26 - 29

Can Art Change Society?26 September 2019

Reading on Thames festival opens for it’s third year with a discussion event open to all seeking to explore the role the arts and culture have on society - can art change society? Can art influence the way we think and act as individuals, and as a society?

Speakers include: Duckie and Scottish rapper and author (The Poverty Safari – Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass)

Speaker Biographies

From an office in the kitchen of a social housing flat, Duckie has grown from a weekly LGBTQ club night started in 1995 to an organisation staging social events, performances and workshops across the UK.  Duckie has used the tag line ‘Purveyors of Progressive Working Class Entertainment.’ Duckie’s work takes place “in pubs, clubs, community centres, church halls, in addition to be commissioned by international arts organisations including the Barbican, London. Their work involves a lot of popular forms, music, comedy and dance, catering, and dressing up”. It also reflects the company’s LGBTQ+ identity: “We are queer and you can feel that coming out in the body of the work. It’s part of the celebration of it: our work tends to be fun, with lots of socialising and entertainment, in order to find a bond and celebrate an audience or community. There’s a sense of playfulness, a sense of outsiderness, a sense of not taking yourself too seriously, and a bit of gentle sensitivity.”


Darren McGarvey / Loki
Scottish rapper Darren McGarvey, who performs under the name Loki, has won the Orwell prize for political books for his searing examination of poverty in Britain, Poverty Safari. Describing McGarvey’s debut as a modern-day version of George Orwell’s own memoir about poverty, Down and Out in Paris in London, chair of judges Andrew Adonis said Orwell himself would have loved Poverty Safari, a mix of memoir and polemic that sets out to understand “the anger of Britain’s underclass”. The book draws from McGarvey’s own experiences growing up in Pollok, Glasgow with a violent, alcoholic mother and from the testimonies of people in deprived communities around Britain, to argue that both the left and right misunderstand the complexity of poverty as it is experienced.

Tickets £6, £4 concessions
Great Hall, Reading University, 27 London Rd, Reading RG1 5AG TICKETS