History Workshop 17, Industrialisation and After, took place at Manchester Polytechnic between 11 November and 13 November 1983.The meetings were interspersed with cultural events such as films, plays, exhibitions, and a concert – showing an interest in cultural practices which had also been present at early Workshops held at Ruskin College.
Discussion took place around a number of parallel discussion strands, including ‘Ideologies of Industrialisation’, ‘Work Process’, ‘Education and Industrialism’, ‘People’s History’, ‘Industrial Employers’, ‘The African and Indian Experience’, ‘People’s Culture’, ‘Communities and Industrial Society’, ‘Health’, ‘British Case: Unique?’. Papers given included The Mass Trespass Movement, The Pit Brow Lasses, Poor Law Education and the Urban Pauper Child, and Ideology, Hegemony, Pleasure: Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
The subject of industrialisation represented greater emphasis on more traditional labour history than had been the case with Workshop 16. Speakers were recruited from universities, polytechnics, schools, local history groups, trade unions, and political campaigns – attempting to encompass the broad constituency the Workshop aimed to serve.