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Social Science blog

7 posts from December 2012

21 December 2012

Happy Winter Solstice From BL Social Sciences

Whilst a significant proportion of the population seem to be pondering the, Mayan prophesied, end of the world (We Survived!), or thinking about buying gifts and spending time with their families. In this post we thought we would look at the social roots of the religious aspects of this mid-winter festival.

Whilst the religious aspects of this festival are now dominated by the various denominations of Christianity, who believe that Jesus Christ was born on 25th of December, most people will know that mid-winter festivals existed in the UK and Europe long before the advent of Christianity and that many of the traditions and rituals that people practice today have been appropriated from these ancient mid-winter celebrations . These traditions and rituals centre around the longest Day of the year,or Winter Solstice. This day varies between December 20-23 according to when the solstice will occur astronomically. This was the time of year that feasting occurred before the lean winter months where times got tough and starvation threatened.

Neo-pagans have different ways of worshiping this time of year. Winter Solstice for pagans is a time of feasting and the exchanging of gifts and is the holiday that the Christian religions adapted into the Christmas that many celebrate today. The reasons for the assimilation of these practices was to convince the original pagans to give up their original practices; and accompaniments such as a Yule Log, mistletoe and Holly were carried through to Christmas tradition from the Pagan tradition.  However the central point of the pagan festival is that this is the time of year that the sun child is born, thus saying farewell to the long nights and beckoning the longer days and times of plenty.  This parallels with the Christian Birth of Jesus Christ on 25th December.  These are a few of many traditions and sites that have been brought into the Christian Church from other more ancient beliefs.  The widespread green man carvings that are very common in English churches are a more general example with most likely pagan roots perhaps demonstrating a fertility figure or a nature spirit 

Abbey_Dore_painted_Green_Man

A picture taken at Dore Abbey, the former Cistercian abbey at Abbey Dore, Herefordshire, England in 1989. It shows a stonecarving of a foliate head or Green Man (a ceiling boss, no longer in position) with some of its original colouring intact. Picture taken by Simon Garbutt

Many neo-pagans gather at stone circles such as stone-henge to celebrate the ending of the shortest day and rituals and spells are spoken

StonehengeSunrise1980s
Stone Henge Sunrise 1980's Mark Grant, Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-2.0

If Pagan traditions had survived we would actually have a longer time for feasting (maybe this is a reason why office parties seem to start earlier and earlier).  In the transition from Pagan to Roman festivals there was the festival of Saturnalia, which started on 17th December and lasted for 7 days until 23rd December. During this time restrictions and inhibitions were relaxed and the social order inverted. Gambling was allowed in public. Slaves were permitted to use dice and did not have to work. Augustus limited the holiday to three days, so the civil courts would not have to be closed any longer than necessary. This continues today, with many making up the full week of celebrations and feasting using their annual leave allowance if they are lucky enough to have one.

The Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941) explored the issues of Christianity expropriating pagan rituals in  The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion which s a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, The book scandalized the British public upon its first publication, because it included the Christian story of Jesus in its comparative study. However he has had a profound influence on the field of anthropology, mainly through the thesis that that mankind progresses from magic through religious belief to scientific thought

 

200px-JamesGeorgeFrazer
Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941) Image taken from Wikipedia

There has been much written about the origins of our winter festivals and there are some references to further reading at the end, however this poem by Susan Cooper encapsulates the spirit behind the festivals of various denominations that we will most likely be celebrating within this next week. Merry Yuletide/Christmas/Solstice to you all!

 

The Shortest Day
By Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!


Refrerences and Further Reading

Pagan Library, especially Reading Room 2

The Pagan Federation

Saturnalia 

Frazer, James George, 1854-1941. The golden bough: a study in magic and religion

The canon : an exposition of the pagan mystery perpetuated in the Cabala as the rule of all arts / William Stirling ; introduction by R.A. Gilbert ; foreword by John Michell ; preface by R.B. Cunninghame Graham.

Our pagan Christmas / R.J. Condon ; foreword Barbara Smoker.

Christmas customs and traditions : their history and significance / by Clement A. Miles

The stations of the sun : a history of the ritual year in Britain / Ronald Hutton

 Christianity : the origins of a pagan religion / Philippe Walter ; translated by Jon E. Graham.

