We felt very fortunate to be able to head out to Vienna in December and take part in a conference on Protest and Dissent.
The conference brought together a wide range of academics, as well as some activists, to discuss research and experiences of protest.
We had a great session talking about the project, sharing our ideas, and inviting delegates to try out some of the activities we're planning to use in the community pop-up events.
Some of the conclusions we shared with the conference included:
The conference was also a really good opportunity to try out some of our activities with the conference delegates.
The photos below show us taking over the conference hotel bar to test some of our ideas! The activities we tried out were 'Paths of Resistance', which invites participants to map the route of a protest they've been on, and 'Design a Protest Space' which involved designing a 'good' site to hold a protest in.
We were extremely grateful for colleagues' constructive and good humoured approach to our ideas, and we're now rethinking some of the activities based on their feedback
And of course, while we were there, we took the opportunity to have a quick look round Vienna and get into the festive spirit.
The project really came to life when we met our volunteer citizen researchers for a two-day training session in late November. It was great to meet people as inspired by us by women who have fought for political change. As well as volunteers from the wider community, we were really pleased to welcome on board members of the Richardson Institute intern programme who will be working with us over the coming months.
We were delighted that two colleagues from Lancaster University came along to help deliver the training. Paul Newnham, from the Library, showed us how to carry out desk-based and archival research, whilst Dr Sam Riches from the History department, taught us how to conduct oral history interviews.
We ended our first day with a meal at The Sun Inn in Lancaster, where as well as enjoying some nice food and great conversation, we took the chance to talk to some of the other diners and recruit a few participants!
The Regional Heritage Centre is based at Lancaster University and engages the community in the history of the local area. They run a programme of events, one of which focused on Political Radicalism and Dissent in the Early 20th Century which we were delighted to contribute.
It was great to learn from the other speakers about radical ex-servicemen, local suffragists, and dissent associated with World War I. We also learned a great deal from attendees, many of whom had been active in politics or protest over the years. To capture some of the audience's ideas about the project, we invited them to record the names of prominent women or places associated with protest in the North.
We weren't disappointed! The images below show some of the responses we collected and we very much enjoyed going through them and following up some of the great ideas attendees shared with us.
We've been really busy over the last three months setting the project up and getting organised. We've heard from some fascinating women who have offered to tell us their stories of protest, brought together a fantastic team of volunteer citizen researchers, and enjoyed publicising the project through local and national media. Here's a bit more about what we've been up to.
We've really enjoyed introducing the project to a range of people and organisations across the North. As well as colleagues from the People's History Museum and Sheffield Museums who are part of our Advisory Board, we've engaged with Beamish Museum, the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, Sheffield and Lancashire Archives, as well as our own fantastic library here at Lancaster University. Here are a few photos from our travels.
Getting the word out
The response to our media calls to get involved has been terrific. We really enjoyed speaking to Jenny Murray on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, and talking about the project on BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Radio Manchester.
As well as radio, the project's been featured in The Northern Echo, Lancaster Guardian and Westmoreland Gazette.
DESIGNING & REFINING
As well as a wonderful team of volunteer citizen researchers, we're working with some terrific designers. Andi and Green are developing the activities that will be part of the events we've got lined up over the next few months, and we've had a great time designing and refining our ideas with the help of one or two of our volunteers.