‘Our Subversive Voice: The History and Politics of the English Protest Song’ is a two-year research project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is based at the University of East Anglia, and involves colleagues from the universities of Warwick and Reading. We are investigating the use of song to register protest through the ages, from 1600 to 2020.
This website allows you to follow the work of the project. You will find case studies of particular songs and themes; interviews with songwriters and experts; a bibliography of scholarship and anthologies; and contributions from other writers with an interest in the history and politics of the protest song – both English and otherwise.
We are interpreting ‘English’ loosely (and contentiously) as meaning either written by an English national, or having a particular bearing or influence upon specifically English political culture.
The core of the website is its database of 750 protest songs from 1600–2020, of which 250 are showcased as the most distinctive and important.
We hope that this resource will prove of interest to Romanticists. It features many abolitionist songs, reworkings of Shelley and Byron, and a whole platoon of labour poets and radical writers. We welcome suggestions from BARS members, particularly ideas for guest blogs.