A conference was held on 10 June 2011 at Cardiff University to celebrate the work of foundation Director of WISERD, Huw Beynon. Huw has made a very important contribution to the sociological analysis of work-places, most notably through his studies of the motor car and coal industries. He has also conducted major studies of the impacts of industrial change on particular places, in the north east of England, Manchester and, most recently, South Wales. His work has been very influential in setting the intellectual agenda that is now being pursued by WISERD.
These contributions to social science research were celebrated by a number of distinguished speakers, including Ray Hudson (the chair of the WISERD Advisory Group), Hilary Wainwright, Lionel Cliffe, Jill Rubery, Tony Lane, Theo Nichols and Michael Burawoy (an international member of the WISERD Advisory Group).
The current WISERD Director, Gareth Rees, gave a presentation on a research project currently being carried out within WISERD, involving Huw, Heike Döring and him. This work focuses on Ebbw Vale and aims to develop our understanding of the role of the state in the restructuring of social and economic relations locally.
The event concluded with a photographic representation and reading that depicted some the effects of the 1984-1985 coal strike in Easington in County Durham. This was especially appropriate not only because of Huw’s deep involvement with the miners, but also his pioneering of the use of photographs in sociological research.