Author Archives: feministarchivesouth

Welcome back…

After a long hiatus, the Feminist Archive South is open again! The Archive is accessible through Special Collections at the University of Bristol, please contact Special Collections directly to arrange a visit.

We are also so thrilled to see materials from the Feminist Archive South included in a major exhibition at The British Library:

Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights

Open until Sun 1 Aug 2021

and in an upcoming exhibition at the Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, Wales:

The Mobile Feminist Library: In Words, In Action, In Connection | MOSTYN

Opening 3 July-Sept 2021

Save the date! Hatpins to Hashtags Launch 2 Sept, Red Brick Building, Glastonbury

We are pleased to announce the launch of Hatpins to Hashtags:

Sunday 2 September
Red Brick Building (accessible)
From midday (programme tbc)

The event will be a welcome and launch to the whole project, opening our dynamic poster exhibition, alongside crafts, a panel debate, workshops and conversations. Do put it in your diary!

Posters courtesy of Feminist Archive South

The exhibition will be on display in the Moreland Room at the Red Brick Building for a further 10 days, accompanied by Digital Democracy training sessions and Future Feminisms workshops.

Hatpins to Hashtags is a three strand project exploring and reclaiming the tools of democracy to mobilize activism and celebrate herstory. Throughout the Autumn and Winter, Hatpins to Hashtags will also be travelling to:

Weston-super–Mare — Weston College, Conference Centre
Taunton – CICCIC, Creative Innovation Centre CIC
Bridport – Literary and Scientific Institute
Plymouth — venue tbc

We’ll be announcing dates for all these locations very soon, so watch this space for more details.

We’re also still recruiting volunteers to help us make the project happen — email if you are interested in joining the team.

Introducing Hatpins to Hashtags: Volunteer meeting 5 June 7-9pm, Spike Island

As some of you may already know, we are extremely pleased to share the news that Feminist Archive South has been awarded over £50,000 by the Government Equalities Office as part of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Grant Scheme for our 3 strand project Hatpins to Hashtags.

Read more about the project in the blog post below this one.

Feminist Archive South would like to invite you to a volunteer meeting to discuss the project on Tuesday 5th June, 7-9pm in the Associates Space at Spike Island.

Please come to the front doors at Spike and one of the FAS team will be there to let you in (the Associates space is upstairs and you need a pass to get through the doors).

The meeting will be an opportunity to hear more about Hatpins to Hashtags, share your thoughts and ideas, collectively organise and join the network of people working on the project.

Hatpins to Hashtags aims to increase knowledge of UK democracy and contribute to greater gender parity in local and national politics through three interlinked project strands: digital engagement, educational workshops and a touring exhibition. These events will celebrate the historical legacy of suffrage and the WLM and bring untold feminist narratives to light. They will also work to engage groups underrepresented in politics and civic life, particularly LGBT+ people, those from lower-socio-economic backgrounds, and those living in rural isolation, with caring responsibilities or homebound due to a disability.

If you plan to attend, drop an email to so we know how many people to expect — and please share this email far and wide with anyone you think may be interested!

If you have any access needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. Spike Island has disabled access throughout the building and you can find a statement about accessibility on their website. If you can’t make the meeting, don’t worry — we will be organising more soon and please feel free to get in touch with any thoughts in the meantime or suggestions on the most accessible times of the day/week we can hold meetings.

Once again, we’d like to say a really big thank you to all of the brilliant volunteers who have been coming to the workshops and giving their time to digitising our collection of 1000 posters.


There are a few spaces left on the digital archiving poster workshops TOMORROW, 16th May and two more on 20th June and 18th July from 2-5pm at Special Collections in the Arts and Social Sciences Library, University of Bristol (accessible). Please email to sign up for a workshop.


Tuesday 5th June: Translating Latin American Feminisms Workshop

A workshop exploring feminist translation strategies and the rich and varied collection of Latin American feminist magazines, posters and pamphlets. Participants will be invited to translate from Spanish and/or Portuguese to English. Led by Ellie O’Connell and Dr Katie Brown.

If you would like to write for our blog get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter.

The Feminist Archive awarded funding from the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Grant Scheme

The Feminist Archive is delighted to announce that it has been awarded over £50,000 by the Government Equalities Office as part of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Grant Scheme.

FAS was one of 8 standout schemes to be awarded a share of the Large Grant Fund designed to “celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage, educate young people about its significance, and encourage more women to participate in public life so that they have an equal voice.”

