Intervention – “Reading Groups as Radical Research Practice”

Kelvin Mason, University of Liverpool

Sam Halvorsen, University College London

Kerry Burton, University of the West of England


Reading groups represent a common practice both inside and outside the university, and in many cases provide an important space that breaches the divide. Nevertheless, there is relatively little critical reflection on the political significance of reading groups, their practical utility, and the challenges involved. This intervention emerged through an encounter between three UK-based academic-activists, sharing our experiences of “doing reading groups” in and around the university.

Over the last few years, there has been something of a participatory turn in academic geography, with discussions about the potentials of “participatory action research” (Kindon et al. 2007), “militant research” (Shukaitis and Graeber 2007), and “engaging” (Wills 2014), amongst other approaches and themes, including co-production. Many of these discussions have explored the extent to which the university facilitates participatory encounters…

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