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News story

Edge Hill opens its archives to the public for a look at the incredible artefacts it contains

February 23, 2023

Edge Hill is opening its archives to the public in a series of special events looking the University’s history, the role it played in expanding opportunities for women and the artefacts it holds.

Three Research Catalyst events will all take place on Thursday 9 March 4.30pm – 8pm in the University’s Tech Hub, organised by Edge Hill’s Research Catalyst group, working with the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR) and the Institute for Creative Enterprise. 

The first event will announce the winners of the Think Creative Archive competition which asked the public to draw, write and create artworks based on the 135 years of history contained in the University’s online archive. 

A painting of three boats on a large body of water.

Archivist Dan Copley: “The results of the competition have been incredible. From inspired poetry to magnificent paintings, the range and quality of the entries have been breathtaking. We can’t wait to announce the winners and put them on display for everyone to enjoy.

“The judges have seen a lot of creativity, and hopefully everyone who took part found our archives to be very inspirational, gaining new insights into Edge Hill, our local community and the women who trained here.” 

The prize-giving is followed by Women in the Archive, delving into the experiences of over 1,400 women who studied at Edge Hill College between 1885-1909, many of whom were pioneers, choosing to dedicate their lives to their work. 

Jessie Reid Crosbie studied at Edge Hill between 1895-1897, and taught at a school in Everton for over 30 years. Not only was she an influential local figure in Liverpool but she’s also credited with, amongst other innovations, the initial development of parent-teacher associations.

Professor Alyson Brown: “This talk will highlight the importance of Edge Hill as an innovator of teacher training and as a supporter of the schools and communities these women joined.

“When Edge Hill first opened its doors women’s life chances were very limited, most didn’t work and for many their ambitions ended at finding a good husband and bringing up a family. Our University was at the forefront of changing that. The stories in our archive tell of women who became headteachers, influenced their communities, pursued careers, and even travelled the world.”

A black and white photograph of four women stood in a line smiling at the camera.

The final event is a screening of A Story of the Great War. This film project is based on excerpts from the first part of William Bradshaw’s journal, from enlisting in 1914 up to the moment he writes home after having been captured in 1918.

With support from the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) three artist-academics, Professor Helen Newall, Dr Karen Lauke and Dr James Macpherson, have reimagined the diary through digital animation, sound and voice acting, bringing his writing and photographs to life for the first time.

A black and white photo of William Bradshaw wearing a military uniform in 1919.

Professor of Theatre Praxis Helen Newall: “When I first heard William’s words spoken the hairs on my neck stood on end, it was magical. We hear so many stories from World War One but rarely are they brought to life in this way. 

“Through our short film I hope people realise archives aren’t just containers of long forgotten artefacts, they are living, breathing things filled with human stories, emotions and insights into our past.”

Please visit Edge Hill’s online archive catalogue. Many collections are still being catalogued and gradually added to the site. 

To access something that isn’t in the online collection contact the archive service and book an in-person appointment, Monday to Thursday, 9am- 5pm. Please note that all archive appointments must be pre-booked.

You can find more information on Research Catalyst on their dedicated webpages.

February 23, 2023


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