town called Eastbourne. Sometimes you can hear the sea as you write. 

Sam Swann is an actor and sits on Equity's Young Members Committee. He is one of the organisers of A Good Night Out Theatre Workers Reading Group, @AGoodNightOutRG, which meets on the second Sunday of the month in London.

Jon Tait is a postal worker and writer from Northumberland who lives in Carlisle. 

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry since 2010. She has two collections published by Flapjack Press, 'Kaleidoscope' and 'Fault Lines', with a third due out in 2021. You can find her here and here.

Mike Templeton is a freelance writer and independent writer from Cincinnati. 

Pamela Thomas works in Learning and Development for a telecommunications company. She is a new poet who loves to observe the world around her, and write about what she sees and feels.

Jamie Thrasivoulou is a writer, poet lyricist, and educator from Derby. He was one of the winners of the Culture Matters Bread and Roses award for songwriting and spoken word collaboration in 2018. His debut collection was published by Silhouette Press in 2017 and his next collection 'Our Man' is forthcoming through Burning Eye Books in July 2019. He is the official poet for Derby County Football Club and performs his work all over the UK. 

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist, known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action against climate change.

Paul Victor Tims Like everyone else, Paul Victor Tims is trapped by the illusion of linear time - a condition he seeks to alleviate through therapeutic engagement with the polymorphic Infinite. He was born in Swindon, spent his formative years in the tepid crucible of recession London with his older sister and now lives somewhere Up North with the love of his life, their adopted daughter, five cats and the most sarcastic trans woman on Earth. When he isn’t writing really weird stories, he practices sleight of hand and hopes one day to be recognised as the Magician King of Britannia - a title he invented and which means absolutely nothing.

Nicholas Tucker was formerly Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. Before that he was first a teacher and then an educational psychologist. He is the author of nine books about children, childhood and reading, and has also written six books for children. 

Cheryl Vail, originally from New Jersey but now calling Dublin home, is a software product manager by day, and has been writing since she could scribble on any available surface. 

Ruth Valentine is a campaigner on refugee and migrant issues. Her latest collection, If You Want Thunder, is out from Smokestack in July 2021.

Fred Voss is a machinist and poet in Long Beach, California, has had three collections of poetry published by the UK’s Bloodaxe Books. His latest book is The Earth and the Stars in the Palm of My Hand, published by Culture Matters.

Derek Wall is International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales and writes for the Morning Star. His latest book Economics After Capitalism was published by Pluto in 2015.

Rob Walton is from Scunthorpe and lives in Whitley Bay. His poems and short fictions have been published in various magazines and anthologies. He was one of the winners of the 2019 Bread and Roses poetry competition and is currently getting his first collection together for Culture Matters.

Andrew Warburton is a writer of short fiction, appearing in anthologies by Cleis Press (Best Gay Romance 2009), Alyson Books, and Lethe Press (Wilde Stories 2015: The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction) and in magazines Chroma: A Queer Literary Journal, Chelsea Station, SciFan Magazine, and MCB Quarterly. Two of his short stories can also be found on the app and website Great Jones Street. 

Mike Wayne is a Professor of Film and Media at Brunel University.

Alan Weadick is an irish poet and writer who has also worked in the construction, retail, theatre, health, manufacturing and security sectors. 

Tony Webb is a poet and singer-songwriter, based in Swansea, Wales. Brought up by his Communist grandparents on the East Side of Swansea, his values were forged in a hotbed of socialist debate.

Boff Whalley is a songwriter, fellrunner and former postman, previously in the troublesome pop group Chumbawamba. He has worked extensively in theatre and arts projects, collaborating on choral pieces at Manchester Museum, Tate Britain and Somerset House, London.

Lynn White lives in North Wales. Her work is concerned with issues of social justice and she has had numerous poems published online and in print. 

Bruce Wilkinson is an occasional contributor to the football magazine When Saturday Comes, generally writing about social issues affecting fans, and Blackburn Rovers. He's working with Dr Robin Purves, researching the influence of the occult on the avant-garde.

Steve Willey is a poet, researcher and critic, and as an organiser of several London based poetry readings (Openned, Benefits, Watadd) is committed to the development of dynamic poetry communities both in the UK and internationally. He is lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London. Elegy, his most recent book of poetry, was published by Veer in 2013. 

Luna Williams is a theatre graduate and political correspondent at the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation which provides legal insight on immigration, Brexit and asylum enquiries.

Merryn Williams has published four volumes of poetry and edited POEMS FOR JEREMY CORBYN (Shoestring 2016).

Simon Williams lives near Dartmoor and runs poetry and creative writing workshops and classes, including in schools, colleges and prisons. For over 10 years he has also run a monthly open mic session for poets, singers, musicians and storytellers.  

Hamish Wilson runs The Garsdale Retreat, a residential creative writing centre in Cumbria. He has had poetry published in two anthologies: This Place I Know, A New Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry (Handstand Press, 2018) and Play (PaperDart Press, 2018). Hamish is a regular open mic performer.

Rab Wilson is a Scottish poet who writes mainly in the Scots language. His works include a Scots translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His latest collection is Zero Hours.

Sarah Wimbush is the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award. She recently released her prize-winning debut poetry pamphlet Bloodlines, available from Seren. 

Chris Wood is a songwriter from the south of England. His art school teacher once described him as having “a remarkable eye for trivia” like it was a bad thing. Wood’s readiness to chronicle with candour and compassion the lives of the so called “ordinary” people has been compared to the documentary making of Ken Loach.

Jan Woolf is a playwright, currently working on readings for her fourth performed play The Man With the Gold for the World War One centenary. Her collection of short stories Fugues on a Funny Bone (Muswell Press 2010) is set in a children's home and her new fiction is published at international She is also a reviewer and is very interested in the links between art, literature and political activism, and is currently Writer in Residence at the Marx Memorial Library. 

Annie Wright is a founding member of Vane Women, the writing, performing and publishing collective based in northeast England. Dangerous Pursuit of Yellow, her second full collection was published in 2019 (Smokestack Books). Find her online at Annie runs poetry workshops in southwest Scotland and edits for several presses including Vane Women Press. 

Robert Yates's poems have appeared in the Morning Star newspaper, Abraxas and Agenda Broadsheet, and his prose-poem sequence Work in Progress can be found on the International Times website. His most recent collection Nihilistic City Nights was published in 2020 by London Poetry Books. A qualified translator, his version of Rimbaud's Illuminations was published by Brimstone Press in 2014.

Wendy Young is a Northerner/Londoner: cut teeth at Survivors Poetry. Performs London and beyond. Part-time NHS Worker.

The editors of Culture Matters are Jim Aitken, Dennis Broe, Mollie Brown, Ron Brown, Jane Burn, Jenny Farrell, Sally Flint, Gemma June Howell, Michael Jarvie, Mike Jenkins, Fran Lock, Alan Morrison, and Mike Quille.

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