Sunday, 11 October 2015

Seminar Paper on the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

On Wednesday 14 October, Sarah Hellawell - a PhD student and member of the Histories of Activism group - will give a paper as part of the History Seminar Series at Northumbria University.  The event will take place at 4:30 pm in room 121 of the Lipman Building (building no. 15 on the campus map). Here are some further details regarding the subject of her talk:

'Peace is not a mere denial of war': 

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

In April 1915 over 1200 women gathered at The Hague in the Netherlands to discuss the issues of war and peace. This women's peace congress ultimately led to the formation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which still exists today. The paper will demonstrate how WILPF used the rhetoric of motherhood to demand a place for women in the sphere of international politics, linking its feminist and pacifist aims. In other words, for these internationally-minded women, peace meant much more than the absence of war. This paper will highlight some of the organisation's campaigns for peace, internationalism and women's rights during the 1920s and 1930s, with a particular focus on the British section, known as the Women's International League (WIL). 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Call for Papers: 'Two Centuries of Peacemaking' Conference

On 7-8 June 2016, Newcastle University and Northumbria University are jointly hosting the conference 'Two Centuries of Peacemaking'.

2016 is an anniversary year that serves as a useful marker for academics and activists to contemplate where we stand in our understanding of peace and how to achieve it. June 2016 is the bicentenary of the establishment of the (London) Peace Society. Alongside the formation of the New York Peace Society, its appearance is widely seen as representing the beginning of the modern peace movement. Similarly it marks the start of a year of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of Martin Luther King Jr to Newcastle in 1967 to accept an honorary doctorate. His impromptu address, which fused together the issues of poverty, war and racism, inspired the research expertise in the city’s two universities, and national work of the Martin Luther King Peace Committee to honour King’s legacy by ‘building cultures of peace’.

The conference will mark these anniversaries by asking big questions about the direction and vitality of the peace movement over 200 years, and the place of King’s philosophy of nonviolence within it. It will be a forum for scholars and activists to critically reflect on our activities and explore how to build future synergies. Between the bicentenary of the Peace Society, the centenary of Britain's enactment of conscription during World War One, and the run-up to the 50th anniversary of MLK’s visit, there is ample opportunity to reflect on this history and stage a robust discussion on radical shifts in the peace movement a hundred years ago, including issues such as conscientious objection and the increased importance of feminist/womens activist roles, the geographical and historical coordinates and influence of the civil rights movement, King’s distinctive nonviolence in global peace movements,  and more.

Four keynote speakers have confirmed their participation in the event:

We now invite proposals for papers that may deal with the following (or related) theme: 
  • the Peace Society in retrospect
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s concepts and practices of nonviolence – local settings and global networks
  • locating the U.S. civil rights movement in historical and global peace and/or other activist movements
  • exploring the relationship between violence, nonviolence and armed self-defence: from Gandhi and King to ‘colour revolutions’ and the ‘Arab Spring’ 
  • histories of peace movements
  • resisting war through conscientious objection, mutinies, desertions and ‘live and let live systems’
  • women’s activism and feminist pacifism 
  • transnational peace activism
  • theology and religion in peace and nonviolence 
  • peace ideas, analysis and practice 
  • local histories of peace activism and war opposition (in Tyneside and elsewhere).

Please submit abstracts of 200 words plus biographical line to  by 11 December 2015.  We welcome submissions of proposals for complete paper sessions.  Please provide panel title and name of convenor, as well as abstracts and biographical lines for each panel member.

One plenary session will be a roundtable for peace activists, educators and scholars to discuss the state of the peace movement 200 years on and the role of academics and activists within it.

A limited number of travel bursaries are available for postgraduate students and peace activists/educators. If you would like to request one, please indicate this to the organisers.

The event is organised by historians from Newcastle University and Northumbria University (Histories of Activism Research Group) and by the Northumbria and NewcastleUniversities Martin Luther King Peace Committee.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities (1880-1939): Project Material on Website

The research network 'Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities, 1880-1939' was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and investigated how clothes and labour influenced and assisted in the development of professional communities at the turn of the twentieth century (1880-1939). The Principal Investigator was Dr Vike Plock from Exeter University, while the Co-Investigator was a member of the Histories of Activism group at Northumbria University, Dr Nicole Robertson

The Tailored Trades website contains an archive of network events, which ran during 2013-14. Activities included academic workshops at Northumbria University (involving other members of the Histories of Activism group) and Exeter University, public lectures and school study days at the Bishopsgate Institute (London), an exhibition at the People's History Museum  (Manchester), and a concluding network conference 'Clothes, Working Lives and Social Change (1880-1939)'.  You can listen to podcasts (including a recording of a paper by Histories of Activism group member Dr Charlotte Alston) and view digitised material and descriptions from network events on the project’s website.

