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Dr Alida Payson

Research Fellow

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS

I hold an early career fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for the three-year project Charity shop country: conviviality and survival in austerity Britain. Charity shop country explores how charity shops, everywhere on the high street (11,200 in 2017) but perhaps overlooked, matter for living together in a time of rising austerity and inequality.

I investigate how shops appear in popular media, the look and feel of different shops, and how charity shop volunteers, workers, shoppers, and donors describe their lived experiences of these spaces of thrift, shopping, working, giving back, making do and being together. My analysis explores and challenges contemporary debates on the history and politics of charity, austerity and eroding welfare, how neoliberal selves and collectivities take shape, and the moody power of material objects and spaces. Here and in earlier projects, I am interested in how people navigate cramped and changing presents in everyday sites, such as community centres and charity shops, and in engaging people creatively in the research process.






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