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Women’s History Network Community History Prize 2017

WHM CommHist Prize poster 2017 smlGreetings all –  it’s time to call for entries for one of my favourite annual events – the Women’s History Network Community Prize!  This is my 4th year on the panel and I love reading the entries from so many superb community heritage groups around the UK.  Please do think of sending in an entry…

This annual prize of £500 is awarded to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for women in a particular locale or community which has been completed between 1 January 2016 and 31 May 2017.  Awarded by the Women’s History Network UK, it has been sponsored by The History Press since 2015.

The Women’s History Network is a national association and charity for the promotion of women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history. Established in 1991, the network reaches out to welcome people from any background who share a passion for women’s history.

The winners will be invited to receive their prize at the 26th Annual Women’s History Network Conference at University of Birmingham on 1 September 2017.

Deadline for nominations is 31 May 2017.

The entry form and full details can be found here: http://bit.ly/WHNCommunityPrize2017

We encourage submissions from projects which include a strong element of community engagement or collaboration and which communicate a sense of heritage uncovered and learning shared by participants from outside the academic or professional heritage sector.

Projects can have creative or wellbeing outcomes, as well as research outputs, but the entrants’ activity must have led to the creation of something which is based on and communicates the findings of the group’s historical research, such as a production, artwork, website, documentary, pamphlet, heritage trail, book, exhibition, artefact or event.

To see the shortlisted entries from last year, go to http://bit.ly/WHNPrizewinners2016

If you have any queries, contact me or Professor Maggie Andrews of the University of Worcester (maggie.andrews@worc.ac.uk)

 

Good luck – we look forward to receiving your entries!

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Food, Family & Home in WW1 conference

All films from the Midlands’ Women’s History Network conference on 5 March 2016 are now available online via the Women’s History Network West Midlands youTube channel.

The films include a 5-minute round-up of the event, and each of the day’s presentations:

‘The Kitchen is the Key to Victory’: Women, Food and the Great War

  • Professor Karen Hunt – University of Keele

Everybody’s talking about food: food and women’s magazines in the First World War

  • Jennifer Doyle – Kings College, University of London

Everybody’s Business: Film, Food & Victory in the First World War

  • Dr Stella Hockenhull- University of Wolverhampton

Researching Home, Food and Family: Panel Discussion and Q&A

  • Professor Maggie Andrews  -University of Worcester and Voices of War and Peace Community Engagement Centre lead on Gender and the Home Front
  • Susanne Atkin – independent researcher participating in WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)
  • Julia Letts – Oral Historian and project co-ordinator for The Great Blackberry Pick (HLF-funded project)
  • Dr Janis Lomas – Independent Researcher
  • Chaired by  Jenni Waugh – Community History consultant and project co-ordinator for WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)

Filmed for us by James McDonald of Clear Picture Productions.

Entries invited for Women’s History Network Community History Prize

Women’s History Network – Community History Prize sponsored by the History Press Have you worked with a community group to find out more about the history of local women in the last 12 months? This annual prize of £500 is awarded to the team behind a Community History Project by, about, or for Women in […]

via Women’s History Network – Community History Prize — AIM Blog for independent museums and heritage sites

Happy customers at the Home, Food & Family in WW1 conference

Last month, I was delighted to be involved in the organisation of the Home, Food & Family in World War One conference at Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings on 5 March 2016.

The event was part of the work I am doing for the University of Worcester’s Volunteers & Voters project, and was organised by Professor Maggie Andrews for the Women’s History Network (Midlands), with financial support from AHRC Voices of War & Peace and the Economic History Society.

This conference explored how housewives, children and the home played a part in producing, preserving and preparing food during World WarOne. The Dig for Victory campaigns of the Second World War have a firm place within popular consciousness yet the similar activities engaged in by people on Britain’s Home Front in World War One, when food became a weapon of war, have hitherto received little attention.

