Friday, June 1st, 2012

Ephemera workshop

by Jill Kirby

In early May we held a workshop with three second year undergraduates who studied the Thatcher’s Britain course, to review and select items from the University’s ephemera.  Here are their thoughts on the experience:

Samantha Fennessy  – ‘In going through and selecting ephemera for the Observing the Eighties project it provided a great opportunity to have the time to understand aspects about events and themes from the period from a different angle. I have recently been researching on the impact of AIDS in the 1980s and so this was a unique resource which enabled me to look at materials that would have been otherwise unavailable to me. In particular looking at the guidelines and regulations for journalists on representing homosexuality in the media was perfect for my research. It was also really enjoyable to be able to talk about the sources with Jill and Lucy and interesting to see how a discussion about one topic can lead onto so many others. All in all, the workshop brought about some fantastic and unique material for which if I haven’t participated in this project I wouldn’t have been able to look through. That is why the Observing the Eighties project is a wonderful resource for both students and researchers alike!’

Beth Howgate – ‘I found the Observing the 1980s digitizing project a useful and interesting experience. It was great to have access to and engage with genuine documents from the 80s. I found the documents on children’s welfare particularly interesting as they gave me an insight into the idea of the family, which was so important during Thatcher’s premiership and an integral part of Thatcherism. I am sure the archive will be beneficial, valuable and intriguing to students studying the Thatcher’s Britain Time and Place course next year as well anyone interested in the era.’

Ruth Kelly – ‘Observing the eighties was a fascinating experience which uncovered thought provoking, humorous and shocking articles. Dealing with primary sources such as leaflets and other articles can be difficult when attempting to narrow down the search, but overall it is very stimulating. One of the most interesting leaflets which I read during this concerned the lives of teenage mothers. This provided first-hand accounts of salient social issues at the time such as housing and benefits.’