Countdown to the Apocalypse The End!

 

This blog was hastily complied by John Kaye Lead Curator for Digital Social Sciences (also ex-catholic and confirmed athiest) with invaluable contributions from Emily Grey-Fow, Harry White and others that know who they are :-)

 

20 December 2012

Commoditising risk in a global age: spread betting and digital gambling

In this post Toby Austin Locke, currently working in The British Library's Social Sciences team writes about commoditising risk in the new global, digital era of gambling and the individual and reglatory impacts it may have.

With the Coalition Agreement giving a commitment to tackle the culture of risk in financial institutions and June’s whitepaper on banking reform, risk is certainly one of the contemporary hot topics. But exactly how risk is packaged in order that it may be bought and sold as commodity is a complex issue, made all the more so by globalisation and the digital boom.

Of course what we define as risk is itself a contentious area but it is hard to disagree that the activities of gambling and spread betting involve the commoditisation of certain forms of risk. What is also interesting to note is that both gambling and spread betting have seen increases in popularity over recent years (Wardle et al 2011; Read 2011). With the latter increasingly extending from the domain of financial institutions to consumer markets the FSA is increasing commitment to ensuring good practice and ensuring consumers are aware of the associated risks. And likewise, gambling practices are being brought under scrutiny as an increasing number of social games such as Zynga, on networks such as Facebook, mirror the services offered by online gambling, and even begin to move toward real-money gaming.

There is a growing amount of research being undertaken into gambling, particularly since the advent of remote gambling has thrown many regulatory and legislative paradigms into murky waters. However, the links between gambling and other means of buying and selling risk remain unclear. What really separates the acts of gambling and spread betting for example, asides from their institutional and regulatory settings, in terms of the buying and selling of risk is an area of study that promises to yield fascinating results. But how to go about engaging in such research is by no means a simple question.

 

Gambling_chips

Image by Jamie Adams from Hull, United Kingdom (Poker chips) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Last year I worked with an ERSC funded research team at Goldsmiths College, University of London and London Metropolitan University. The research team, comprised of Prof. Rebecca Cassidy, Dr Claire Loussouarn, Dr Andrea Pisac and Dr Julie Scott, are currently examining how gambling is emerging in the contemporary technological and regulatory climate. Their projects explore remote gambling in the UK, The British spread betting industry, the impact of geographic borders on tourism and gambling between Slovenia and Italy and land based casinos in Cyprus. Their work is diverse, and approaches gambling not simply as an easily defined market, but as a ‘global assemblage’ (Ong & Collier 2005). These ‘global assemblages’ are understood as are “the actual configurations through which global forms of techno-science, economic rationalism, and other expert systems gain significance” (Collier 2006: 400). What such an approach highlights is the need for new methodological approaches in attempting to come to terms with the changing face of global markets, the need for social researchers to begin widening their studies beyond traditional field-sites and the disaggregation of statistics, the need to broaden rather than narrow the scope of studies.

With the explosion of remote gambling bringing questions not just about regulatory frameworks, but also questions regarding national and individual identity, the limits of the nation state, and areas of convergence between ‘gaming’ and ‘gambling’ on various social network sites (Griffiths & Light 2008; Wardle 2012), and the increased confusion as to how to regulate these new faces of commoditised risk, such new approaches are of all the more significance. One of the aims of the project in which I was involved was to develop a methodological blueprint ‘to explore the value of a systematic qualitative approach to gambling’ and I for one will be waiting with bated breath to see what the research team turns out.

References:

Collier, Stephen J (2006) ‘Global Assemblages’ in Theory Culture and Society, 23 (2-3), pp. 399-401

Griffiths, Marie & Light, Ben (2008) ‘Social Networking and Digital Gaming Media Convergence: classification and its consequences for appropriation’ in Information System Frontiers, 10 (4) pp. 447-459, 

Ong, Aihwa & Collier, Stephen J (2005) Global Assemblages: technology, politics and ethics as anthropological problems, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Read, Simon (2011) ‘Spread betting: time to jump on a global bandwagon’ in The Independent, 

Wardle, Heather (2012) ‘The Challenges of Convergence: a case study of gambling, gaming and the digital world’, The British Library, The Social Research Association annual conference, 10 Oct

Wardle, Heather et al. (2011) British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010, London: TSO

 

Toby Austin Locke is currently working in the British Library social sciences team on the Social Welfare Portal and is due to start working towards his doctorate on ‘The Commoditisation of Creative Industry’ in October 2013 at Goldsmiths College, University of London.You can contact him on twitter @tobyalocke and tobyaustinlocke@gmail.com

 

13 December 2012

Sport? That's so gay!

