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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

England, my England: A festival of Englishness

Englishness is on the rise, in many ways. Despite our diversity, if we live in England we are increasingly identifying ourselves as English first and British second. What does English identity mean today, and what are its implications for life in this country?

See the best moments from the panel sessions: on Englishness in politics, culture, comedy, sport and Britain's future.

Saturday 19 October, 10:30-17:30
London College of Communication, SE1 6SB (view on a map)

This festival event promises to be both stimulating and fun, and will involve a wide range of leading names from the fields of politics, journalism, sport and the arts.

It will also include a variety of stands, a display of English broadswords, and music from the Hackney Colliery Band. Classic English food will be available, and there will be a post-festival reception with free beer and wine. We are also pleased that the festival will host Penguin Books' launch of the 50th anniversary edition of The Making of the English Working Class, E P Thompson's classic work of social history.

Download the full schedule of events.

Confirmed speakers so far include:

  • RSC and National Theatre playwright David Edgar
  • Columnist and broadcaster Suzanne Moore
  • Award-winning poet Daljit Nagra
  • Comedian Shazia Mirza
  • Top Tory MP John Redwood
  • The Spurs FC Poet, Sarah Wardle
  • Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman and author of The Last Game: Love, Death and Football
  • Leading academic Mary Joannou
  • Head of Labour policy review Jon Cruddas MP
  • Orange Prize-winning and Booker-shortlisted novelist Linda Grant
  • Vanessa Whitburn, editor of Radio 4's The Archers from 1991 to 2013
  • BBC home affairs editor Mark Easton: an exclusive filmed interview and showing of his new documentary on Englishness

The event will include the sessions:

  • 11.05-12.00: Englishness rising - a pressing political question?
  • 12.00-13.00: English voices - how are England and the English portrayed in contemporary culture?
  • 14.00-14.45: You're having a laugh: Humour and the English
  • 14.45-15.30: A Question of English Sport
  • 15.30-16.15: England's future
  • 16.15-17.30: Festival reception
    Featuring the launch of the fiftieth anniversary edition of E P Thompson's classic social history, The Making of the English Working Class, with Michael Kenny, author of the book's new introduction.
    Supported by the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London.

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The Hackney Colliery Band tackles Goldie's Inner City Life: