deborah madden

Humanities lecturer Dr Deborah Madden leads census project to be featured on BBC 3 podcast

The collaborative project (Census 2021: Using historical census data to highlight changing patterns in health, disability, housing, employment and identity) will use the upcoming census for creative learning sessions with under-represented local groups.

Dr Madden – Deputy Director of the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories in the School of Humanities – has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the project entitled Census 2021: Using historical census data to highlight changing patterns in health, disability, housing, employment and identity.

Working with under-represented groups in Brighton and Hastings, the project will design a programme of creative learning sessions for a range of school, healthcare and community settings. These will explore topics including how census returns changed between 1901 and 1911, the updating of questions in 2011, and the extent to which census data truly highlights key social, cultural, economic and political shifts.

There will also be a critical consideration of how newly elaborated questions in the 2021 Census relate to health, disability, housing, work, migration, gender, sexuality, as well as specific issues around inclusion and miscounting in census returns. More broadly, the project will demonstrate a novel use of public history and engagement, unearth hidden histories, and allow students to boost critical skills around history in applied and imaginative ways.

Dr Madden said: “The project offers our students a genuine opportunity to co-produce creative learning that can evidence how historical source analysis might be applied to a range of community settings”.

She will be recording a podcast about the work for BBC Three on 9 March (release date to be confirmed). There will also be a related community-led online talk with Q&A focused on issues around the census and disability, taking place free of charge on 16 March from 1100-1300. Registration details on Eventbrite.

The project involves collaboration with the university’s Widening Participation Team, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, as well as Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage CIC, British Polio Fellowship and Diversity and Ability.

Find out about studying the Humanities at Brighton.

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