This one-day symposium is the culmination of a BA/ Leverhulme Small Research Grant funded project on the cultural economy of comedy in the East Midlands. This event brings together comedians and comedy researchers to explore comedy, precarity and inequality today. The Symposium will be held on Friday 17th February 2023 in Leicester, UK (venue TBC).

Recent years have seen an increased focus on issues of equality within stand- up comedy, a focus that only increased during the pandemic. The formation of the Live Comedy Association in response to lack of government support to comedy during the pandemic represents a change in understanding of how the industry should support those working in the industry. Similarly, the recent launch of Equity’s Comedian’s Charter at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe demonstrates the importance of working conditions within the industry. It is within this context that this event has been organised to explore the Cultural Economy of Comedy. The event will take place in February when the Leicester Comedy Festival, the largest comedy festival in Europe takes place.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr Sharon Lockyer, Reader in Sociology and Communications and Director at the Centre for Comedy Studies Research at Brunel University. Alongside Dr Lockyer’s keynote there will also be presentations from comedy researchers and those working in the industry to advocate for practices within the industry.

We invite 15-minute presentations that discuss contemporary stand-up comedy. Papers topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Sexism and misogyny within contemporary stand-up
  • Disability and contemporary stand-up
  • Class and contemporary stand-up
  • Race and contemporary stand-up
  • Sexuality and contemporary stand-up
  • COVID-19 and its impact on contemporary stand-up
  • Precarity and contemporary stand- up

Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words alongside a short bio of around 100 words.

To make the symposium accessible to all who wish to attend, there will be the option to present online if preferred. In addition, the symposium can offer travel grants of up to £250 per person for those wishing to attend. These grants can be used to pay for travel and subsistence at the symposium. Travel grant applications from PGR and precariously employed researchers will be prioritised. There will be the option to apply for a grant on the abstract submission form. The abstract submission form can be accessed here The deadline for submissions will be Friday 9th December 2022.

Please contact with any questions or queries.