Why Study the Rich?

An afternoon of talks and discussion

‘Why study the Rich?’ is an event that will bring together cross-disciplinary approaches to studying wealth in society. It will ask how these studies – of the rich, of the relationships between money and power, of our perceptions of wealth and success, might reveal a deeper understanding of the conditions of contemporary life and contribute to the debate about inequality in society.

‘Why study the Rich?’ culminates a project called The Rich as a Minority Group by artists Ruth Beale and Amy Feneck in collaboration with GCSE Sociology students from Little Ilford School in Newham. Together, the artists, students and teachers used active research processes to investigate and gather material about wealth and the wealthiest in society, and through discussion unpicked the complexity of our relationship and understanding of ‘the rich’.

The Rich as a Minority Group project is taken from an article written by Anne Simpson, published in a teachers journal from 1984 called Contemporary Issues in Geography and Education. Simpson states in her article:

“In order to understand poverty and deprivation amongst groups at local, national and international levels it is necessary to examine wealth and privilege. In order to understand powerlessness in some groups, it is important to focus on the ways in which power is maintained by others.”

‘Why study the Rich?’ will hear from sociologists, activists, writers and artists whose scrutiny, investigation and differing perspectives attempt to challenge cultural narratives and societal structures that are intrinsically linked to the maintenance of power.

Open discussion with the audience is encouraged throughout the afternoon, as together we attempt to evaluate what knoweldges of the rich might not only be useful in understanding how society works and why, but how society might be transformed.


Roger Burrows, Professor of Cities at Newcastle University

Aditya Chakrabortty, senior economics commentator for the Guardian

Jeremy Gilbert, writer, researcher and activist & Professor of cultural and political theory at UEL

Katharina Hecht, Phd student at LSE, on Economic Inequality

Jo Littler, Reader in cultural industries at City University London

Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy

Laure Provost, Artist, screening film ‘How to make money religiously’

The event is free, but booking via Eventbrite is required as there are limited places. Refreshments will be served. Older children and young adults welcome.


Photo Credit Zoe Tynan-Campbell