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Getting Politics Students Out of the Lecture Hall

On November 6, Dr. Liz Ralph-Morrow took her 3rd-year ‘Extremism and Populism’ class away from Strand Campus and travelled one-and-a-half-hours eastwards by bus to let her students experience the borough of that week’s topic: Dagenham & Barking.

“We learn by seeing – not just reading – and the field trip provided students with an opportunity to witness first-hand how the collapse of manufacturing in Barking and Dagenham has affected residents”, Dr. Ralph-Morrow told Roar.

The area has undergone huge transformation since the 1950s. In 1953, the Ford factory in Dagenham employed almost 40.000 people and today approximately 2000 are employed.

The area on the outskirts of East London is known for having been the scene of both Islamist and extremist nationalist movements.

“The field trip provided the class with an unusual opportunity to visit the same fieldwork sites featured in their readings for that week”, Dr Ralph-Morrow said.

A residential high-rise in Dagenham.

“Never further out than IKEA”


It is no secret that King’s lies in the heart of London. One of the students who went on the field trip, Marguerite Lacroix, said: “Dagenham & Barking is more important for a politics student to see and experience than say Windsor Castle, as most of privileged non-UK students never go further out of central London than IKEA.”

Dr. Ralph-Morrow adds: “KCL politics students learn about de-industrialisation and labour market transformations but may be geographically removed from the very topics they are studying due to the university’s central London location.”




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