Dr Massimiliano Mollona MSc PhD

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer, Chair of Learning and Teaching Committee
Department Anthropology
Email m.mollona (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7078 5013
Dr Massimiliano Mollona MSc PhD

Massimiliano (Mao) Mollona is a writer, filmmaker and anthropologist. He has a multidisciplinary background in economics and anthropology and his work focuses on the relationships between art and political economy. He conducted extensive fieldworks in Italy, UK, Norway and Brazil, mainly in economic institutions, looking at the relationships between economic development and political identity through participatory and experimental film projects. His practice is situated at the intersection of pedagogy, art and activism.

Dr Massimiliano Mollona's research

Academic qualifications

  • 2003 PhD in Social Anthropology, London School of Economics
  • 1998 MSc (Master of Science) in Social Anthropology, London School of Economics.
  • 1996 Laurea in Business Economics with First Class Honours in Organisational Behaviour. Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan
  • 1992 Visiting Semester in Finance, Harvard University.


Lecturer and Convenor of the course: Political and Economic Anthropology (B.A. and M.A.); Lecturer in the courses: Art and Anthropology and Visual Anthropology.

Areas of supervision

Art and Anthropology; Class and Social movements; Economic Anthropology, Film, Political Economy.

Research Interests

Dr Massimiliano Mollona's fieldworks are critical engagements with narratives of development, modernity and industrialisation in relationship to theories of political economy and in people’s everyday livelihood. In Sheffield, he lived for one year in a dilapidated neighbourhood and worked in two local steel plants, looking at how the British working class coped with deindustrialization in the post-Thatcher/New Labour era.

His most recent fieldwork in Brazil took place in the biggest steel plant in Latin America where he looked at the impact on the formal and informal working class and various social movements of Brazil becoming a world-leading economic power. He structures his fieldworks as performative research interventions, combining anthropology, visual art and critical pedagogy and reflecting on the power relations entangled in the ethnographic encounter.

In Sheffield, he wrote and directed Steel Lives (1999) a film about the work and lives of some steelworker, which he edited collectively and screened in various local and international political venues. His film Steel Town (2013), in collaboration with artist Daria Martin and a Brazilian director from Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, interrogates contemporary Brazilian political economy through the language of melodrama and telenovelas in the context of the urban favela where he conducted fieldwork.

The project invites some working-class families and favela residents of Volta Redonda to reflect critically on Brazil’s ‘modernity’ through a collaborative film project. His last project ‘Oiler’ (2016) made with Anne-Marthe Dyvi, documents the construction of an oil platform on an island in the west coast of Norway. Shot over a period of seven months the film follows the worsening of labour relations in the context of the global collapse of the prices of crude oil and its impact on the so-called Norwegian social democratic model. Oiler is part of the project ‘The End of Oil” that he has developed for this edition of Bergen Assembly and which also involves also a collaboration with visual artist Phil Collins.

He is the programme director of the Athens Biennale (2015-17); one of the artistic directors of the Bergen Assembly; a member of the collective Freethought, editor the Focaal Art and Visual Anthropology (AVA) Blog and one of the editors of Focaal Journal.



Mollona, Massimiliano. 2019. Brazilian Steel Town: Machines, Land, Money and Commoning in the Making of the Working Class. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781789204339

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2009. Industrial Work and Life: An Anthropological Reader. london: berg. ISBN 978-1847880741

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2009. Made in Sheffield. An Ethnography of Industrial Work and Politics. oxford: Berghahn. ISBN 978-1-84545-551-4

Edited Book

Kalb, Don and Mollona, Massimiliano, eds. 2018. Worldwide Mobilisations: Class Struggles and Urban Commoning. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781785339066

Book Section

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2019. Labor and Land Struggles in a Brazilian Steel Town: The Reorganization of Capital under Neo-Extractivism. In: Jan Breman; Kevan Harriss; Ching Kwan Lee and Marcel van der Linden, eds. The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View. Oakland, California: University of California Press, pp. 134-151. ISBN 9780520302402

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2015. Anthropology and class. A view from a Brazilian barrio (9. Working-class politics in a Brazilian steel town). In: James Carrier and Don Kalb, eds. Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice, and Inequality. Cambridge: CUP. ISBN 9781107087415

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2013. Factory Labour or the end of Labour? Anthropological reflections on labour value. In: Maurizio Atzeni, ed. Workers and Labour in a Globalised Capitalism: Contemporary Themes and Theoretical Issues’. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230303171


Mollona, Massimiliano. 2018. ARTCOMMONS. The Legacy of Nam June Paik for the Museum of the Commons. NJP Reader(8), pp. 165-180. ISSN 2092-9315

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2018. History and class: a response to Palmer. Dialectical Anthropology, 42(4), pp. 471-475. ISSN 0304-4092

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2014. ‘Seen the invisible: Maya Deren’s experiments in cinematic trance’. October, 149(Summer), pp. 159-180. ISSN 0162-2870

Mollona, Massimiliano and Santana, Marco Aurélio. 2013. ‘Trabalho e ação coletiva: memória, espaço e identidades sociais na cidade do aço’. Horizontes Antropologicos, 19(39), pp. 125-148. ISSN 0104-7183

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2013. Observation, performance and revolution: exploring “the political” in visual art and anthropology. Visual Anthropology, 26(1), pp. 34-50. ISSN 0894-9468

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2009. Community Unionism, Business Unionism: Two Strategies, the Same Phoenix. American Ethnologist, 36(4), pp. 651-666. ISSN 0094-0496

Ahrens, Thomas and Mollona, Massimiliano. 2007. Organisational control as cultural practice: a shop floor ethnography of a Sheffield steel mill. Accounting Organizations and Society, 32(4-5), pp. 305-331. ISSN 03613682

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2005. Factory, family and neighbourhood. The political economy of informal labour in Sheffield. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 11(3), pp. 527-548. ISSN 13590987

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2005. Gifts of Labour: Steel Production and Technological Imagination in an Area of Urban Deprivation, Sheffield, UK. Critique of Anthropology, 25(2), pp. 177-198. ISSN 0308275X


Mollona, Massimiliano and Dyvi, Anne Marthe. 2015. oilers.

Mollona, Massimiliano; Wong, Theresa and Martin, Daria. 2013. The Unlearning.

Mollona, Massimiliano and Martin, Daria. 2013. SteelTown.

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2005. Steel Lives.


Mollona, Massimiliano. 2017 to present The Institute of Radical Imagination.


Mollona, Massimiliano. 2017. Athens Biennale Artistic director and Programme Director. In: "Athens Biennale", Athens, Greece, 2015-2017.

Mollona, Massimiliano. 2016. The End of Oil, Bergen Assembly. In: "The End of Oil", Bergen, Norway, 2 September - 1 October 2016.

Mollona, Massimiliano; Evans, Chris and Sinister, Dexter. 2013. The Morning Star Re-branded. In: "The Morning Star Re-branded", The Showroom Gallery, London, United Kingdom, September 2013.

Mollona, Massimiliano and Basbaum, Ricardo. 2013. Re-projecting London.. In: "Re-projecting London", The Showroom Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

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