History Workshop 15 was held in Brighton between 6 and 8 November 1981. Unlike most previous Workshops, there was no overarching theme. This Workshop marked the second in a row held in Brighton, and the second in the itinerant phase of the Workshop’s History. Cultural events such as theatrical performances, readings, and exhibitions also took place throughout the Workshop.
As had become the norm with History Workshops, there were two plenary sessions at the beginning and the end of the Workshop, and multiple parallel discussion sessions for the bulk of the weekend. Sessions included ‘Labour Party and Social Democracy’, ‘Imperialism’, ‘Teaching History’, ‘People’s History’, ‘Education and the Labour Movement’, ‘Peasantry’, and ‘Peace Movements’. Papers included Red Vienna, Tory Strategy in India, ‘No Nuclear Weapon’ in the Classroom, and Clydeside Rent Strike 1920.
In the established pattern of History Workshops by this time, speakers were drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds. These included universities, adult education colleges, schools, political movements, and local history workshops. A keynote address at the end of the Workshop was delivered under the title The Politics of Peace Now by Edward Thompson, who was both a historian and a major figure in the contemporary anti-nuclear movement. This was a product of History Workshop’s wider political purpose – in linking the study of the past with current political struggles.