Conviction Politics: The Convict Routes of Australian Democracy (Manchester)

Date 11.11.2021
Time 6:30pm (GMT)
Location People’s History Museum Left Bank Spinning Fields Manchester M3 3ER
Date: 11.11.2021 Time: 6:30pm (GMT)


Conviction Politics explores the story of radicals and rebels transported as political convicts to Australia. This international digital history project is proud to launch its centrepiece: an online Transmedia Hub and a sequence of short documentaries. Using a mixture of compelling animation, live action and music, the documentaries tell the stories of democratic reformers, labour protestors, and revolutionaries exiled as political prisoners to Australia in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

The Hub will be formally launched by Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West Trades Union Congress. The launch event will be held at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the UK’s national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.

The launch event will showcase several documentaries, animations and songs developed by award-winning media production partner Roar Film. Finally, a panel discussion featuring several of the project’s researchers will explore this shared history of struggle with lessons for today.

Please register and book with the link above to attend in person or please register here to join online.

Another date for your diaries is 6.00pm  (AEDT) 2 December  2021  from Melbourne in person and online.


  • Nigel Costley is the Regional Secretary of the South West Trades Union Congress. Prior to joining the TUC, Nigel was the elected officer for the Graphical Paper and Media Union based in Gloucester, a position he held for 15 years. Nigel has held many additional positions, representing trade unions, including Board Member of the South West Regional  Development Agency and Governor of the University of the West of England. Nigel is the main organiser of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival held to commemorate the six farm workers transported for forming a union in 1834 and to celebrate the campaign that freed them.

  • Katy Ashton is Director of the People’s History Museum. Katy has worked in the museum sector for over 20 years with roles in national, local authority and independent museums. Prior to joining the PHM in 2010, Katy led the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law in Nottingham. Katy has a strong background in learning and audience engagement which underpins a passion for museums to be relevant to contemporary issues and events, resonant with people’s lives – empowering them to get actively involved in their own history, heritage and communities.

  • Tony Moore is Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Monash University and leads the Conviction Politics project. He is author of Dancing with Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians since 1860 (2012) and Death or Liberty: Rebels and Radicals Transported to Australia 1788-1868 (2010), adapted as a television documentary of the same name (2015). Tony has had previous careers as a documentary maker at the ABC and academic commissioning editor at Pluto Press and Cambridge University Press.

  • Erin Garratt and Joanna Mapp (below) are currently in their final year of the BA History degree programme at the University of South Wales. In their second year, as part of the programme’s work-based learning module, they participated in the Conviction Politics project. They researched the biographies and historical context of the convicts who were sent from Wales to Australia in the nineteenth century. Although they were not able to get into the physical archives due to Covid-related closures, they were able to use online archival collections to find some fascinating material about political prisoners from Wales

  • Joanna Map

  • Steve Thomas is a filmmaker with extensive expertise in documentary, multimedia, and interactive digital storytelling. He has contributed to over 30 award-winning film and television projects since 1995. Steve is Creative Director at Hobart-based production company Roar Film, and his work at Roar has been broadcast on ABC, SBS, NITV, ZDF Germany, TG4 Ireland, S4C Wales, and the Discovery Channel. He has also collaborated with institutions such as the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Trust of Australia, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

  • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a Professor of History at the University of New England. Hamish has authored many books and articles on convict transportation, the history of crime and the health of past populations. He specialises in the use of digital data to explore life course outcomes and has worked on a number of heritage site interpretations and other visualisation projects. He lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

Conviction Politics Partners