A group of seven SU Abroad students went to London in May 2016 as part of the first-ever WRT 301: Civic Writing in London course, taught by Jess Pauszek in the College of Arts & Sciences. During their time in the United Kingdom, the students explored the rich history of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (the FWWCP), a non-profit organization established in 1976 to promote the belief that writing should be accessible to all people, especially to those in the working class.
Throughout the social turbulence of the 1980s in the UK, the FWWCP sought to promote the stories and voices of the working class, and the Federation continued its work until 2007. when it was reorganized and re-branded as the FED. The SU Abroad students on the course were able to speak to the FED’s members and to attend writing workshops that focused on the collected works of hundreds of working-class people.
This past December, the group published a book, Preserving Hidden Histories: Stories from Collaborative Writing Communities that contained a summary of their coursework and their own reflections on their time in London. Prose and poetry fill the pages, connecting students’ experiences growing up in working-class communities in the U.S. to the lessons they learned from workers throughout the UK.
The students and their professors look forward to publishing another volume of their reflections soon.