Housmans: 60 years of books and activism is a youth-led oral history project which will tell the incredible story of Housmans Bookshop, one of the leading progressive, radical bookshops in the UK. Peace House, the building Housmans is based in, has provided space for grassroots movements for peace and social change since 1959.
We are seeking a Youth / Performance Co-ordinator to promote the engagement of young people in the project as volunteers and performers. Core responsibilities will include supporting young volunteers to research and record the history of Housmans (alongside the Project Manager) and leading on a site-specific theatre performance with verbatim elements to be performed by young volunteers in the bookshop in autumn 2020.
Freelance role. Fee: £11,700: 104 days at £112.50 a day.
Timescale: March – December 2020, with May-September anticipated to be the most intensive period of work.
Apply by midnight on 13 February.
For full details and how to apply see Youth Performance Coordinator role description
Tagged with: Oral history
Bookshelves at Housmans. Photograph by Laura Mitchison.
Today, On the Record Community Interest Company has received a grant of £87,500 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an exciting heritage project Housmans: 60 years of books and activism, in Kings Cross, London. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will tell the incredible story of Housmans Bookshop, one of the leading progressive, radical bookshops in the UK, and Peace House, the building it is based in, which has provided space for grassroots movements for peace and social change since 1959. Read the full press release here
In 1959, Peace House was officially opened by veteran peace activists, including Vera Brittain, at 5 Caledonian Road. Meanwhile, the anti-nuclear movement was bursting onto the scene, with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, (CND) and the Committee of 100 emerging in the same period. Over the following 60 years, the flow of books, ideas and people through the building has reflected how grassroots politics in the UK has changed. Apart from the bookshop’s many customers, the building has sheltered a diverse crowd: peace activists seeking to ban the bomb or support conscientious objectors to war, activists from the Gay Liberation Front who started the first helpline for LGBT people in Housmans’ basement (now known as Switchboard), and dogged environmental campaigners who defended themselves against McDonalds in the UK’s longest ever libel trial, to name a few examples.
Housmans: 60 years of books and activism will engage young people, aged between 18-25, as volunteers. They will carry out research, conduct oral history interviews, collect and digitise an archive dedicated to the fascinating building at 5 Caledonian Road and the diverse group of organisations and individuals that have passed through its doors since 1959. With the support and direction of an experienced theatre director they will write and perform site-specific theatre based on the stories they have uncovered. Housmans bookshop will host these performances, a sound installation, and several discussion events based around its fascinating history. A full history of the building will be published, using original archive material collected. On the Record will be recruiting volunteers and a Youth Theatre Coordinator soon – register your interest by contacting email@example.com
Tagged with: Oral history
Revealing the History of Walthamstow’s First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery
In the 1970s working parents struggled to find places in nurseries for their children. Today’s parents face a different set of challenges, not least the struggle to afford the cost of childcare. At Walthamstow’s First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery parents could work at the nursery in exchange for a reduced fee. Parent – members worked together to run the organisation and employ its staff. The nursery became an important feature of the local community, helping working parents with affordable childcare, while involving them in the education of their children and creating deep, lifelong friendships.
Oral history not-for-profit On the Record has received a £9,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Doing It Ourselves: The First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery, Walthamstow. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will record the history of this unique parent-led co-operative nursery and drop-in, led by a local parent and ex-member of the nursery, Eva Turner.
In 1977, childcare was a burning issue for working parents. A new toddler drop in was set up at Harmony Hall, Truro Road, E17 which gave space for parents to get together. It wasn’t long before they formed a parent co-operative to establish a nursery for under-fives. They found new premises at Verulam Avenue, Walthamstow, where it was based until the late 1980s. The nursery had a strong focus on innovative pre-school educational methods and provided training and employment opportunities for local parents.
Over the next year “Doing it Ourselves” will be collecting the memories of parents, staff and children involved in the nursery and starting an archive, to be held at Bishopsgate Institute in Liverpool Street. The project will culminate in an exhibition of collected material in local community centre The Mill and hold discussions and workshops, inviting local parents and children to contribute.
If you remember the nursery or are interested in becoming a volunteer researcher, photographer, archivist or in helping with project workshops and exhibitions, or for further information please contact On the Record: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0785 322 8023
Notes for Editors
About Doing it Ourselves
- Doing it Ourselves is a volunteer-led project supported by On the Record; a non-profit oral history co-operative specialising in amplifying the voices of those who have been hidden from history through workshops, trainings and creative productions, exhibitions, books, radio-shows and audiowalks.
- Bishopsgate Institute will house the project’s archive. For over 120 years, Bishopsgate Institute has been a home for ideas and debate, learning and enquiry and independent thought. We offer courses, workshops, talks and tours in subjects as diverse as London history, feminism, languages, Ballroom dancing, film studies, photography and creative writing. Our historic library, special collections and archives cover a variety of topics which explore radical, social, labour, feminist and gay history in London. The Institute is an oasis in the middle of a frantic city which provides you with the rare chance to explore, escape, research or relax.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
- Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.
Front cover of Talking Blues (1978)
On the Record is recruiting a freelance Youth Coordinator for their exciting new project Fighting Sus: Resisting and Repealing Stop and Search 1970-81. We are looking for someone with experience of both youth work and drama production.
Download the application documents here and read the project’s press release here.