Simone Bacchini writes:

It sometimes feels like the case for sport as a vehicle for social change is a bit overstated. Yet, the announcement that London has bid to host the 2018 Gay Games (http://tiny.cc/zl38ow) might be, well, a game changer.

The Gay Games was started in San Francisco, in 1982. Originally, it was called “Gay Olympics” but a lawsuit filed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meant that the name had to be changed. To date, there have been eight editions, mostly held in North America. The Gay Games is the world’s largest sporting and cultural event organised by and for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) community. Participation, however, is not restricted to athletes who identify as LBGT and, according to its statute, the label includes transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning people, and of course, an essential constituency for change: straight allies.” http://tiny.cc/sc48ow

Sporting events for minority groups, some of them facing varying degrees of discrimination have a double function. The strengthen in-group identity, by bringing together those who might feel isolated in the wider society in which they live. They also offer a chance of visibility, often helping dispel negative stereotypes.

Sport is one of the favourite arenas in which socially approved norms of gender behaviour are displayed, learned, and reinforced. So, it is often the case that gay men are not associated with sporting prowess, while women who engage in sport, especially the more “unfeminine” ones – such as boxing – are more or less overtly thought of, “accused”, I am tempted to say, being lesbians. Which of course may or may not be true.

Obviously, for many LGBT people sport has never been an issue: they simply aren’t interested. But for many others the world of competitive sports has been a difficult, often frightening one. For the non-heterosexual person, especially when young, the playing field and the locker rooms can feel like no-go areas, unless you’re not open about your sexuality or this is not obvious. And that’s a shame, frankly.

The Paralympics has been an important tool in changing views of and attitudes towards disability. Could the Gay Games do the same for homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, etc? More visibility would certainly be good, although it remains to be seen the extent to which the media would be covering the event. And would attitudes be changed in Britain, if London were to win the bid? Well, that’s a research topic for existing and aspiring social scientists and sociologists of sport out there. The future of sport may look a bit pinker, after 2018!

 

References

 

Journal of Homosexuality. Binghampton: Haworth.

London Reference Collection: SPIS Journals Display (open access)

 

Anderson, E. (2009). Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities. London: Routledge.

General Reference Collection: SPIS306.7662 (open access)

 

Symons, C. (2010). The Gay Games: A History. London: Routledge.

Document Supply: m11/.11320

 

In Service of Their Country: The Pigeon Manual

Jerry Jenkins, our Curator of International Organisations and North American Official Publications, describes a fantastic find from our Official Publications collections which shows the role of our feathered neighbours (the ever-present pigeon) during World War One.

In recent weeks stories of the humble carrier pigeon have made the headlines on a number of occasions. The first was the rather macabre discovery of the skeletal remains of a World War Two carrier pigeon in a chimney breast with the canister containing a coded message still attached. Later, another story of the exploits of the US carrier pigeon Cher Ami appeared on author Giles Milton’s blog.  He described how the pigeon saved a pinned down U.S. battalion during the First World War.

Considering this recent flurry of pigeon activity, it might be appropriate to mention our item of the week (for the week commencing 17th December) which is the Royal Air Force, Pigeon Service Manual HMSO,1919. [BL Shelfmark: B.S.35f/12]. This thirty-two page pamphlet from the Library’s rich collection of British Official Publications was written to inform and educate RAF personal 'specially on the use of pigeons from aircraft not contained in the ordinary text books on the subject of racing pigeons.'

Pigeon manual cover
The Pigeon Service Manual cover Public Domain Mark

What this manual illustrates is the level of importance that the humble pigeon had for the military. The main role of the RAF pigeon service was to convey messages when other means had failed or were unavailable. One obvious use was for downed aircrew as a means of notifying authorities of their whereabouts. The pigeon service was integrated into the wider communications infrastructure at the time. In the event of a pigeon failing to make it back to its loft after release, instructions were given that a message should be passed on to the Air Ministry as a matter of 'urgent priority' via a telegraph communication  from the Postal Authorities.

