Punk in the East is a history project with a difference. Not only does it document the history of punk in Norwich from 1976 to 1984, it does so ‘from below’ – by enabling punks from Norwich to collate, archive and produce their own social and cultural history.

The brainchild of Matthew Worley, Professor of Modern History, Punk in the East entailed gathering material from the era to forge a history that would coincide with the 40th anniversary of British punk’s emergence. Worley developed a strong social media presence and published a sell-out fanzine, Young Offenders: Punk in Norwich, 1976–84, featuring contributions from Norwich punks. Punk in the East went on to feature in a series of events in the Norwich Lanes area between October and December 2016, with influential punk bands such as The Ruts, Buzzcocks, Steve Ignorant from Crass and The Undertones making appearances.

Norwich Lanes also hosted a punk trail of 15 historic venues, and a Punk in the East exhibition at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell proved so popular that the museum reconfigured its space to extend the display into 2017. Stephen Hansell, singer in Norwich punk band The Disrupters, spoke for many when he said the project had made him thoughtful about his place in social history: “Back then I never thought for one minute that what we were doing would one day be regarded as social history. Funny old world.”


Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2017

First published: June 2017