Dr Katie Beswick

Staff details

Dr Katie Beswick


Senior Lecturer and Programme Director, Arts Management


Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship


k.beswick (@gold.ac.uk)

Katie Beswick’s research interests include - performance, visual art, music, hip hop, housing, class, feminism

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.

Academic qualifications

  • 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

Research interests

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.

Grants and awards

2021: TaPRA Edited Collection Prize (shortlisted)
Edited special issue 'Housing, Activism and Performance' was one of four shortlisted for the TaPRA Editing Prize 2021

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

2019: 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)

2016: TaPRA Early Career Researcher Prize (shortlisted)
Work on social housing and performance, one of three shortlisted.

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 and Johnson, Javon. 2021. Sounds of the City: Dramaturgy, Space, Identity. Critical Stages/Scènes critiques(24), ISSN 2409-7411


Beswick, Katie and Murray, Conrad. 2022. Making Hip Hop Theatre: Beatbox and Elements. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350187917

Book Section

Beswick, Katie. 2023. Pied Piper and Class in the City. In: Conrad Murray, ed. Pied Piper: A Hip Hop Family Musical. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350448902

Beswick, Katie. 2021. An Introduction to Rita, Sue and Bob Too. In: Andrea Dunbar, ed. Rita, Sue and Bob Too. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350184961

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

Edited Book

Beswick, Katie, ed. 2023. Educating Rita. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350200937

Beswick, Katie and Murray, Conrad, eds. 2022. Beats and Elements: A Hip Hop Theatre Trilogy. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350270602

Professional projects

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.

Research projects

2011-2015: The Postcolonial City
A project at the university of Leeds exploring Cultural Production in the postcolonial city.

2022-2019: 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

2014-2022: Cultures of the Street
An ethnographic project exploring street performance cultures, particularly subway dancing in NYC

Media engagements

2021: Spaced Out
A podcast for LSE's Forum for Philosophy

2021: City Life, Estate Living and Lockdown
BBC Freethinking Programme

2020: Sounds of the City
Lend me Your Ears podcast 'Salon', part of Aural/Oral Dramaturgies project

2016: The Council Estate in Culture
BBC Freethinking episode

2011: Social Housing in Performance
New Books Network podcast interview about my 2019 monograph, Social Housing in Performance.

Conferences and talks

2018: 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.

2017: 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.

2017: 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.

2020: 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.