Pigeon manual message
A pigeon message Public Domain Mark

It appears that the pigeon was a most successful mechanism for delivering these messages of last resort. This manual cites a failure rate of around five percent which was mainly accounted for by 'ignorance of the pigeon’s capabilities' among the aircrew attempting to release the bird. Hence, the manual goes to great lengths to urge the readers to familiarise themselves with the proper procedure for handling and releasing birds. The manual emphasises the importance of the correct handling of pigeons with a cautionary tale of a crashed aircraft: the pilot lost both pigeons while attempting to affix a message to one of the birds and he and his passenger were only saved by the fortuitous arrival of a passing patrol boat. 

This manual starts and finishes with anecdotes of heroism which show how these feathered messengers saved human lives during conflict. The introductory remarks leave the reader in no doubt of the importance of the carrier pigeon, whose 'service has been of inestimable value'. Ultimately the pigeon’s valour was recognised in official circles in 1943  after the creation of the Dickin Medal, to honour the deeds of animals at war. In the years following its  launch, thirty-two pigeons were singled out and awarded the Dickin medal for 'heroic' deeds.

SMALL pigeon manual  pictures

Images from the Pigeon Service Manual Public Domain Mark

The Pigeon Service Manual is part of the collections which are being digitised for the Europeana 1914-1918 project. This initiative will build a collection of materials from across Europe to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. The British Library will be contributing in the region of 200,000 digitised images of collection items to the project and all of these including the Pigeon Service Manual will be available through the Europeana portal by the summer 2013.  

References

From the Official Collections comes an insightful Air Ministry manual on the use of pigeons by the RAF. Royal Air Force, Pigeon Service Manual HMSO,1919. [BL Shelfmark: B.S.35f/12]

Follow Jerry Jenkins on Twitter @_jerryjenkins.

10 December 2012

Tales from the Archive: How do food researchers from different disciplines use archives

Social scientists conducting food research are increasingly turning to archives to collect data for their studies or in some cases starting their research with a piece of found data from the archives, but what are the rewards, difficulties and methodological questions which arise when conducting ‘fieldwork in the archives’? (Bretell, 1998)

On 19th November the British Library hosted Tales from the Archive. This day-long workshop featured presentations from a range of speakers, all of whom shared their experiences and insights on working with archives to carry out food related research. The talks raised questions about the (re)use of archives by social scientists - how to social scientists engage with historical archives? What are the challenges of using archival material in social science research? How do we distinguish between primary and secondary data?  How do we situate the context of an archive in our research?

Polly Russell, Lead Curator in Social Sciences at the British Library, began her talk ‘Archaeology or Social Research? The Biography of an Archive’ by offering a tentative definition of an archive as “a place where material not originally intended for publication is deposited for future use.” This raised the issue of how the data collected by a research project and material held in an archive might differ. While research projects collect data for a known objective, archives are often created for future, unknown researchers. Polly encouraged the exploration of archives by social scientists but with an understanding of an archive’s remit and biography

SMALL Pear display 1930's

A display of pears from the 1930s. © Marks and Spencer Archive. Reproduced with kind permission by the Marks and Spencer Archive.

A discussion point which ran throughout the workshop was the difficulty in distinguishing between a a primary and a secondary source. Professor Stephen Mennell’s talk entitled ‘Theory-driven use of archives in food research’ discussed the inadequacies of the traditional distinction between primary and secondary sources as set forth by historians. Professor Mennell also spoke about how his theoretical research led him to the fruitful discovery of the Lord Steward’s papers, in the National Archives, a resource which he considers still to be grossly under-exploited.

