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March 15, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
  • Non-fiction

Smashing It – Working Class Artists Making It Happen

Joelle Taylor, Lisa Minerva Luxx, Rebecca Strickson and Salena Godden
Smashing It Cover


Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
£5 (27 yrs and under)

This event has been postponed. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. If you have bought a ticket for this event the box office will be in touch to arrange a refund. Once a new date has been confirmed we will update this page.

Working-class artists are hugely under-represented in the arts industries, facing extra challenges from unpaid work to prejudice, though they make up a third of the British population. How can we overcome this cycle of inequality?

Smashing It celebrates the exceptional works and words of 30 leading working-class artists in Britain including reflections on how class has impacted these creators’ careers and offers guidance for those looking for a way into the creative arts industry.

Find out how they overcame obstacles – from the financial to the philosophical – to forge careers in the arts and get inspiration to launch your own project. Four of the most exciting creators and visionaries working today will showcase and perform their work, offering tips and personal insights about how you can make your creative ideas become a reality.

Dynamic and colourful, Smashing It is an empowering movement for those who will be a part of tomorrow’s bigger picture.

“Absolutely necessary for anyone interested in the arts to devour these pages, to learn, create, laugh and, obviously, smash it”. Kate Tempest



Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor. She has performed across the UK and internationally, and has read in a diverse range of venues, from the 100 Club, 02 Arena, Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s, to the Royal Court, Globe, Buckingham Palace and various prisons, including Pentonville and Holloway. She has published three collections of poetry: Ska Tissue, The Woman Who Was Not There and her latest collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me.

Lisa Minerva Luxx

Lisa Minerva Luxx is a queer writer, performer, essayist and activist of British Syrian heritage. She is the winner of the Outspoken Prize for Performance Poetry in 2018 and was shortlisted for both the Peace Poetry Prize in 2016 and the Sabatuer Awards Best Spoken Word Performer in 2017. Luxx was nominated for the Arts Foundation Fellowship in Poetry and has been broadcast across channels including BBC Radio 4, VICE TV and ITV.

Rebecca Strickson

Rebecca Strickson works an illustrator and do-er of things, based in Lincolnshire (and occasionally London.) Working in illustration and fabric, she combines an intricate aesthetic with an equally detailed choice of subject. rebeccastrickson.com

Salena Godden

Salena Godden is a high-profile poet based in London. She is also an activist, broadcaster, essayist and memoirist whose work has been widely anthologised.

She has had several volumes of poetry published including Under The Pier (Nasty Little Press) Fishing in the Aftermath: Poems 1994-2014 (Burning Eye Books) Pessimism is for Lightweights (Rough Trade Books) and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road (Unbound).

Her poem Pessimism is for Lightweights is a public art piece, it was donated to The Peoples History Museum, Manchester, where it is now on permanent display. The work was unveiled in February 2020 to mark the museum’s 10th birthday.

She has recorded several albums, most recently her spoken-word album LIVEwire (Nymphs and Thugs) was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award in 2017.

Canongate pre-empted world rights to her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death. A documentary following the work-in-progress over 12 months was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Mrs Death Misses Death has been described by the publisher as an “electrifying genre- and form-defying firestarter.” It will be published in February 2021.



Smashing It Cover


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Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
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Hearing Loop: Firstsite does not have a hearing loop system in this room.

Essex Book Festival has a mobile Roger Pen hearing loop system, which needs to be booked by individuals in advance at least five days before the event. If you would like to use the Roger Pen email claire@essexbookfestival.org.uk