Tag Archives: Learning Resources

Calling all Spare Rib contributors – from the British Library

Please note that the text below is from the British Library, NOT the Feminist Archive South.  Respond to the address given below – copyright@bl.ukThank you!

Few titles sum up an era and a movement like Spare Rib. The magazine ran from 1972-1993 and for many women was the debating chamber of feminism in the UK.

The British Library has recently embarked on a pilot project to assess the feasibility of digitising the complete run of Spare Rib magazine. Although the entire run of the magazine has always been available to readers at the British Library and other libraries, digitising the copies and making them freely available online would transform access for researchers and the wider public.

As Spare Rib is still in copyright, in order for this project to go ahead it is crucial for the British Library that all Spare Rib contributors (including illustrators and photographers) grant permission for their material to be digitised and made available online for non-commercial use. The contributors and Spare Rib collective members we have spoken to date have been very positive but we still need to contact a great number of former contributors to ask their permission to digitise their content.

The British Library is undertaking a feasibility study between now and the end of December 2013 to see whether this will be possible. Without sufficient permissions to digitise the project will not go ahead.

If you were a contributor to Spare Rib then we want to hear from you! Please get in touch for more information by contacting copyright@bl.uk.  If you could specify the approximate date you were a contributor and the name by which you were known that would be very helpful.

Workshop information 9 June

While the next Feminist Archive South workshop is this Sunday, 11 May from 1-5pm at Mshed and will explore the history of feminist print media, we have details of another workshop below….

Sunday 9 June 2013 @ MShed 1-5pm. All welcome.

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 Hannam, Feminism (2012).

What can history do? What does history mean to you? What does history mean to us? – Call for Contributions

The Feminist Archive South have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a pamphlet that explores how feminist, women’s and other radical histories shape lives, understandings of social change, collective dreams, hopes, disappointments and imaginations.

The pamphlet will be published for the end of the Ellen Malos’ Archives project in September 2013. It will be distributed to schools, further education colleges and libraries in Bristol, the South West and further afield on request (we have limited budget for distribution but can provide free copies should you want some).

We invite people to explore these questions in whatever way they wish, but please do think about the question of what history can do, what it means to individuals and what it can possibly mean to communities, collectives or whatever other way you want to envision/ interrogate/ reconfigure/ think about ‘us.’

Contributions should be written in a non-specialist language as it is envisaged that a wide range of ages and backgrounds will read the pamphlet.

We want to use the pamphlet as a space to explore the practicalities of history making – for example running discussion and memory groups, oral history projects, grassroots archives (on and offline), exhibitions and other ways individuals and communities explore, recover and use history to understand their identities, where they live or the cultures they belong to.

If you work for a feminist or women’s archives, please consider a contribution that tells us about your collection – we plan to have a directory at the back which lists archives and libraries where people can find out about history.

You may also want to consider if digital media has had an impact on the question of what history can do, and how it is shaping individuals and communities right now.

Other contributions can be in the form of

  • Visual art e.g., Illustrations, photos, cartoons, posters
  • Essays and critical writing
  • Philosophical reflections
  • Telling radical histories
  • Profiles of archives, collections, museums, projects, websites/ web resources
  • Practical ‘how to’ articles – e.g., how to use an archive, how to work with historical sources, digital archiving and information management
  • Creative Writing, including poetry
  • Interviews with interesting projects
  • Interviews with people in your community

All written contributions must not exceed 1500 words

All images must be sent as JPEGs 300 DPI

Deadline for contributions

15 July 2013

Please send contributions to fa_south@yahoo.co.uk and contact us for further information


Bristol Women’s History Walk Pamphlet – 1840-1920

This women’s history walk pamphlet was produced by the Bristol Women’s History Group in 1989.

Womens History Walk _1

Anyone interested in taking a trot round town to explore these sites? Get in touch and we can arrange an outing.

Womens History Walk _1 01

Within the booklet was an ‘errors and omissions’ slip:

The first sentence in line 8 should read:

‘The first guild in Bristol was formed in the winter of 1889-90’

Bottom of the back page should have:

‘Published by the Bristol Women’s History Group, 1989.’

Workshop this Tuesday 16 April and other information

This week is the beginning of the Feminist Archive South’s workshop programme. The first workshop is taking place this Tuesday 16 April 7-9.30 pm at MShed. All welcome but please contact us to let us know you are coming! 

