Social program


Registration for the conference will be open from 2.00 pm at Hulme Hall, Manchester. There will be a vernissage and drinks/buffet reception for delegates from 6.00 pm at the Whitworth Art Gallery where the recent work of Dr Ann Rippin will be on display.


Manchester will be forever remembered as the ‘Cottonopolis’, a city built on the threads of the textile industry the industrial revolution. At this event Ann Rippin will discuss her recent research work (‘Me and Mr Thornton’) which has involved the production of a series of textiles based upon the Whitworth Collection of nineteenth century textile sample books. The work of Alice Kettle archived in the collection provides a particular point of inspiration. In this work Dr Rippin experiments with a range of materials and techniques including the use and recycling of discarded materials. The substrate fabric used in the upholstery fabric samples displayed in the Whitworth collections provides one example of the kind of material found in these pieces. Dr Rippin incorporates into her textiles quotations from contemporary entrepreneurs that she has abstracted and 'cut' from the Financial Times newspaper. Thus, one might say that the work forms a series of contemporary samplers or a ‘chapbook’ of instruction about management. This is quite a subtle and subversive strategy that asks what a modern ‘Mr Thornton’ (from Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South), seeking to know what is considered good taste in business practice, might learn from contemporary business schools. 


On the Wednesday night delegates will be invited to a drinks reception at Contact Theatre, Manchester where we will hear an exclusive live performance by the internationally renowned sound artist Philip Jeck (


Philip Jeck’s music is borne out of the strange undercurrents of everday life and urban experience. He uses old and sometimes cracked and broken records often recovered from the discarded rubbish found in the backalleys and margins of the city. From these sources he builds a montage of sounds that seem to reveal hidden modes of ordering and disordering routinely suppressed or displaced in the management of everyday city life. Seductive but intense and strangely hypnotising his soundscapes provide listeners with a deeply moving and evocative experience of urban travel. Philip invites us to (re)discover the city as a site of human/memory mapped in terms of patterns of sound and association that Henri Lefebvre might call ‘rhythmanalysis’. Similar to the techniques of cutting and pasting deployed in the work of Ann Rippin, the soundscapes of Philip Jeck help recover forgotten memories from the urban fabric in ways that seem to evoke the sense of possible epiphany.


With an international reputation for its imaginative and ‘edgy’, pioneering multi-media theatre program, the Contact is an ideal venue in which to host this event. Based around the idea of what they call ‘explosive theatre’ the Contact has developed a whole series of participative and community action events that reflect on contemporay urban conditions. Over the years the theatre has nurtured and developed local talent in the city of Manchester helping to launch many careers on the international stage.


A conference dinner will be hosted on the roof garden of the maginificent Great John Street hotel on the Thursday night. Great John Street hotel provides a fascinating vista onto the emerging landscape and urbanspace being opened up and developed in Manchester. An old Victorian School, Great John Street hotel is an example of the kind of creative and sympathetic redevelopment projects recently undertaken in Manchester turning the first industrial city of the world into one of the first post-industrial global cities. Buses will transport delegates to and from the Great John Street Hotel back to Hulme Hall.




There will also be an opportunity for delagates to talk a walking tour of the streets of ‘radical Manchester’ with Marxist historian Jonathan Schofield. Walks will be organized periodically throughout the conference and will allow delegates to take in many of the most famous sites in Manchester associated with working class and radical political struggle and agitation including: The site of the Peterloo massacre at what is now the International Convention Centre; the reading room of Chetham’s library (the oldest building in Manchester dating back to 1492) where parts of the communist manifesto were written; the Pankhurst Centre, home of the Suffragettes movement; the Free Trade Hall – site of the formation and struggles of the anti corn-law league; Corporation Street, where there is a statue honouring the utopian socialist Robert Owen; the Pankhurst Centre in Nelson Street; the home of Frederich Engel’s; the Griffin Inn in Great Ancoats Street where Chartist boozers boozed; the TUC building; and the St James Building where the independent labour party was formed in 1892, which then became the Rafters nightclub where a rock band called ‘Warsaw’ once played who soon after changed their name to Joy Division.

Could we please ask delegates interested in taking this walk to contact Janet Adnams ( by the 16th of June.