University of Portsmouth's History Blog

A Heritage Lottery Fund Grant for the University of Portsmouth for an Oral History Project on Women’s Activism Since 1960

Dr Sue Bruley, Reader in Modern History at Portsmouth, has won a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to research women’s activism in Portsmouth since 1960. The project will investigate the many struggles women faced living and working in the naval city. Sue’s research focuses on gender and women’s history in the 20th century, and she teaches a special subject on ‘Gender, Sexuality and War 1922-80’ and an option ‘The First World War, A Social and Gender History’.

The University of Portsmouth has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £73,300 to research women’s activism in Portsmouth. This project will led by Sue Bruley, Reader in Modern History, and Laurel Forster, Senior Lecturer in Media. Acting with partners Portsmouth Library Service and the University of the Third Age (U3A), the University’s project – ‘The Hidden Heritage of a Naval Town: Women’s Community Activism in Portsmouth since 1960’ – will undertake 50 oral history interviews from local women active in promoting positive change for women and the community if Portsmouth.

The topics to be investigated will include struggles at work such as equal pay, maternity pay and sexual harassment, promoting non-sexist learning materials in schools, the women’s aid movement, the peace movement, anti-racist activism and the campaign for improved housing. The project is particularly concerned with issues connected with women in the naval community. The project will document the activism of women from a diverse range of backgrounds, ensuring issues of class, race and sexuality are addressed.

The interviews will be conducted by community volunteers who will be trained in oral history techniques. Other volunteers will be working on the website for the project, which will include short ‘video stories’ from some of the women’s testimony. There will also be a small mobile exhibition touring schools and libraries, a booklet and two public lectures. The Portsdown branch of the U3A will provide some of the volunteers. The rest will be recruited via the project website and an official launch. We hope very much that some of our former History students will want to take part in this exciting project.

The project does not officially go ‘live’ until September 1st,  but before then much preparatory work needs to be done; a website, archive research,  equipment to be bought, etc.. There will be two part-time, one year staff appointments: a project co-ordinator (0.6) and an assistant (0.5) who will act as a paid intern for the project. The adverts for these posts are live on the University website.

If you would like more details of volunteer placements, staff posts, or you know someone who we could interview for the project, please get in touch with sue.bruley@port.ac.uk. I am happy to talk about the project with anyone who is interested. Please pass this message on to anyone you think might want to know about this project. The details for the two posts are listed below (with the link to the adverts).

Go to https://port.engageats.co.uk/ and look for the following:

ZZ004616 Project Co-ordinator (0.6 Fractional, 12 months from 1.9.18)
ZZ004617 Project Administrator (0.5 Fractional, 12 months from 1.9.18)

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