On Saturday 17th March, in the midst of heavy snow and fierce winds, we managed to find a haven of comfort in the Sheffield Archives, pouring over the feminist collections already stored there.
Among the many remarkable artefacts we inspected, there were a few which really captured our imaginations, including old editions of the ‘Sheffield Women’s Newsletter’ from the 1970s, ‘Wildcat’ artworks produced ‘for women by women’, articles documenting the struggle for liberation throughout Sheffield’s history, and some oral history interviews from local residents.
These interviews I found to be particularly thought-provoking as they encouraged me to realise how important it is to document and protect the stories of “ordinary” people who make up this city’s wonderful history.
I think what struck me most about the materials we studied, beyond how funny, brave and mischievous women can be in the face of such adversity, was how relevant all their content still is today. Many of the articles, essays, and ephemera which concern women’s fight for liberation and equality would not look out of place in a publication released in 2018.
There is much to be found in the Sheffield Feminist Archive’s quirky and exciting collection which deserves celebration and much which requires serious thought, but the chance to confront these rare and exceptional materials in person was a truly fantastic way to spend a snow day.
by Cora James