20 April 2024

Bristol Radical History Festival 2024

Spring 2024 sees the 6th annual Bristol Radical History Festival at M Shed. It promises to be even bigger and better than ever this year!

Join Bristol Radical History Group and partners in exploring an exciting programme of talks, walks, stalls and exhibitions, plus the uplifting sound of the Red Notes choir.

This year’s festival themes cover three broad areas:

War Zones: Bristolians who went to struggle for a better world

Hear stories that reveal the motivations of courageous people who have undertaken international solidarity. Talks range from the Haitian revolution to present day struggles in Burma and Syria, by way of the Spanish civil war and Zapatistas. They will also feature those people who took up arms in the cause of social justice worldwide.

Doing Radical History: a DIY guide

What is radical history? How can you do it? Find out in a series of panels and presentations showing how anyone can chose a subject close to home and start their own project. Be inspired to uncover treasures in your local archive or to create a community oral history project.  We will share how to celebrate overlooked heroes with commemorative plaques, or how to make pamphlets, podcasts or TV history from below.

Histories of mental health and social care in Bristol

The final theme looks at how the poor and the mentally ill in Bristol were trapped in intertwining exploitation. Topics include an 18th century then-named lunatic asylum in Fishponds; Eastville Workhouse, whose grounds contain 4,000 paupers’ graves; and the untimely death of Somerset girl Hannah Wiltshire in Victorian Bedminster Workhouse. In later history,  we will hear about the fascinating Glenside Hospital Museum of mental health and the user-led Bristol Crisis Service for Women, when some of Bristol’s most marginalised women defied psychiatric orthodoxy in the 1980s.

These stories show us how much has changed and yet how much there is still to do.

IMAGE: A Banksy in Mexico (Photograph: Bristol Radical History Group)