UK National Workshop

Modes of Persuasion: Humour and the Promotion and Control of Intoxicants Past and Present

A free online workshop co-organised by the HERA research project Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe, 1600–1850 and the Wellcome Collection, to be held live via Zoom (UK time/GMT). Videos available below.

Thursday 21–Friday 22 January 2021

Focusing on the experience of the British Isles, this workshop will explore the role of humour in the promotion and control of intoxicants from the sixteenth century to the present day. Encompassing all kinds of drug – from licit commodities such as alcohol, caffeines, and tobacco to illegal substances like ecstasy and opium – the event will range across material, textual, and visual sources generated by advertisers, commentators, public health authorities, and reformers. We hope to emerge from the workshop with a clearer sense of how playfulness, levity, satire, and wit have historically figured and functioned within these discourses, with a particular view to informing practitioner and policy campaigns and communications around narcotics going forward.

Thursday 21 January

1:45pm: Welcome & Introduction
James Brown (University of Sheffield), Eoin O’Cearnaigh (Wellcome Collection), William Schupbach (Wellcome Collection), Phil Withington (University of Sheffield)

2–3:30pm: Panel 1: Materials & Collections
Chair: Eoin O’Cearnaigh (Wellcome Collection)

3:30–3:45pm: Tea Break

3:45–5:15pm: Panel 2: Promotion & Celebration
Chair: John Gallagher (University of Leeds)

Kate Davison (University of Sheffield)
‘The Delights of the Bottle’: Selling and Celebrating Intoxicants in Eighteenth-Century British Print

Steve McKevitt (Leeds Beckett University)
Refreshing the Parts – Humour and Storytelling: The Emergence of Emotional Appeals in Alcohol Advertising during the Late Twentieth Century

Bob Nicholson (Edge Hill University)
Comic Cocktails: Humour, American Drinks, and Transatlantic Relations in the Nineteenth Century

Friday 22 January

2–3:30pm: Panel 3: Control & Demonisation
Chair: Alice Mauger (UCD)

3:30–3:45pm: Tea Break

3:45–5:15pm: Panel 4: Commentary & Discussion
Chair: Phil Withington (University of Sheffield)

James Nicholls (Transform Drug Policy)
Peter Rice (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems)
Gerda Reith (University of Glasgow)