Friday, 17 April 2015

LSRG Seminar on 21 April: Yann Béliard on Labour and Decolonisation

On Tuesday, 22 April, the Labour and Society Research Group - a research forum that brings together Northumbria's 'Histories of Activism' staff and colleagues from Newcastle University - will hold its next event. We are delighted to welcome Yann Béliard, who lectures in British History at the Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle - Paris III. His paper is entitled 'Labour and Decolonisation: The British Experience'. Back in November 2013, Dr Béliard organised a conference on this subject, and his paper will build on these earlier discussions. For details of the earlier event, including audio files of the papers, please consult the event's website.

Yann Béliard holds a PhD from the Université Paris XIII, where his research dealt with social relations in Hull between 1894 and 1913. His work has appeared in journals such as Labour History Review, the Cahiers d'Histoire and the Revue Francaise de Civilisation Britannique as well as various edited collections. In 2014, he edited a themed Labour History Review issue on 'The Great Labour Unrest'. He is currently preparing a volume in French on the British labour movement before 1914.

The  talk will start at 5:00 pm and take place in room 2.20 of the Research Beehive (Old Library Building) at Newcastle University. A campus map can be accessed via this link.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Commemorating the centenary of the Women's Peace Congress of 1915

On Monday, 20 April, the Histories of Activism group is organising an event at the Newcastle Lit & Phil to commemorate the centenary of the Women's Peace Congress of 1915 - a major international meeting held at The Hague. Over 1,200 women came together to coordinate their efforts to bring an end to the Great War. Following on from their meeting in the Netherlands, participants travelled to European capitals to lobby the representatives of the warring nations.  The event also resulted in the creation of the International Committee of Women for a Permanent Peace, which was later transformed into the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) - a major pacifist organisation that still exists today.

A century on, our 'Women as Peacemakers' evening will allow us to reflect on the history, legacy and ongoing relevance of the women's peace movement. The event is open to the public and will start at 6:00 pm.

  • Daniel Laqua (Senior Lecturer in European History at Northumbria University) will introduce the event by commenting on the history of peace movement up to 1914 as well as outlining the main features of the congress at The Hague.
  • Sarah Hellawell (PhD candidate in British History at Northumbria University) will present findings from her doctoral research. She will focus on the British women who attended the congress as well as the subsequent creation of a British WILPF section. She will show how the British women's movement emerged from a section of the pre-war suffrage movement, and will also consider the tension between national loyalty to the British war effort and women's transnational efforts for peace.
  • Ingrid Sharp (Senior Lecturer in German at Leeds University) will discuss the aims and achievements of the women at The Hague, explaining why it is important to remember them. In doing so, she will draw attention to the legacy and significance of this year's centenary, shedding light on the relationship between peace, women's rights and human rights.
  • Jon Coburn (PhD candidate in US History at Northumbria University) will draw on his doctoral research on women's activism for peace in 1960s/1970s America. He will point out that women's groups have had a long and positive role to play in the American peace movement. He will highlight the connections between different waves of activism and demonstrate the enduring relevance of women's peace history for contemporary peace groups.
Participation in the event is free. There is no need to pre-register, but if you would like to let us know that you are coming, you can do so via our Facebook page.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Mapping Tyneside Radicalism

The 'Histories of Activism' group is currently putting together a website that maps moments of radical activity that have occurred on Tyneside since the seventeenth century. The project was inspired by our belief that Tyneside’s rich and diverse radical history is only fitfully commemorated in the urban fabric of Newcastle and Gateshead. Mapping Tyneside Radicalism is designed to create a space where academics, researchers and local communities can work together to build a permanent memorial to the region’s tradition of radicalism and activism. 

This interactive website has gathered an archive of historic activism, and it allows users to map this archive on to the modern Tyneside landscape. In preparing this resource, we have drawn on the diverse expertise of the staff members and PhD students who are members of our research group. Every event on the site will come with a short commentary and links to further readings. We therefore hope that this resource will be of considerable use to students, schoolchildren, researchers and many others. The website is currently being developed by the CommunityITAcademy and will go live in May 2015.

We are encouraging members of the public to engage with us in a dialogue about the different dimensions of Tyneside radicalism. If you have an event that you think should be commemorated on this website, then please get in touch with the project coordinator, Dr Joe Hardwick.