As well as the Women’s Suffrage Centenary, 2018 marks the 40thanniversary of the the Feminist Archive South which was established in 1978 to document the histories of international feminist social movements active between 1960-2000. Including over 160 metres of diverse archive materials – oral histories, pamphlets, posters, the personal papers of women activists, periodicals– the archive tells the story of how activists struggled for gender equality and realised the increased participation of women in public life. Alongside our partner archive based at the University of Leeds (FAN), we hold one of the most significant collections of women’s activist histories in the UK.

The Women’s Suffrage Centenary project aims to increase knowledge of UK democracy and contribute to greater gender parity in local and national politics through three interlinked project strands: digital engagement, educational workshops and a touring exhibition. These events will celebrate the historical legacy of suffrage and the WLM and bring untold feminist narratives to light. They will also work to engage groups underrepresented in politics and civic life, particularly LGBT+ people, those from lower-socio-economic backgrounds, and those living in rural isolation, with caring responsibilities or homebound due to a disability.

  • Strand One ‘Hatpins to Hashtags: Digital Democracy’ will deliver intensive training days on working with participatory, active democracy platforms via adult education centres and support women to cascade their digital democracy learning.
  • Strand Two will develop and deliver a series of educational workshops for young people aged 16 – 30 at FE colleges and youth groups, providing engaging educational opportunities for young people to learn about the diverse histories of feminist activism as it links to contemporary debates about gender equality in their lives.
  • Strand Three will celebrate and reflect on the achievements of the feminist movement to date by curating five exhibitions of FAS’ rich poster collection across the South West as well as delivering a speaker series at each regional exhibition addressing topics such as ‘Intersectional suffrage’ and ‘Digital feminism: challenging online abuse’.

The Feminist Archive would like to express our gratitude to the Government Equalities Office for funding this project and congratulate the 7 other winning projects. You can read more about the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Grant Schemeand other projects here and follow our news and project developments on Twitter and Facebook.

The Feminist Archive South Turns 40!

The Feminist Archive South is planning to kick start a year of projects to celebrate its 40th anniversary with an invitation to explore some of the most radical and striking posters held by the University of Bristol’s Special Collections. The event, which will take place on 31st January from 2-5pm, will be the first of a series of monthly collaborative workshops seeking to engage new audiences with the archive.

The Feminist Archive South holds over 160 metres of inspirational materials collected by activists documenting the progression of feminist politics since the 1960s. Our drive for the next era in the FAS is to create new opportunities for discover the diversity of our collections, explore the intersectionality of materials and bring untold feminist narratives to light.

These sessions will enable participants to learn about archive cataloguing, have a good rummage in our collections and meet people who are interested in the feminist archive. No previous experience is necessary – we welcome anyone curious about the archive to come along and find out more.

The archive sessions will lay the foundations for the 40th anniversary projects, within which we plan to develop cutting-edge learning resources and a new exhibition based on topics such as gender in education, migration and transnational feminisms.

The workshop launch on 31st January will be a chance to see and research posters ranging from politics and performing arts to violence and Reclaim the Night.

The dates for the first four events are 31 Jan, 14 Feb, 21 March and 18 April from 2-5pm at Special Collections, UoB Arts and Social Sciences Library (wheelchair accessible). If you are interested in attending or have any questions please get in touch by emailing Numbers are limited therefore registration is essential.

Collective Annotation – Archival Discovery – Workshops

Feminist Archive South present…

Collective Annotation / Archival Discovery

Two free workshops that invite the people of Bristol to

  • Explore our collections
  • Collaborate and contribute
  • Leave their mark in the archival record
  • Tell new archival stories

Describe, categorise and tag artefacts from the Feminist Archive South.



Why archive catalogues, especially within a digital environment, are important


How your contributions can transmit feminist history into the future


New ways to describe the contents of the feminist archive

Who are these workshops for?

Anyone who wants to help enrich feminism’s archival records and ensure they are preserved for the long term.

No previous experience of archives is necessary, as you will be guided through the exercise in a supportive way.

Please note this is a hands-on, participatory workshop. Attendees will respond in writing or orally to archive material and, later, share descriptions with the group.


Wednesday 28 June 2-5pm

Workshop theme: Immigration, Asylum and anti-deportation activism


Wednesday 5 July 2-5pm

Workshop theme: Health and the body


Special Collections
Arts and Social Sciences Library
University of Bristol
Tyndall Avenue

Wow, this sounds cool, how can I take part?

Workshops are free to attend but numbers are limited.

Registration is therefore essential.

Please email to book your place, or if you have any questions.

