Katie Beswick joined Goldsmiths as Senior Lecturer in Arts Management and Programme Director for BA Arts Management in July 2023. She has previously taught on drama, theatre and performance programmes at a number of UK Universities including UAL, University of Exeter, Queen Mary University of London and the University of Leeds.
Her research interests centre around issues of social class in the arts. She is especially concerned with understanding how wider social and cultural policy and legislation, which contribute to inequity, are intertwined with arts practices. For example, much of her work to date has been concerned with issues of social housing — examining how housing policy and governance are influenced by ideas that flow through performance and other artworks. She has also written on how the criminalisation of a form of dance called 'litefeet' in New York City is bound up with wider social and cultural notions of race and class in hip hop forms.
- PhD The Council Estate in Performance: Performance Practice and the Production of Space, University of Leeds 2014
- University of Leeds Teaching and Learning Award Level 2 2010
- MA Acting for Screen, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama 2006
- BA Drama, University of Exeter 2005
Katie's academic writing primarily concerns issues of class relations and class politics across a range of popular culture, art and performance practices. She has published widely in books, journals, scholarly editions and online. Her work frequently involves collaborations with artists, and she is often invited to document artists' work, and to reflect on their practices by using ethnographic methods to engage with making-processes.
Her 2019 monograph, 'Social Housing in Performance: The English Council Estate on and Off Stage' (Methuen), explored the ways council estates appear in theatre, performance, art, film and television examples.
With Conrad Murray she is the author of 'Making Hip Hop Theatre: Beatbox and Elements' (Methuen 2022), a practical guide to using hip hop in theatre, which understands hip hop as always embedded in class politics.
Her latest book, 'Slags on Stage', is due for publication with Routledge in 2024. This project traces the etymology of the word 'slag' and its uses to denote a damaged female sexual reputation in twentieth and twenty first century culture. It explores how women artists (such as Tracy Emin, Michaela Coel and Cash Carraway) have used the idea of 'slaggyness' in their work, and includes a collection of poems that play with notions of what it feels like to be called 'slag'.
Katie Beswick is assistant editor for the Intellect Journal of Class and Culture, and is a frequent contributor to the music and culture magazine Loud and Quiet.
Publications and research outputs
Beswick, Katie. 2022. Staging Grenfell: The Ethics of Representing Housing Crises in London. The Canadian Theatre Review, 191, pp. 72-76. ISSN 0315-0836
Beswick, Katie. 2022. High Rise eState of Mind: Love and Honesty in the Midst of London's Neoliberal Housing Crisis. Comparative Drama, 56(1), pp. 129-153. ISSN 0010-4078
Beswick, Katie. 2021. Class, Race, Marginality: Informal Street Performances in the City. In: Shirin M. Rai; Milija Gluhovic; Silvija Jestrovic and Michael Saward, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Politics and Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 135-150. ISBN 9780190863456
Further profile content
High Rise e(S)tate of Mind: Love and Honesty in the Midst of London's Neoliberal Housing Crisis
Article exploring the aesthetics of love in Beats and Elements production 'High Rise e(S)tate of Mind'.
Making Hip Hop Theatre
A practical guide to making hip hop theatre, along with case studies from the work of performer Conrad Murray.
Slaggy Mums: Class, Single Motherhood and Performing Endurance
An exploration of ideas of slaggyness, motherhood, class and endurance in the work of Cash Carraway and Kelly Green. Winner of Working Class Studies Association's Russo & Linkon Award for Best Essay.
Feeling Working-Class: Affective Class Identification and its Implications for Overcoming Inequality
Currently the most read article on the Studies in Theatre and Performance website, it explores why people identify as working class, and how cultural institutions might take class feeling seriously.
Social Housing in Performance: The English Council Estate on and Off Stage
A monograph that traces the representation of council estates in theatre, performance and other contemporary cultural representations.
In addition to my scholarly work I write regularly for the music magazine 'Loud and Quiet'. I also work with artists and arts organisations to reflect on their practices and processes. Recently this has included writing reflections on projects such as the Women Working Class collective, and a podcast series on art and social class by Heart of Glass.
The Postcolonial City
A project at the university of Leeds exploring Cultural Production in the postcolonial city.
Figurations of working-class subjects in UK theatre practice and policy
I am on the advisory board of this project, led by Professor Liz Tomlin at Glasgow University
Cultures of the Street
An ethnographic project exploring street performance cultures, particularly subway dancing in NYC
A podcast for LSE's Forum for Philosophy
City Life, Estate Living and Lockdown
BBC Freethinking Programme
Sounds of the City
Lend me Your Ears podcast 'Salon', part of Aural/Oral Dramaturgies project
The Council Estate in Culture
BBC Freethinking episode
Social Housing in Performance
New Books Network podcast interview about my 2019 monograph, Social Housing in Performance.
Conferences and talks
Art and Housing: Coping with Neoliberalism’s Corrosive Affects
invited talk at The Politics of Housing conference. Centre for Social Change and Justice. University of East London.
Council Housing and Representation: Neoliberal Housing and Hip Hop as Love
invited paper for Symposium on the Built Environment and Health, hosted by Wellcome Centre for the Cultures at Environments of Health, University of Exeter and online.
London’s Burning: Social housing, performance and the politics of fire in an overheated market
an invited lecture for The Society for Theatre Research, held online.
Social Housing in Performance: The English Council Estate On and Off Stage
I gave this invited talk at The Bishopsgate Institute, as part of the Library Late series.
Grants and awards
TaPRA Edited Collection Prize (shortlisted)
Edited special issue 'Housing, Activism and Performance' was one of four shortlisted for the TaPRA Editing Prize 2021
Working Class Studies Association Russo & Linkon Award for Published Essay for an Academic or General Audience
Essay 'Slaggy Mums' won the 2021 Russo and Linkon Award
British Academy Seed Funding: Subway Sounds, UK China Collaboration with Dr Yunwen Gao Chinese University of Hong Kong
Seed funding for work on city sounds (postponed due to Covid 19)
TaPRA Early Career Researcher Prize (shortlisted)
Work on social housing and performance, one of three shortlisted.