Please send queries and applications to us at info(at)on-the-record.org.uk
© Joanna Layla
When: Sunday 7th May, 5 – 7 pm
Where: Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. Map here.
Booking essential. Contact: email@example.com to reserve your place.
What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mystery, preview the app and get help downloading it.
Speakers include: Toyin Agbetu from Ligali, Vivian Archer from Newham Bookshop, Nana Fani Kayode, teacher and radio producer, Gary Molloy from Core Arts, Marie Murray from Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and representatives from the Young Historians’ Project.
Before the party, there’s a unique chance to preview Inside Out Homerton – one of the audiowalks featured on the app, as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station. To book a place on the Inside Out Homerton audiowalk, please contact us by 21 April. Later bookings will be accepted if places remain available.People who don’t like smart phones are welcome!
Event organised in collaboration with Pages bookshop.
Pre-order your free copy of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative now, by emailing us with your address. Limited numbers available, pre-ordering is encouraged to avoid disappointment. Donations to cover the cost of postage appreciated but not essential.
The app and website is at https://www.ahackneyautobiography.org.uk/
© Becoming fathers, 2015
From boyhood aspirations to grandfatherly wisdom, this open-access exhibition: Becoming Fathers: Reproductive Journeys in Malawi describes Malawian men’s diverse stories about fatherhood. Photographs overlaid with quotations highlight moments of transformation or decision in men’s reproductive journeys, as they navigate romantic relationships, beginning and planning their families, and grapple with threats to their sexual and reproductive health.
On the Record worked with the authors – Fiona Parrott, Green Kapira, Dorothy Makoka, Blessings Mwandosya, Aaron Ndovi, Levie Gondwe, Paston Mkandawire, Misheck Nkhata and Mia Crampin.- from the Karonga Prevention Study (Malawi), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the University of Amsterdam – to produce the online and print exhibition.
Oral History Workshop © On the Record
On the Record is running a workshop exploring oral history and place in Hackney as part of Adult Learners Week. Map your personal history onto Hackney and learn the basics of oral history including interviewing skills and using recording equipment in this creative workshop.
It is free of charge and funded by the Hackney Learning Trust. It is essential that you book your place via the Hackney Learning Trust. For adults (aged 20+) who work or live in Hackney.
Book your place online here and choose OTR/01D: Moving Memories from the dropdown menu. Alternatively for more information or if you wish to book your workshop place over the phone, you can speak to one of the Learning Trust’s advisers on 020 8820 7431 or 020 8820 7075.
The workshop will be held at the Hackney Picturehouse on Mare Street from 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday 16 June 2015. Pre-booking is essential.
Leaflet showing different projects at Centerprise, by Doffy Weir, 1970s.
In the last three months, the new project, A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise has held a launch event, trained over 25 volunteers in archiving, research and oral history interviewing and convened two steering group meetings. The real work of the project is now about to begin – the Centerprise archive at Bishopsgate Institute is being gathered and interviews with people about their memories of Centerprise are being arranged.
The project got off to a roaring start on the 24th of January with a gathering of over 50 people representing all the different eras of Centerprise. Some travelled from as far as Leeds to share their memories. The day was filled with animated discussions as the images below show.
Although we’ve made a good start we still need your help! If you remember Centerprise, have items to donate or know people who used to work at or visit Centerprise please get in touch and let us know.
© On the Record
© On the Record
© On the Record
© On the Record
© On the Record
Exterior of bookshop
Come to Bishopsgate Institute on Saturday 24 January to launch A Hackney Autobiography, a new project remembering Centerprise, a unique cultural institution that operated in Hackney from 1971 – 2012.. This event will bring people who remember Centerprise’s work together to share memories and writing from the time and discuss its work and impact.
When: 24 January 2014, 2 – 5 pm.
Where: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH. Venue is wheelchair accessible.
What: Free public event for all those who remember Centerprise. Bring photographs, publications, documents from the time and your memories. Refreshments provided. All are welcome, please RSVP.
Leaflet showing different projects at Centerprise in the 1970s by Doffy Weir
Courtesy of Maggie Hewitt
On the Record is looking for dedicated volunteers to record and research memories and publications associated with Centerprise, a unique cultural institution that operated in Hackney from 1971 – 2012. We want to recruit a diverse group of volunteers of different ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. Download a full role description and details of how to apply by the 7th of January at 5 pm here.
Centerprise was a groundbreaking community centre in Hackney (established in 1971.) It hosted a bookshop, publishing project, reading centre, café, youth club, crèche and more all under one roof in Dalston. It not only sold books, it made it possible for local people to write and publish their own works of poetry, autobiography and history.
A Hackney Autobiography will record and remember the history of Centerprise focusing on the period from its inception in 1971 to the early 1990s through oral history, gathering a permanent archive, conducting free workshops and events and producing a book, learning resources and digital experiences. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will run until July 2016.
Volunteers can get involved in any or all of the following areas: oral history, archiving and research.
– Oral history volunteers should like meeting new people and be excellent listeners. They should be willing to travel to people’s homes and be fairly flexible about when they interview people.
– Archive volunteers should be willing to do routine tasks like scanning publications, as well as more creative work. They will help decide which publications to preserve and share things that inspire them through writing and posting on social media.
– Research volunteers should like reading, listening to archive recordings, be methodical about recording and sharing their research, be willing to work independently and act on their own initiative.
Download full role description and details of how to apply here.