Dr Libby Bishop highlighted the rich body of food related data available at the UK Data Service and Helen Wakely, Archivist at the Wellcome Library, reflected on her own discoveries made while ‘Shopping around the archives’ (the title of her talk) which included a collection of recipe cards for some elaborate moulded jellies.  Helen also described how archival practice at the Wellcome Library is increasingly moving towards a thematic rather than format driven approach to collecting materials relating to selected subjects such as food, health and nutrition. In her talk ‘On the Strategic Use of Archives in Sociological Research about Food’ Professor Anne Murcott described using Kelly’s business directories to establish the historical existence of ethnic populations and imported food businesses in Cardiff. Like other speakers, she encouraged researchers to first explore existing archival materials before embarking on creating new data sets.

SMALL Fruit Salad Label 1950s

A label from a tin of fruit salad from the 1950s. © Marks and Spencer Archive. Preproduced with kind permission by the Marks and Spencer Archive.

In his talk entitled “‘Sold with a story’: food narratives from farm to fork” Professor Peter Jackson discussed the British Library’s Food: from source to salespoint oral history archive, to which his research project Manufacturing Meaning Along the Food Commodity Chain contributed. Peter raised the question of the different ways social scientists and oral historians view archival material and the tensions between valuing the ‘integrity’ of the whole life while also attempting to make wider arguments about social change.

A discussion with all speakers at the end of the day suggested that ‘Tales from the Archive’ had been a good starting place for discussion about the issues involved in social science food researchers using archives. It was agreed that the many different contexts of use and re-use, as well as the data itself, need to be evaluated in any analysis of archival material and that the ethical issues raised by archival research require further discussion.

By Sue Msallem, British Library Social Science Department

References

Caroline B. Brettell, 1998, "Fieldwork in the Archives: Methods and Sources in Historical Anthropology, pp. 513-546, in Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Second Edition. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Useful Links

To find out more about our Food Studies materials and watch a video of Dr Polly Russell talking about our archives which relate to food, visit our pages on the ESRC website here.

06 December 2012

Social Welfare at the British Library

Friday 7th December sees the launch of the British Library's new Social Welfare Portal. This blog post by Jennie Grimshaw, Lead Curator Social Policy & Official Publications, explains who this portal is aimed at, what it offers and a brief guide to using these services.


The British Library has developed a new portal website, Social Welfare at the British Library http://www.socialwelfare.bl.uk , as a  single point of access to its vast print and digital collections of research and information on policy development, implementation and evaluation.  The portal is primarily aimed at:

  • Researchers, policy officers, advanced practitioners and managers in the voluntary and independent sectors (including pressure groups and campaigning charities) and statutory social services
  • Social work students and their teachers

 

So, What is Social Welfare?

The portal will cover all aspects of welfare state reform - health and social care, education and training, employment services, housing provision, benefits and pensions, and community development and regeneration.  It will offer information about services and support for a range of vulnerable groups, including children, older adults, disabled people, people with learning difficulties, people with mental health problems, people from minority groups and ex-offenders.

 

Soc welfare 2

 

 

What does the portal offer?

The portal includes a high quality collection of full text research and evaluation reports, parliamentary papers, consultations and policy proposals selected by the Library’s social policy curators and available for immediate download.  As well as digital documents, you will find details of books, journal articles, official papers, theses, archived websites and datasets in the British Library’s collections.

Our monthly current awareness bulletin, Welfare Reform Digest, keeps you up to date with the latest policy debates, controversies and developments through abstracts from research monographs and articles in academic journals, professional magazines, and quality national newspapers arranged by broad topics.

 

Finding What You Need

If you are keeping up to date with the latest developments in a broad policy area like education or children's services, please browse the digital research reports collection or visit Welfare Reform Digest. If you are looking for information on a specific topic like attachment theory or foetal alcohol spectrum syndrome, please use the search box. You can search either:

When search results are displayed, you will be taken to Explore the British Library, our main catalogue. Most items can be delivered to your home or office in print or electronic form or accessed immediately through hot links from your results list. (NB fees will be payable for most full text journal articles).

 

Alerting Services

You can sign up for our monthly newsletter, and receive alerts tailored to your interests. Registration is free and takes just three minutes!

Users can also sign up to receive alerts about material newly added to the portal and other news via our Twitter feed, @blsocialwelfare

 

Next Steps

Please visit http://socialwelfare.bl.uk/, test the service, and let us know what you think at socialwelfareeditor@bl.uk

 

04 December 2012

What counts as 'valid' knowledge? A day exploring knowledge, power and learning

This post outlines the event 'New Perspectives on Education and Culture' which was held at the British Library on Monday 3rd December 2012.