Program for Women's Liberation first read at the Ruskin Conference in 1970 - one of the items we will be looking at in the workshop

Program for Women’s Liberation first read at the Ruskin Conference in 1970 – one of the items we will be looking at in the workshop

We’ve also updated information about the workshop sessions taking place later in the year…..

  • Sunday 12th May – 1 to 5pm – We are joined by Hannah Little, ex-archivist at the Glasgow Women’s Library to explore the art and science of archiving.
  • Thursday 23rd May – 7 to 9.30pm – Focus on the content of Ellen Malos’ archives.
  • 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.

Feminist and Women’s Archives in the UK: Profile No. 1 – Black Cultural Archives

Have you ever felt confused about where to go to research feminist and women’s history in the UK? Like you had a feeling there are specialist libraries and archives, but you aren’t sure which ones to go to, or when to go because opening hours can be limited?

Its true that many archives and libraries are in a precarious position, largely due to a lack of funds to support this crucial part of the UK’s cultural heritage. This often means that opening hours can be limited, or access restricted. The Women’s Library in London is currently moving to LSE and of course our own archive is still adjusting to our move to Bristol University – and that was almost four years ago!

In this new feature on the Feminist Archive South website, we have contacted curators and archivists based at the main feminist archives in the UK, or in other specialist archives which have prominent collections relating women’s activism.

We want to get a picture of the current archive/ library landscape, and learn about the challenges these institutions are facing, and what hopes they have for the future.

The first person to get back to us was Hannah Ishmael, Assistant Archivist at the Black Cultural Archives in London. Thanks Hannah for getting the ball rolling!

1. What is the name of your collection, and where is it based? 

Black Cultural Archives, based at 1 Othello Close, Kennington. We will be moving to Windrush Square, Brixton in 2014.

Newsletter of Organisation of African and Asian Descent. Picture of three young black children with the caption 'black kids who cares?'

Front cover of Fowaad, the newsletter of OWAAD. Please credit: Ref. DADZIE/1/8/1 (c) Stella Dadzie, available at Black Cultural Archives.

2. If I wanted to access the collection, what would I need to do (when is it open, etc)?

We are open every Wednesday, from 10:00-16:30, by appointment. Please email the reading room, archives@bcaheritage.org.uk for more information.

3. What type of things are collected in the BCA related to the black women’s movement, and black women from 19th Century to the present day?

We have a number of collections relating to the Black women’s movement. One of the most used collections is the oral histories of the Black women’s movement from the late 1970s and early 1980s. The collection contains 36 interviews with women from a range of backgrounds, but who were active in the Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent (OWAAD) that was an umbrella organisation for a number of other Black women’s groups.

We also have the papers of Stella Dadzie, co-author of The Heart of the Race, relating to her work with OWAAD and her student activities; a small collection of the papers of Suzanne Scafe, another co-author of the Heart of the Race, and the papers of Jan Mckenley another key activist.

Finally, we have the papers of the Runnymede Trust, a race relations think tank which contains a number of research files relating to issues facing ethnic minorities, and women.

4. Do you have a favourite part of the collection, and why?

Although I find all of the collections fascinating, I do enjoy listening to the oral histories. They offer a rare chance to listen to women exploring their identity and history, and to give a more human voice to the struggles of women.

Poster for an exhibition about images of black women in Feb 1986

Ephemera/36/53 (c) Black Cultural Archives

5. What are the plans for the collection in the future?

We are continuing to collect a wide variety of material, to build our collections and to be able to fully present the contributions Black people have made to the culture, society and heritage of the UK.

6. Anything else you want to say about your activities?

The opening exhibition for Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, will be focusing on the Black women’s movement, and taking the book ‘The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain’ (1985) as the inspiration.


If you are part of an archive, library or work in an archive relating to women’s history and want to be featured on this website, please get in touch. You can answer the six questions above, and please send us 1-2 photos as illustration.

Sisterhood and After – Launch today!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today sees the launch of a fantastic new learning resource: Sistershood and After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

On the site you can listen to a range of women who were involved in the WLM. The testimonies are organised in categories such as family and children; bodies, minds and spirits; sex, love and friendship; race, place and nation; education; equality and work; activism; politics and legislation; changing culture and the arts; who we were, who were are.

Sisterhood and After

Screenshot from the page ‘Race, Place and Nation’

As well as oral histories there are teacher notes for each of these themes, which again emphasises what a brilliant learning resource the site is.

Being able to listen to women and men who were active in the WLM perfectly complements the archival material that you can find in the Feminist Archive South. Should you wish to know more about this rich and complex part of history, you know where you need to go!