About the Project
Working with Maria do Mar on the project was a team of extraordinary research assistants, who at the time where all students at the University of Leeds: Eleanor Broadbent (MA Gender), Anna Colgan (BA Sociology) and Freya Potter (BA History).
The Project’s Aims
We believe that archives and libraries are “lively, fast changing and thoroughly political space(s) with which students can engage both critically and creatively”, as Sara de Jong and Sanne Koevoets argue in the introduction to the book Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives: The Power of Information. Therefore, we wanted to create an online resource that would support and inspire lecturers and teachers to use archives and libraries as part of their teaching on gender and feminism.
We also had a secondary aim. The University of Leeds has exceptional expertise and extremely rich learning resources across different Faculties and Services, but – like in many other institutions – staff and students are not always aware of the nature, range and value of resources held elsewhere on campus. This project sought to publicise the resources available and strengthen inter-faculty/service collaborations to widen access to resources in ways that enhance learning and promote research-led approaches to undergraduate and postgraduate education.
The Project’s Activities
The project had 4 stages:
- a consultation (through an internet-based survey) with staff teaching gender at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Leeds, in order to gain an overview of the modules that are partly or wholly devoted to gender and feminism, and to assess staff needs in the teaching of those modules;
- archival research in the Feminist Archive North and the Marks & Spencer Company Archive to find material matching staff teaching needs and relevant to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching;
- creating an internet platform – this website – where staff and students can access not just the archival material collected, but also suggestions for teaching, learning and assessment activities using archives;
- publicising the website and writing publications on the importance of using archives to teach gender. This included giving several presentations about this project at different conferences, such as this one.
As part of the project, we hosted a Teaching Salon on the topic of “Using Archives to Teach Gender”, which was attended by a lively audience of staff, students, archivists and activists from within and beyond the University of Leeds.
The event included a presentation by Sara de Jong (University of Vienna) and Sanne Koevoets (University of Utrecht) on the topic “Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives: Production, Regimes and Techniques of Power in Information, Knowledge and Archivization”. You can access the Powerpoint version of their presentation here, and you can listen to their presentation in full here.
Sarah Tester presented the Marks & Spencer Company Archive, and Jalna Hanmer presented the Feminist Archive North. You can listen to their presentations and to the audience Q & A and discussion here.
Want to find out more?
Then we suggest that you:
- read these short pieces:
- a blog post where Eleanor Broadbent describes her experience of working on this project
- two newsletter articles where Maria do Mar Pereira describes the project and Freya Potter explains how working with archives can enhance the student experience
- watch this video (made at this event, hosted by the Marks & Spencer Company Archive), where Anna Colgan and Eleanor Broadbent present the project
- get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The project team is very grateful to Chris Butcher (SDDU), Peter Edwards (ESSL), Violeta Pereira, Jalna Hanmer (and the rest of the team at the Feminist Archive North), Sarah Tester (and the rest of the team at the Marks & Spencer Company Archive), Ruth Payne (SMLC), Sara de Jong (Universities of Amsterdam and Leiden) and Sanne Koevoets (Universities of Utrecht and Leiden), Debi Withers and Christine Halsall (Chimera Publications) for their support throughout the project.
Photograph above by Maria do Mar Pereira.