Is Home a Human Right? | Free Word

22 October 2019
19:00 21:00-

Presented by:
Free Word and CLASS


With Faiza Shaheen, Shaista Aziz, Dan Hancox, Jonathan Smales and James Woudhuysen.

Britain is facing a housing crisis of epic proportions. Yet our government is unwilling to take action. We know that housing is an essential human need – but who has a right to it, and on what terms?

Join us for an unmissable debate exploring the politics around housing, chaired by CLASS Think Tank’s Faiza Shaheen, featuring Shaista Aziz, Dan Hancox, Jonathan Smales and James Woudhuysen.

The debate will break down questions including: Should those seeking home and shelter be able to demand safety and standards too? What should happen when our government and local authorities fail to support people in need of housing? And does anyone have a right to a second or third home when some people don’t have one at all?

Dr Faiza Shaheen is an economist, writer, activist and commentator, who has regularly appeared on Newsnight and Channel 4 News covering inequality, austerity, immigration, youth unemployment and social mobility. Shaista Aziz is a journalist and anti racism and equalities campaigner who has worked with Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders (MSF), Oxfam, and written for The Guardian and New York Times. Dan Hancox writes on grassroots politics, pop culture and gentrification, and is the author of The Village Against The World and Inner City Pressure. Jonathan Smales is a sustainability specialist, the founder of Remarkable Cities, and chairman of the Beyond Green group.

CLASS (The Centre for Labour and Social Studies) is a leading think tank working to ensure policy is on the side of everyday people.


Season branding: THREAD Design | Photography: Rowan Spray 

22 October 2019
19:00 - 21:00
£10 / £7 (30 & under)

Free Word and CLASS


Dr Faiza Shaheen

Director of CLASS

Faiza is an economist, writer, activist and commentator. She is the author of a range of materials and publications covering the most salient social and economic debates of our times, including inequality, austerity, immigration, youth unemployment and social mobility. Faiza is a regular contributor to debates on popular news programmes including Newsnight and Channel 4 News, and has worked with Channel 4 and the BBC to develop documentaries on inequality.

Shaista Aziz


Shaista Aziz is a journalist an anti racism and equalities campaigner. She has worked as a communications specialist for a number of international organisations including Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders (MSF) and Oxfam. She has worked extensively across the Middle East, Pakistan, East and West Africa. Her writing and journalism has been published in a number of international publications including The Guardian, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post and New York Times. She regularly contributes as a guest on national radio and TV panel discussions including reviewing the newspapers for BBC Radio. She is the co founder of the Labour Homelessness Campaign, one of the founders of the Stop Trump Coalition and Intersectional Feminist Foreign Policy. She is a Labour councillor for Oxford City Council.

Dan Hancox


Dan Hancox is a writer from London, focusing on grassroots politics, pop culture and gentrification, and the author of The Village Against The World (Verso, 2013) and Inner City Pressure (William Collins, 2019).

Jonathan Smales

Sustainable Developer

Jonathan is the founder of Remarkable Cities and for 14 years has been the executive chairman of the Beyond Green group of businesses. A human geographer, schooled in the work of Jane Jacobs, Ivan Illich, Lewis Mumford and David Harvey, he now puts his interests into practice as a developer and regenerator of places, a promoter of outstanding public realm (via a jv with Copenhagen-based Schulze+Grassov) and sustainability specialist. His obsessions are integrated, multidisciplinary design for places, partnerships across sectors and deep collaboration on complex projects all in the service of places, infrastructures, communities and lifestyles that can deliver both better and inherently sustainable outcomes

James Woudhuysen


James Woudhuysen helped install Britain’s first computer-controlled car park in 1968, before graduating in physics. He wrote about chemical and biological weapons for The Economist in 1978, completed an instruction manual for word processing in 1983, led a multi-client study on e-commerce in 1988, and suggested internet TV in 1993. He has worked with Amadeus, American Express, Dassault Systèmes, Dell, Fujitsu, Heathrow Airport, Sage and USTORES, as well as with the cities of Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff and Croydon. Now visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University, Woudhuysen contributes regularly to SkyNews and spiked. He is editor of Big Potatoes: the London manifesto for innovation (Shanghai Jia Tong University Press, 2012), author of The political economy of informal events, 2030 (Access All Areas, 2019), and co-editor of The Wiley Handbook of Design and Innovation 2030 (Wiley, 2021).



There is step-free access to all areas of Free Word and a number of other facilities available to make the venue accessible. 

  • Our box office, theatre and hall are all on the ground floor with step-free access from the street
  • Meeting rooms and offices are accessible by lift from the ground floor
  • There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor
  • Hearing loops are available at the box office and the theatre (when set up theatre style) and in all meeting rooms
  • If you need to bring someone for assistance, please get in touch with us so we can provide a free ticket for them

Please talk to our team if you have specific access requirements.