The most recent project ‘Song Lines to Impact and Legacy’ has had wider national and international ambitions and has used the core technique of ‘Community Tarot’ readings and the vehicle of community radio to reach new participants in the UK and to link to other national and international audiences in Slovenia, Hungary, Malawi and the USA.

As with ‘Opening the “unclosed space”, this has been a project of two phases, but delivered over a year. In phase one, the Community Tarot technique was rolled out through Ghost Labs that engaged 6 new communities, and incorporated and connected marginalised and diverse groups of participants. This involved individual ‘readings’ which were then collected together and scaled up as community readings, assembling a kind of living cultural lexicon of community imagination as themes emerge for sustained reflection, creative work, and action.

In the second phase, the creative materials generated through those Community Tarot readings and the activities of the Ghost Labs have been used to stimulate the creation of a set of contemporary ‘video ballads’ that have been specially written in the tradition of dissenting song by project partners, folk musicians Ribbon Road.

These ‘video ballads’ form part of “song lines” of ‘living knowledge’ that were initiated in the 6 new communities and fed outwards through a series of politicised community engagement events, two community radio documentaries, and an archive of films, that have had a local, regional, national and international reach. These public-facing works have included pop-up theatre devised again by New Vic Theatre Borderlines and, most notably, interactive engagement through international community radio. The established project team was joined by an artists’ network in the North East and community broadcast media specialists Sheffield Live! and the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC).

Read the project’s full bid to the AHRC Connected Communities programme here.





“The Ghost Lab is intentionally, then, something of a theoretical and practical rag-bag." This section notes the key currents that feed in to our inquiry in to ‘living knowledge’, through projects that began with an attempt to operationalise Avery Gordon’s notion of ‘social haunting’.


 Academics, partners and creative practitioners reflect on the qualities that make the ‘Ghost Lab’ significant, analysis of the contributions of participants, how ‘social haunting’ was operationalised, and the tensions between instinctively “getting it” and the work’s complexities.


*Coming Soon* online access to data from this project, via Manchester Metropolitan University

“...some strong topics, that still haunt us, even if many years past by. For example the topic of partisans vs Slovene home guard from the second world war. ”
— Listener to ‘Songlines and Social Haunting’ on Radio Student, Ljubljana
“What came out clearly for me through my involvement in this project is that even whilst this may be a sometimes difficult process, there is also great strength, hope and resilience that comes to the surface as a result.”
— Amanda Benson, Co-I, Co-operative College


 Conference (upcoming): ‘Classed affect and (social) haunting across global spaces’, panel at Working Class Studies Association annual conference, Stony Brook University, NY. June, 2018. (Valerie Walkerdine, Joseph Varga, Mark James, Geoff Bright)



Giving Up The Ghosts film ballad – by Ribbon Road



‘Waving Like The Palm Trees’

- by Ribbon Road, Urdu translation


Song Lines to Impact - “ sit together as long as it takes to understand...”

By Steve Pool





PI – Dr Geoff Bright

Co-Is – Andrew McMillan (poet), Dr Sarah McNicol.

Community Co-Is – Amanda Benson (The Co-operative College), Mark James (Unite Community).

Creative Practitioners – East Durham Artists’ Network, Jim Medway (comic artist), Max Munday (community broadcaster), New Vic Borderlines (theatre), Steve Pool (film maker), Ribbon Road (musicians) with Carl Joyce (photographer).

Community Partners – World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC), Burslem Jubilee Project, Sheffield Live!, WEA North West region, Mind Young Advisors Rochdale