Workshops – April-July 2013 @ MShed

As part of the Heritage Lottery project Ellen Malos’ Archives, we are holding a number of free workshops based on Ellen’s collection and material in the Feminist Archive South.

All the workshops will be held at MShed, the people history museum in the centre of Bristol.

You don’t have to have any prior knowledge of archives, history, feminism or activism to take part – but if you do this is also fine! We want the workshops to be an environment where people from different backgrounds, ages and experiences can explore the treasure trove that is the Feminist Archive South.

The workshops are an opportunity to find out about the things that interest you, with the bonus that you may be inspired or learn something new as you go along. The Feminist Archive South holds material about a wide range of topics including documents relating to the organisation of the Women’s Liberation Movement (newsletters, pamphlets, letters, conference programmes, discussion papers), information about specific campaigns (abortion and reproductive rights, rape crisis, equal pay), around specific topics (women in media, the arts, anti-racism, sexuality, law, labour), as well as numerous publications such as Spare Rib, Outwrite, Shocking Pink and Red Rag.

There will be guest speakers and each workshop will be themed around particular part of the collection or activity. As we know more we will add details to this page and to the blog home page, so make sure you keep checking back to keep up to date with the latest information.

Some workshops will ask participants to engage creatively with the archive material, with the aim of producing a response (e.g, a piece of writing, an illustration, a spoken story) to what is uncovered through rummaging in the archives. These will be uploaded to the website, and will be included in an educational resource at the end of the project (permission from participants willing).

You can attend one of the workshops, dip in and out, or attend all of them – its up to you.

Although workshops are free to attend, you will need to book your place because spaces are limited. Please contact to express your interest.

For each workshop there are a number of participation bursaries available for participants who need to cover the cost of travel or childcare expenses.

MShed is a wheelchair accessible venue. Please contact us if you have other access needs so we can provide them for you.

The workshop dates are as follows:

    • Tuesday 16th April – 7 to 9.30pm ‘What is an Archive?’

The introductory workshop will discuss what an archive is, what archives do and why people create them. It will ask if archives are currently changing in the contemporary world with the rise of digital technology, and explore why documenting activist histories is important for future generations.

Facebook Event Page

    • May 12th – 1 to 5pm – Feminist Media

The representation of women in the media remains a hot topic for feminists today. From 2008-2011 the Bristol Feminist Network undertook major research which can be accessed here

As well as critiquing existing representations, feminists have a long history of making their own media. From Sylvia Pankhurst’s Women’s Dreadnought, to the multitude of contemporary feminist blogs, women have always made their own media to communicate political ideas and create community.

In the workshop on the 12 May we will be focusing on printed media holdings of the Feminist Archive, which include numerous magazines and pamphlets from the Women’s Liberation Movement, examples of which are include Spare Rib, Red Rag, Shocking Pink, Outwrite, Everywoman, Bad Attitude and others.

As well as learning about the aesthetics, practices and ideas discussed in WLM media, we will also make our own zines and pamphlets in the second part of the workshop.

So come prepared to write, draw, cut, paste and discuss the history of feminist media making!

All welcome! Facebook event page here.

  • Thursday 23rd May – 7 to 9.30pm – Focus on Ellen Malos’ archives.

Bristol: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement facilitated by June Hannam and Kath Holden from the  West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network.

Most women took part in ‘second wave feminism’ at a grass roots, local level. How do we find out why they became involved and what they hoped to achieve? Can we recover their voices and, if we do, how can we interpret them?

This workshop will look at different ways that historians can try to recover women’s voices. The first part will look at documentary evidence, including newsletters, pamphlets and photographs. The second part will focus on oral testimony: participants will be invited to compare  summaries, full transcripts and original recordings of interviews.  The workshop will explore memory and the ways in which participants construct different stories of the movements in which they took part.

June Hannam is an emeritus professor and Kath Holden a visiting research fellow in history at the University of the West of England. They are co-chairs of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network. They both have research interests in  gender history. June Hannam specialises in labour and feminist history and Kath Holden in oral history and history of the family.

Recent publications include Katherine Holden: The Shadow of Marriage: Singleness in England, 1914-1960 (2007) and June HannamFeminism (2012).

  • Tuesday 18th June – 7 to 9.30pm – Exploring the Feminist Archive South’s Greenham Common archive.
  • Thursday 27th June – 7 to 9.30pm – The Bristol Feminist Network will help us to explore the continuities and difference between contemporary campaigns and the activism of the Women’s Liberation Movement.
  • Saturday 6th July – 1 to 5pm – Folk legend and co-author of My Song is My Own Frankie Armstrong will talk about the process of recovering women’s musical folk traditions. Followed by a good old feminist singalong!
  • Saturday 20th July – 1 to 5pm – Special Focus on the history of Women’s Aid in Bristol. Ellen Malos, Gill Hague, Nicola Harwin and others will facilitate this special session on the development of Women’s Aid.

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