Tag Archives: FAS

The Feminist Archive South and Women’s Liberation Music Archive at Special Collections

Firstly may we take the opportunity to wish you and yours all the best in these very difficult times. We also wanted to reassure you that though Special Collections Staff are now working at home and away from the archives and books, our collections and buildings are also being regularly checked, and are safe. At the moment we are not able to access the archives to answer individual queries, but do get in touch and we will see what we can do to help. Special-collections@bristol.ac.uk

 For our students (and non University of Bristol students)

We know that students working on the Feminist Archive South were some of the last people to be working in our Reading Room as lockdown developed around us. You are probably being ingenious, finding other ways to approach your research, talking to your supervisors, and subject librarians, but remember to get in touch with us, we may be able to help

For our academics (and non University of Bristol academics)

We’ve met some of you or we’ve worked together before. During the Summer term 2019 we held several seminars for University of Bristol academics, using the Feminist Archive South and Women’s Liberation Music Archive. Many issues now arise, such as: planning seminars for this term; looking ahead to teaching sessions for 2020/21, in whatever shape or form it takes; thinking about your research during Summer 2020; advising your students about accessing the archive?  So many questions, do get in touch, we may be able to help.

For our friendly activists, artists, trustees

Special Collections, the Feminist Archive South, the Women’s Liberation Music Archive, and allied collections are not just open for academic study, they are open for inspiration, for activism, and for a wider perspective on the past/present/future. Along with other feminist archives, such as our sister Feminist Archive North at the University of Leeds, and many more, we try to preserve the history of the past to make it relevant for the present. We have worked with you in many different ways, so get in touch and see if we can help now.

News updates

British Library Exhibition

You may know that we were going to lend five items from FAS to the ‘Unfinished Business’ Exhibition at the British Library from 24 April to August 2020. This exhibition has been postponed until October 2020-February 2021, but check out the British Library’s blog for activities which are going on now.

For instance you can listen to an excellent Mary Wollstonecraft birthday podcast or follow  @BL_ModernMSS on twitter to find out more.

‘Unfinished Business’ Exhibition at the British Library, London. Photograph by Hannah Lowery, 29 February 2020.

Monica Sjoo Artist

A group of people are working together to curate an exhibition of the art work of Monica Sjoo.  There is an international angle to their work, and we are happy to put you in touch with people.  Check the online archive catalogue for a description of the rich archive we hold.

‘Still I Rise’ exhibition, Arnolfini, Bristol. Photograph by Hannah Lowery, September 2019.

Hatpins to Hashtags and the Politics and Protest Exhibition

Looking back to 2018 and the wonderful work which the Feminist Archive South did in their Hatpins to Hashtags Government funded workshops Special Collections recently helped exhibit the Politics and Protest banners in the University of Bristol Life Sciences Building. This was the first time that we managed to display these in the University of Bristol. Thanks to everyone involved.  It was a good opportunity for different generations of activists to get together, some who had attended celebratory meetings in Oxford so celebrate fifty years of the first Women’s Movement Conference. Current conditions mean the next planned loans of the exhibition won’t be able to go ahead, but the messages of the posters are as relevant today as they were in the recent past, so we would love to spread the word. Many volunteers were also involved in workshops in 2018, which led to crowd cataloguing of some of the thousand plus posters. The posters now are mainly onsite in ASSL, and we need to have further discussions to see if we can carry on the crowd cataloguing of the digitised posters, do get in touch if you want to find out more.

Politics & Protest exhibition banners in the University of Bristol Life Sciences Building.

Politics & Protest exhibition banners in the University of Bristol Life Sciences Building. Photograph by Hannah Lowery, March 2020.

SPAN Project

The SPAN Project (Single Parent Action Network), based at the Barton Hill Settlement, has been a collaborative project with AHRC funding, organised by Professor Josie McLellan, University of Bristol History Department, and others.  A project archivist and volunteers have been working on the archive, which, as soon as it is possible, will be housed in Special Collections, as an adjunct of the Feminist Archive South. We look forward to receiving the thirty or so boxes and catalogue. Thanks everyone.