The event brought together over 90 academics, teachers, students and those working and volunteering in heritage organisations or on community projects, to share their ideas, discoveries, interests and research. Our programme of talks was complemented by displays and exhibitions from community history groups.

The speakers were:

  • Professor Karen Hunt – University of Keele: ‘The Kitchen is the Key to Victory’: Women, Food and the Great War
  • Jennifer Doyle – Kings College, University of London: Everybody’s talking about food: food and women’s magazines in the First World War
  • Dr Stella Hockenhull– University of Wolverhampton: Everybody’s Business: Film, Food and Victory in the First World War

At the end of a day there was a panel discussion and Q&A: Researching Home, Food and Family

Panellists:

  • Dr Janis Lomas – Independent Researcher
  • Julia Letts – Oral Historian and project co-ordinator for The Great Blackberry Pick (HLF-funded project)
  • Susanne Atkin – volunteer researcher participating in WW1 in the Vale, focussing on the experience of the 9th Earl of Coventry and his tenants on the Croome Estate, Pershore (HLF-funded project)
  • Professor Maggie Andrews -University of Worcester and Voices of War andPeace Community Engagement Centre lead on Gender and the Home Front. Academic lead on WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)
  • Chaired by Jenni Waugh – Community History consultant and project co-ordinator for WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)

Community heritage exhibitions and contributions were provided by the following projects:

TWITTER & INSTAGRAM MESSAGES throughout the day and after. (I do love a good Storify).

All of the presentations were filmed by James MacDonald of Clear Picture Productions. They are so huge that I am uploading them one by one and will post their final weblinks shortly.

‘The First World War: Nursing’ A report from the front line of the Women’s History Network Midlands Region Conference

This year’s Women’s History Network Midlands Region Conference entitled ‘The First World War: Nursing’ took place at the University of Worcester (City Campus) on Saturday, 21 November 2015.

A group photograph showing Nurse Edith Cavell (seated centre) with a group of her multinational student nurses whom she trained in Brussels’. © IWM (Q 70204)

A group photograph showing Nurse Edith Cavell (seated centre) with a group of her multinational student nurses whom she trained in Brussels’. © IWM (Q 70204)

In combination with a wide and varied programme, we received a keynote address from Prof Christine E. Hallett, The University of Manchester: ‘Le Petit Paradis des Blessés: Nurses, Nursing and Internationalism on the Western Front (1915-1918)’.

Prof Christine E. Hallett, The University of Manchester speaking about ‘Le Petit Paradis des Blessés': Nurses, Nursing and Internationalism on the Western Front (1915-1918)

Prof Christine E. Hallett, The University of Manchester speaking about ‘Le Petit Paradis des Blessés’: Nurses, Nursing and Internationalism on the Western Front (1915-1918)

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The remainder of the morning was given to a series of papers reflecting on the subsequent political and literary representations of the execution of the English nurse, Edith Cavell, by the Germans in Belgium in 1915. The speakers were Professor Alison S. Fell, University of Leeds; Professor Jean Webb, University of Worcester and Steven Moralees of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

Three panels were held in the afternoon: V.A.D. [Voluntary Aid Detachment] Nurses, Nursing in Europe and Trauma, Death and Therapy. Details of the speakers and their papers can be found in this pdf: WHNConf-November2015-Final

It was an absolutely exhilarating day – roomfuls of Women’s history academics generously sharing their research with each other and supporting independent researchers like myself to find out more about the hidden stories of women’s work during the First World War.   Please forgive my indulgence in storing my tweets here – I wanted to set up a Storify, but find myself mysteriously locked out from paradise. Whilst I debate my social media manners with the app moderators, I’ve gathered the commentary from the day here. As you’ll gather from my tweets, I attended Panel 3: Trauma, Death and Therapy.

