How the history of feminism in Sheffield is being preserved for future generations

For the past five years, a group of volunteers have been working together to ensure Sheffield’s feminist past and present is preserved for future generations.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 7:00 am

The Sheffield Feminist Archive project aims to build a collection of documents including artefacts and oral history, which demonstrate women’s liberation throughout Sheffield.

The group works alongside Sheffield Archives - which is a joint service with Sheffield Local Studies Library - to collect and preserve feminism related documents, and they are always appealing for more.

The Sheffield Feminist Archive project said: “Have you got any material relating to feminist activism in Sheffield or Sheffield’s women’s lib movement? Are you involved in feminist activism today and producing materials that document our struggle? Examples might include: newsletters, photographs, minutes of meetings, leaflets, and posters, to name a few. If so, Sheffield Archives would be pleased to hear from you!”

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As well as appealing for documents, The Sheffield Feminist Archive project is also appealing for people to take part in their oral history project, which hopes to capture stories of individuals who have been involved in feminist and gender equality activism.

It said: “That’s why we want to hear about your moments, experiences and stories of gender equality and feminist activism, resistance to gender-based oppression, and general triumph, adversity and reflection that you’ve experienced in Sheffield, or in your life as a Sheffield-based activist in the workplace, at home, outside or in the community!”

The Sheffield Feminist Archive project believe documenting women’s history in the local area is ‘vital’ and will allow future generations to conduct their own research.

Individuals who have shared their stories as part of the oral history project include Nell Farrell and Reverend Sue Hammersley.

Nell talks about her relationship with Sheffield, as well as the relationship with her mother and father, academic achievements, and her thoughts on the intersection of class and university. She also gives insight into what it means to her identifying as a feminist and being lesbian. Nell additionally talks about her involvement with groups such as Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis and Hull Women for Peace, how feminist literature has influenced her and her writing, her thoughts on how social work and activism inform one another and her current ideas about the subject of feminism.

Reverend Sue, who is the vicar of St Mark’s church in Broomhill talks about the role of women within the Church, including the history of female positions within the Church of England. She provides insight into her work with Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality after the nomination of Bishop Philip North, and reflects on the idea of Sheffield having a female diocesan. Reverend Sue emphasises the importance of inclusivity concerning her work with the Centre for Radical Christianity at St Mark’s. She also talks about the influence of her mother and step-mother, her thoughts on former Labour MP Ann Cryer, and what life is like as a single working mother. Additionally, she talks about what feminism means to her and its possible role in the future – as well as the Church’s.

For more information, email: [email protected]

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