Volunteer/ creche expenses available

Arts and Social Sciences Library is a wheelchair accessible venue, please get in touch if you have further access needs

Feminist Events in Bristol – Violence Against Women Internationally and 50 years of the 1967 Abortion Act

Two important Festival of Ideas events are taking place in April and May that will be of interest to feminists in Bristol.

Combatting Violence Against Women Internationally and in Iraqi Kurdistan

Wed 12 April 2017
Price: £6/ £4

Book your ticket here

Violence against women is a widespread global problem, experienced by one in three of the world’s women (World Health Organisation). Gill Hague and Nazand Begikhani, from the pioneering Centre for Gender and Violence Research, of which Hague was one of the founders 27 years ago, explore how we can combat gender-based violence and transform women’s lives internationally, offering inspiring approaches from across the world.

They also discuss gendered violence and ‘honour’-based violence in the context of the Middle East, focussing on Iraqi Kurdistan Region, and highlight some of the life-changing projects and activism in combatting violence against women there. While the subject is a distressing one, the event will showcase the transformatory and uplifting work of activists against violence against women internationally.

Out of the Backstreet: 50 Years of the Abortion Act

Sat 27 May 2017
Price: £7/£6

Get your tickets here

The 1967 Abortion Act is marked as an historic victory for the pro-choice movement and an important part of Britain’s social history. The Act took abortion out of the backstreet, particularly for poor and working class women, and introduced safe, legal abortion. Now 50 years on more people than ever before support women’s right to choose and make their own reproductive decisions in Britain.

Kerry Abel (Abortion Rights Chair), journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, Sally Sheldon (Professor of Law, University of Kent – pictured) and sociologist Jackie West (University of Bristol) discuss the Act, from examining how it was won and commemorating the activists to exploring current barriers to abortion access.


We are planning some public workshops for late June, news of these will be released very soon!

Forty Years a Feminist: Bristol’s Feminist Activism – Mon 17 October

Feminist Archive South are taking part in an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Bristol Women’s Centre.

Forty Years a Feminist: Bristol’s Feminist Activism

Mon 17 October 2016


Wickham Theatre

Price: £5

The Bristol Women’s Centre opened in September 1976 at 44 The Grove.

Ellen Malos sits on the bed in the women's centre. Women's Liberation posters adorn the wallsFocus for many feminist campaigns, the Centre offered pregnancy testing, and advice on legal issues, accommodation, contraception, domestic violence and rape.

“Forty Years a Feminist” commemorates Bristol’s feminist activism with a panel discussion, the launch of Miriam David’s book Reclaiming Feminism, and a party to celebrate four decades of achievement.

Chaired by Helen Taylor, the panel – Liz Bird, Helen Dunmore, Ellen Malos, Pam Trevithick and Jackie West – represents various campaigns and activities within the mid-1970s Bristol’s Women’s Liberation group.

There will be exhibitions from Feminist Archive South and the University Women’s Theatre Collection.

Sponsored by Policy Press and The University of Bristol.

Moving Targets – Feminist Archive South at Arnolfini this Summer!

Feminist Archive South are delighted to be contributing archive material for Arnolfini’s summer exhibition, Moving Targets.

Moving Targets will ‘draw on Bristol’s independent spirit and explore punk as an attitude that has more than one history and meaning.’

The exhibition title is taken from and dedicated to Mimi Thi Nguyen and Golnar Nikpour’s chapbook ‘Punk is a Moving Target’.

Our material will be displayed in the galleries from 8 August-11 September.

A researcher reads in the Feminist Archive South

The exhibition and accompanying event programme offer a much needed counterpoint to white, western and male dominated narratives of punk history.

These one-dimensional stories continue to be perpetuated, even in 2016.

Viv Albertine, who you should know as a member of the Slits, recently defaced storyboards at the British Library’s punk exhibition in order to re-insert ground-breaking female acts that were excluded from the exhibition.

A folder of archive material full of papers

Materials displayed from our collection include Bristol WLM newsletters, fliers, badges and anarcha-feminism/ punk ephemera.

Bryony Gillard Arnolfini Curator Reads in the Feminist Archive South

We hope our presence at Moving Targets will help raise awareness about the Feminist Archive South, and encourage more people to visit us in the future.

A reader researches the history of anarcha-feminism and its relationship to the WLM

For now, enjoy these images of us rooting through the collections!

Copies of the Bristol WLM Newsletter from 1976 Feminist Archive South

Alison Bartlett – Researching the International Feminist Peace Movement

We asked Alison Bartlett, currently a visiting scholar at the University of Bristol from the University of Western Australia, to write about her experiences researching in the FAS.