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Edith Cavell and her dog. After her death, 'Jack' was adopted by Princess Mary de Croy. He died in 1923, and his stuffed remains can be seen in the Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas' Hospital, London. (IWM http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30083371)

Edith Cavell and her dog. After her death, ‘Jack’ was adopted by Princess Mary de Croy. He died in 1923, and his stuffed remains can be seen in the Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas’ Hospital, London. (IWM http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30083371)

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Learning from a marvellous regiment of women (or, What I Did Last Weekend)

There is something utterly exhilarating about attending a conference for, about and run predominantly by women and the Women’s History Network‘s annual conference, Home Fronts: Gender, War & Conflict, was no exception.

It took place in the former Worcester Royal Infirmary, presided over in its time by a succession of innovative Matrons, and concluded in the grounds of the former Stanbrook Abbey, built in 1871 as home for an enclosed order of Benedictine nuns, founders of the one of the oldest private presses in England.

As a member of the judging panel for the WHN Community History Prize, sponsored by the History Press, it was a privilege to congratulate the winners, St Ives Archives, for their fantastic research into the women textile workers of the town.  The judging process was a tricky job since the panel were presented with such a high calibre of community-focussed research projects carried out by and about women.  It was exciting to find such enthusiasm for uncovering the hidden stories of women’s experience, led in many cases by first-time researchers, guided or supported by professionals.  The creativity and assurance with which their findings were presented bodes well for the continued promulgation of contributions to the field.

Although the focus lay on Home Fronts of the C20th, there were a number of papers relating to earlier history that demonstrated the universality of key themes.  One such was a thread concerning the forms of relief and support for wives and families surviving during their husbands’ time away at the front.  Susan Mary Grant led, in the first keynote, with her examination of the Dislocations of the Home Front for Southern women during the American Civil War, when the Front was literally camped in some of these women’s front yards.

The next day, John Black’s paper on the influence of the Women Volunteers in the Army Pay Office at Woolwich during 1914 in distributing separation allowance and outdoor relief, demonstrated that behind every faceless administrative system, there are people who work to ensure that it is as humane as possible.  This thread was picked up in Paul Huddie’s investigation into Victims or Survivors: army wives in Ireland during the Crimean War.  Curious as to why so many Irish wives were not claiming the relief payments to which they were entitled from the Royal Patriotic Fund, Huddie uncovered evidence that some feared to apply lest their Catholic children were whisked away to be converted by the Anglican administration (not the case, protested the Bishop in the press), or were indeed making their own way by taking work in service or as shirt-makers in the army towns.

Appropriately for the location and the date (the anniversary of the Battle of Worcester falls on 3 September),  some papers examined women’s experience during the English Civil Wars.  A standout for me was Talya Housman’s paper Two English Scripts of Ravishment: Divisions between Royalist and Parliamentarian Utilisation of Rape, which focussed on the C17th legal definition of ‘ravishment’:  to seize (property) by violence.  In the Royalist scripts examined by Talya, the consent of the woman was of lesser importance than the representation of rape as theft of property from a man: a husband or father.  To the Parliamentarians, however, the scripts act as a metaphor for the polis: an emerging idea of an offence against the person, without their consent. So, just as a woman is sexually assaulted against her will, so, the Parliamentarian script reads, King Charles ruled without the consent of the people and stole their freedom of action.  The offence is still viewed through the filter of male experience, but at least a step closer to understanding that a woman might not be a mere chattel after all…

I could go on – with apologies to those whose papers I have travestied in an attempt to summarise them.  There were so many elements to take in.  I was thrilled to chair Deborah Thom’s outstanding keynote on how the Imperial War Museum has presented the Public History of Women and War since its establishment in 1917; whilst conversations over coffee cups  about Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the protocols of grief in time of war, the visual rhetoric of the women’s recruiting poster and the hierarchies of women’s work will keep me thinking for a long while yet.  I would like to say many thanks to the Women’s History Network for my bursary – I hope that the work I produce as a result will prove it was well worth the investment!