Yesterday we hosted an ESRC funded event called 'New Perspectives on Education and Culture' which was the final seminar in a series on Knowledge Cultures organised by Dr Kim Allen and Professor Jocey Quinn. The day explored what counts as 'valid' knowledge in our culture (what is it important to know?) and looked at who is included and excluded in processes of knowledge culture and exchange. For libraries and museums, as well as for those working across the education and arts sectors, these questions are central if we are to ensure equality in access to knowledge.

Dr Nina Power from the University of Roehampton began the day by deconstructing the question about 'valid' knowledge and how such knowledge is obtained and taught. She drew on the work of the philosopher Jacques Ranciere and made use of Ranciere's story 'The Ignorant Schoolmaster'. In this story Ranciere posits a model of learning which seeks to equalise the relationship between pupil and teacher. He suggests that if both student and teacher start at the position of 'ignorance' the power differential inherent to (and reiterated by) the traditional teacher/knowledge - student/ignorance dichotomy can be productively disrupted. Nina explored how this alternative model might shed light on the relationships which exist within the academy in the current context of higher education cuts, a pressurised working environment for academics and the wider social and economic instability in which access to 'valid' forms of knowledge is a vital resource.

Professor John Holmwood, the new President of the British Sociological Association and one of the co-founders of the Campaign for the Public University (organised to oppose the marketisation of higher education by the government) was the next speaker, but unfortunately I didn’t get to hear his talk as I had to attend to this event which was happening in the next room. (It was a busy day for our department!). However, Kim Allen and Jocey Quinn will also be writing up the event and you will soon be able to read about John's talk here. Sorry John!

During the afternoon there was a panel discussion with 5 presenters who all approached the central questions from different perspectives. Nora McGregor from the British Library raised some pertinent questions about the role of the curator in the digital age. She showed how improved access to knowledge and improved capacity to share knowledge via the internet has destabilised the position of the 'expert' curator, and has opened up a space in which the professional 'expert' and the expert member of the public can interact in new ways. For example, many maps at the British Library have been correctly georeferenced with information supplied by members of the public.

Katherine Stanley and Clive Menzies spoke about their involvement with the Occupy movement and described how the Tent City University developed as part of the activity. Katherine spoke about the experience of learning and sharing knowledge collectively in a space which while at first seemingly not very conducive to learning, developed to become an inspirational space in which to share knowledge and experience. Well-known academics such as Manuel Castells offered to provide lectures and the resulting Free University movement continues to operate. Clive Menzies spoke about the Critical Thinking course which evolved from the Tent City University and runs for 40 weeks of the year from January - October. Despite no official home, a hardcore group of students along with Clive have kept this free course alive. The talks by Nora, Katherine and Clive really spoke to the model of learning which Nina described in her account of Ranciere, so that despite the gloomy prospects for education in the current context, there seemed to be some hope for alternative models of learning and sharing knowledge.

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The Occupy Movement, London Cc-by Alan Denney 

Paul Hubbard, Head of Research Policy at HEFCE gave an account of how the funders of HEFCE respond to the questions posed by the day and described the way the 'validity' of knowledge is assessed in this context. The issue of assessing impact was raised by the audience such that there was considerable cross-over with the discussions talking place across the corridor! Finally, Dianne Shepherd, an information librarian from the wonderful Women's Library in London talked about how the collections held there are made accessible to researchers both within and outside higher education. She outlined two imaginative projects: Changing Lives and Sold Feelings which respectively demonstrate how the WL has worked with young people to develop a pupil-led curriculum and then with disempowered groups to document lived experience and emotions.

SMALL Women's Library
The Women's Library, London Cc-by Reading Tom

The day was very stimulating and many of us in attendance had questions and points to raise relevant to our work as educators, curators, librarians, researchers, activists and people interested in equality in access to education; I look forward to seeing how these discussions might develop and inform how we teach, learn and share knowledge.

Other useful links:

http://thenewputneydebates.wordpress.com/

Gender and Education Association

These views are from Sarah Evans (Engagment Development Manager in Social Sciences) @dr_sarahevans and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the British Library as an institution.