In the spirit of Greenham activism, she ‘widened the (feminist archive) web’ to collections relating to the feminist peace movement in Australia.



As an Australian researcher interested in feminist cultural histories, the Feminist Archives South is one of the main reasons I applied for a Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor position at Bristol University. My research into the 1980s women’s peace movement and especially the two women’s peace camps held ­in Australia has always been in relation to Greenham Common women’s peace camp. The opportunity to sift through the rich archives of this iconic feminist event is a rare treat.

At the same time, I’ve been reading Kate Eichhorn’s book The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order (2013) which proposes that the growing interest by feminists to delve into archives is to make sense of the ‘legacies, epistemes, and traumas pressing down on the present’. Eichhorn argues that neoliberalism of the late twentieth century has not only individualized our capacities as subjects but eroded our sense of collective agency, something that archives like the Feminist Archive South restores. Rather than understanding archives as nostalgia for the past, she claims archives reorient our understanding of the past and therefore enable us to reimagine our present.

Triangular shawl with different coloured webs sewn together

Shawl collectively made by women at Greenham Common

The boxes of material on Greenham Common are full of letters, flyers, newspaper clippings, court documents, photographs, stickers, postcards, and even a multicoloured spiderweb shawl and a piece of the green military fence tied with webs of string. I read with astonishment that some Greenham women took US President Ronald Reagan to court in New York over the deployment of nuclear missiles onto English common land. And the letters sent to women arrested and sent to Holloways prison are particularly poignant.

The ferocity of their belief in the necessity to stop escalating military interventions and nuclear arms is inspiring, and it’s easy to see how it motivated a worldwide movement of women protesting war and militarization. Together with the women’s movement, the women’s peace movement formed a significant set of arguments about the continuum of male violence, and women’s agency to imagine other ways of living, loving, and doing civilian politics.

My research into the 1980s women’s peace camps in Australia indicates that they were a direct response to what was happening in Berkshire. They were conceived as support actions but also to bring attention to the particularities of the US military in Australia. The first camp was held in central Australia outside the US military base at Pine Gap in December 1983, coinciding with the day the Cruise Missiles arrived at Greenham. The second camp was held a year later in 1984 at Cockburn Sound on the west coast near Fremantle, a major port into which US naval vessels docked and sailors took their rest and recreation.

Unlike at Greenham Common, an umbrella organization was formed specifically to coordinate the peace camps in Australia, bringing together a coalition of women’s organisations, peace, and anti-nuclear groups. The archives are largely filed under the name of the group: Women For Survival. There are substantial collections at the Jessie Street National Women’s Library in Sydney, and the University of Melbourne Archives in Melbourne which holds the Victorian Women’s Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archives. But almost every State Library and many university libraries around Australia also hold some material. The Murdoch University Special Collections in Perth holds material in the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Western Australia (GALAWA) collection; and in Adelaide the State Library of South Australia now holds some of the dispersed resources from the Adelaide Women’s Liberation Archive; the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne; and the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland in Brisbane hold material. There are some badges displayed at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra where you can also hear questions in Parliament being played on rotation, and there’s a student film made at the Pine Gap camp available at the National Film, Television and Radio School online. The Northern Territory Archives Service in Alice Springs has a great collection of oral history interviews.

bath women's peace group

There was a traffic of ideas, people, rituals, telegrams, letters, songs, and even parts of the military mesh fences between Greenham and the Australian peace camps. There are traces of this in the Australian archives and in the Feminist Archives South. Zohl de Ishtar stands out as a regular writer for the Greenham Newsletter, campaigning relentlessly to raise the profile of colonized and militarized Pacific nations, especially those used as nuclear testing sites from the 1950s. But it’s the thousands and thousands of women who went to Greenham for a day or a week or a year who register the impact of collective action, and whose traces in the archives demonstrate the mass attraction of arguments for de-militarisation amidst the threat of nuclear war during the Cold War period. I can’t imagine how 30 000 turned up on December 12, 1982 to hold hands around the entire 9 mile perimeter of the US Air Base at Greenham to ‘embrace the base’.

Eichhorn argues that archives themselves are forms of activism, as are archivists. The Feminist Archives South certainly demonstrate the value of feminist archives, and remind us of the possibilities for changing our worlds through collective action.


We welcome all our readers to write about their experiences researching in the Feminist Archive South. It helps us to understand how people engage with our collections, and communicate our holdings to wider audiences.

If you have a FAS story you want to share with readers of this blog, please send it to us (no more than 1000 words).

 Many thanks to Alison for taking time to write up her visit!