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People and Dancefloors

People and Dancefloors

By Sambiki Saru
People and Dancefloors is a participatory research project looking at narratives of ordinary people, illicit drug use and dance culture in the UK.

The first output of the project is a 25-min documentary film which will be released publicly in winter 2020. In the meantime, you can watch the People and Dancefloors trailer here:

For more info on our project, to participate in the research or find out about upcoming events, please check out the People and Dancefloors website:
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Currently playing episode

S01 E06 - In conversation with Mat Southwell

People and Dancefloors

S01 E09 - In conversation with Verity Smith
In this episode, we invited Verity Smith, a PhD researcher at Durham University, to share insights from her ethnographic study of drug policing at music festivals. In the podcast, she reflects on the challenges of multiagency work in festival environments, focusing particularly on some of the tensions between enforcement policing and harm reduction and risk minimisation objectives. Verity takes us on a journey from policing, private security, and sniffer dogs at the festival gate, all the way to festival utopias.  Can we change the culture of festivals towards harm reduction embedded in festival environment design? Total ear candy! Follow Verity on Twitter at @veritymasmith
March 1, 2021
S01 E08 - In conversation with Alex Aldridge
In our latest episode, we invited Alex Aldridge to talk about the relationship between sex and drugs. Alex is a researcher currently doing a PhD on the relationship between sex and drugs, particularly focusing on the issue of consent. She uses ethnographic methods to tease out the complexities of people’s sex on drugs experiences. In the podcast, we talk about some of the problems with the chemsex label, binary understandings of consent, the intersection of sex, drugs and dancefloors as encompassing events, embodiment and sex on drugs experiences, and more! Check out her work and follow her on Twitter at @AlexAldridge_
February 8, 2021
S01 E07 - In conversation with Marta Santuccio
In episode 7, Giulia is in conversation with someone close to her heart. Marta Santuccio is an embodied practitioner focusing on breathwork while studying for a PhD in philosophy. Giulia and Marta first experienced raving together many years ago. Here, they talk about how drug experiences have informed Marta’s personal and professional journey. To find out more about Marta’s work, visit her Instagram (fleshandskin) or her website.
February 1, 2021
S01 E06 - In conversation with Mat Southwell
In the sixth episode of our podcast series, Anthony and Giulia speak to Mat Southwell, a global advocate on drugs and HIV, technical support consultant and drug user activist. Mat was one of the co-founders of the the European Network of People who use Drugs. Mat was also one of the first people to introduce party harm reduction education through his work with MixMag in the 1990s. Here we discuss this early work, as well as media representations of drug use, the Dance-Drugs Alliance, and the importance of harm reduction as a strategy for drugs policy in the UK.
January 18, 2021
S01 E05 - In conversation with Bristol Drugs Project's Sorcha Ryan
In this latest podcast, we invited Sorcha Ryan, club and festival harm reduction lead at the Bristol Drugs Project, to talk about what inspired her pioneering harm reduction work, the wicked problems in drug policy practices and debates, and the opportunity for reflection and taking stock offered by this pandemic. We both agreed that more honest and open conversations among stakeholders that include drug users’ voices are one way forward…
January 6, 2021
S01 E04 - In conversation with Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK’s Hannah Head
In this episode, Giulia is in conversation with Hannah Head (@_HannaHead_), a PhD student, an activist, and a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) UK (@ssdpuk). We talk about the values of harm reduction, the role of drugs in young people’s lives, her work with SSDP and the need for universities to drop the ‘just say no’ rhetoric and develop more realistic, responsible and active harm reduction approaches to drug use by students to prevent drug related deaths.
October 19, 2020
S01 E03 - BBC's Ecstasy: The battle of rave
In this episode Anthony Killick and Becky Brookfield review a new BBC podcast series, Ecstasy: The battle of rave. While the series does well to interview people who were actually involved in ecstasy and rave culture throughout the ‘birth’ of acid house, it’s overarching ‘rise and fall’ narrative is typical of media that discusses drug use, and occludes a more interesting and urgent conversation about the relationship between subcultures and criminality. In particular, the series fails to make any new contribution on issues around class, drugs policy, and the closing down of raving spaces – questions which are just as relevant today as they were in the early 90s.
September 28, 2020
S01 E02 - A lockdown summer: What's Covid done to our festivals?
In episode two we focus on music festivals, the space they create for recreational drug use and the potential blueprint they offer for harm reduction.  This time Eve is in the hot seat explaining why festivals are the focus of her research and tells us more about her newest project: Festivals in Lockdown.  To participate in Eve's research on festivals in lockdown, you can answer a few questions here! 
September 21, 2020
S01 E01 - Corona-raves: What are they raging about?
In this podcast, we discuss a first experience of a rave during the pandemic. Albeit subjective and partial, a first-person account is a good launchpad for a broader discussion where we address media portrayals and associated stereotypes about raves, along with the tendency to blame young people’s recklessness and lack of responsibility for social, and in this case public health, ills. Finally, we question the categorisation of raves as “criminal” and as a “vector of disease”.
September 12, 2020