Spare Rib

Last year, extra funding from the University of Cambridge allowed us to get an archivist colleague in Bristol to do some extra work on the Spare Rib Archive held in the Feminist Archive South.  So thank you to Lucy Delap and Jayne Pucknell for making that happen. This means we have a much better idea of the holdings and also can better provide access to the materials, as they are sensitive in their content. Thanks too to the many others involved in this project.

Whilst talking about Spare Rib, don’t forget that digital copies can be found here. However they are not complete due to copyright issues, and we look forward to having access again to our physical copies in the near future.

We would also like to remind you about recent acquisitions of archives relating to Asphodel Long  (DM2767) and Daniel Cohen (DM2966). Kind volunteers have helped us to start improving access to these collections, and we hope to be able to do more work on this in the future. For the moment these catalogue entries are not available.

Online Archive Catalogue

Link to Major Collections: Feminist Archive South: Choose Advanced Search then drop down menu Major Collections: Feminist Archive South.

FAS: DM2123

WLMA: DM2598

Our web page

Collections Strength Webpage

Feminist Archive South Website

Women’s Liberation Music Archive

Special Collections also tweets at @BrisUniSpColl, and you may well find mentions of the Feminist Archive South quite frequently.

Finally our version of a sound cloud listing some of the recent research topics in the Archive. It is an amazing resource, do ask and we will try and help make it accessible to you.

Dora Russell’s Peace Caravan; male anti-sexism newsletters; domestic violence; menstruation; Greenham Common; self care in times of protest; first Women’s Liberation Conferences in Oxford, 1970; women in the manual trades; suffragettes; peace movements; Spare Rib; Virago Publishing; Monica Sjoo.

A big thank you to everyone who has helped make the Feminist Archive South and allied collections develop since they were first deposited in Special Collections in January 2008.  A lot of important anniversaries and additional archives have happened since that time. We raise a glass to you then, now, and in the future. Cheers

Hannah Lowery

7 May 2020

Ruth Donaldson’s summer 2018 in Special Collections

Papers relating to Margaret Leach (DM2701).

Papers relating to Margaret Leach (DM2701).

This summer I spent a wonderful two months as an intern with the Special Collections team, based in the Arts and Social Sciences Library. My main responsibility was supervising the Reading Room. This meant getting to grips with the archive’s vast collection and retrieving documents for readers. I became familiar with some of the archive’s most fascinating collections, from feminist archive posters to the 18th Century diaries of the Pinney family (DM58). Another of my key responsibilities was to work through Special Collection’s paper catalogues, eventually entering the data into the archive software CALM so that it could be searchable by the public on the Special Collections online catalogue.

John Pinney’s Letter concerning Pero’s health. Pinney Letter Book 14, page 74 (DM58).

John Pinney’s Letter concerning Pero’s health. Pinney Letter Book 14, page 74 (DM58).

Poster in the Feminist Archive South Collection (DM2123).

Poster in the Feminist Archive South Collection (DM2123).

I was also given the opportunity to catalogue the papers of Margaret Leach (DM2701), which were donated to the archive several years ago and form part of the Long Ashton Research Station collection. Margaret kept a diary for every year of her life, a hugely impressive feat. It was strange and wonderful to trace the life of this woman from the age of 11 – with entries on the hours spent in an air raid shelter during WWI – through to her flourishing scientific career and rich retirement.

Another fascinating part of the collection are the bundles of letters from Margaret’s brother, Thomas Leach, positioned in Nigeria as a military veterinarian, to Margaret and their mother, and Ida. Reading the accounts of holidays, neighbourhood gossip and correspondence of everyday life it is difficult not to feel privileged by the window of access into the life of this close family.

Margaret’s senior role as head of the Domestic Preservation Section of Long Ashton Research Station was the pinnacle of a long and illustrious career. She would frequently travel the UK giving lectures on food preservation to amateur and professional groups. A hugely accomplished person, Margaret is just one example of the many remarkable women whose papers lie in the archives waiting to have their stories told.

One of the things I will take way from my two months as intern was the passion and commitment of the team I was working with. The lengths to which they went to help researchers, as well as their incredible knowledge of the collections, meant that not only did I learn a lot but feel enthused the archive is in the hands of a team dedicated to sharing it with the public.