Words with… Professor Katharine Cockin: ‘Votes for Women! Arguments for and against in literature, the visual and performing arts’

5pm for 5.30pm, Wednesday 20 June 2018

Special Collections Reading Room, 1st Floor, Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex

The Lakeside Theatre and the Albert Sloman Library’s fourth event in the ‘Words with…’ series, exploring the relationship between writing and performance, features Katharine Cockin, Professor of English Literature, University of Essex. This event is open to all – University of Essex students, staff, alumni and general public. Tickets are free but spaces are limited in the Special Collections Reading Room and booking is required. Tea and coffee will be available from 5pm.

After decades of lobbying and letter-writing, the campaign for women’s enfranchisement in Britain took many frustrating and spectacular turns. In the militant phase, from 1905, posters, postcards, literature and performance were all used to persuade the public that women should be given the vote.

Some activists, including men, took part in the militancy of ‘The Suffragettes’ and were even imprisoned. However, some activists objected to the violent destruction of property and law-breaking. Others insisted on party political affiliation, favoured publicity stunts and witty ways to raise awareness of their challenging vision for a new world.

This talk will explore the wide range of political positions and arguments (for and against; contradictory and confused; elitist and egalitarian; international and intersectional; prejudiced and racist). Artistic responses to this controversial and divisive political movement were equally diverse.

Powerful visual imagery characterised the campaigns on both sides: for and against the vote. Emotive references were made to expectations about women’s role in the management of the home. Drama and performance brought activists together to rehearse the arguments and they reached new theatre-going audiences to build the movement. Examples of the variety of plays and performances will be discussed with reference to the significant contributions of the leading director of women’s suffrage drama, Edith Craig (1869-1947).

This year marks the centenary of the first phase of women’s enfranchisement in Britain. The majority of women had to wait another decade. Some of the most striking anti-suffrage posters were designed by the artist and illustrator, John Hassall (1868-1948), whose papers are held in the Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex. An exhibition of materials from the Hassall collection and selected publications on women’s suffrage from the Albert Sloman Library, will be on display.

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Professor Katharine Cockin, Dept of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex k.m.cockin@essex.ac.uk 

Professor Katharine Cockin has published widely on women’s suffrage drama. Her most recent book is Edith Craig and the Theatres of Art (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama 2017). Other relevant publications include: Edith Craig: Dramatic Lives (Cassell 1998), Women and Theatre in the Age of Suffrage: The Pioneer Players 1911-25 (Palgrave 2001) and volumes on women’s suffrage drama and Gertrude Colmore (Routledge 2007). You can find these publications in the Library, in print and as e-books.

Image: Postcard design by John Hassall, from Albert Sloman Library’s Special Collections


An Eggcellent Easter Hunt

If you’d like to take part in the University of Essex Library’s Easter quiz  simply pick up a form from the Library Helpdesk any time from Monday 19 March and use the classmarks to browse either the shelves or our catalogue, to find the title of the books and the answers. Hand the completed answer sheet to the Library Helpdesk to receive a creme egg.

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To be entered into our prize draw and have the chance to win a £10 Amazon voucher, provide your details in the box on the form.

Happy hunting!

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Terms and Conditions Easter egg hunt


Words with… Bidisha

7pm, Wednesday 25 April

Special Collections Reading Room, 1st Floor, Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex

The Lakeside Theatre and the Albert Sloman Library’s third event in the ‘Words with…’ series, exploring the relationship between writing and performance, features Bidisha SK Mamata.

Bidisha is a British writer, film-maker and broadcaster/ presenter for the BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 and Sky. She is chair of judges for the 2018 Forward Prizes for poetry and has just directed her first short film, An Impossible Poison, which premiered at the Breaking Ground festival in Berlin in November 2017. Specialising in international human rights, social justice, gender and the arts, Bidisha offers political analysis and cultural diplomacy tying these interests together. Her most recent book, Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London, is based on her outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres, most recently with young asylum seeker mothers. Her poetry has been published by Wasafiri magazine, Seagull Books, Saqi Books, English PEN and Young MWA magazine. She writes regularly for The Guardian, BBC Arts and The Observer and is a trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, looking after the UK’s most prestigious prizes for literature in English and in translation.

This event is open to all – University of Essex students, staff, alumni and general public. Tickets are free but spaces are limited in the Special Collections reading room and booking is required: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/words-with-bidisha-tickets-43128333005

You can find publications by Bidisha in the Library – type ‘Bidisha’ into the Library webpage search box: http://libwww.essex.ac.uk/

Photo: Bidisha, An Impossible Poison, 2017

Come to the Library and play The Publishing Trap !

The Publishing Trap is a board game developed by the UK Copyright Literacy Team and is aimed at PhD students/early career researchers and academics (or anyone who is interested in publishing).

We will be hosting two board game sessions in the Library during February as a fun way to learn more about publishing, copyright and various challenges that might occur during an academic career. Our Scholarly Communications and Research Support Manager will be hosting the session so there will be opportunities to ask any questions you might have about publishing, copyright and Open Access.

There is no need to book on – just show up!

Board game session 1:

Thursday 22nd February

Special Collections (Library Floor 1)

2 pm – 3.30 pm

Board game session 2:

Wednesday 28th February

Special Collections (Library Floor 1)

11 am – 12.30 pm





For any questions about this session please contact our Scholarly Communications and Research Support Manager Kat Sundsbo.

A successful launch of Newcomers!

What is Newcomers?

Newcomers (Network for Early Career Essex Researchers) is a cross-departmental initiative by staff from the REO, Library Services and UK Data Archive with the aim to improve awareness of research support available at the University of Essex and to increase networking opportunities for PhD students and Early Career Researchers. The network was launched during the first ever Newcomers Research Week in the beginning of January 2018. A Newcomers Research Week will be organised again 18th – 22nd June 2018 with some changes in the program.

Here’s the summary of our very first Research Week:

Launch of Newcomers

Dates: 8th – 12th January
Organised by: Library Services, Research and Enterprise Office and UK Data Archive
Time of opening session: Monday 8th January from 11 to 12
Time of training sessions: Every day of the week from 12-1pm OR 1-2pm
Where: Essex Business School

Opening session

The opening session was kicked off with some words from our PVC Research Christine Raines and Beate Reinhardt (Research and Enterprise Office) about what the vision is for Newcomers, the importance of research and the potential impact this network can have. It was then followed by a networking activity where all participants were given a card each and asked to find the person with the same card as them (e.g. A Queen of Hearts). They were then asked to discuss three things:

1. What subject area is your research in?

2. Could the two of you do a research project together, if so; what?

3. What is the most frustrating thing about your work right now?

This networking activity certainly got people talking and people seemed to enjoy it. It was highlighted as an enjoyable experience and a good way getting in touch with new people across departments and faculties. The activity was followed by a light lunch and the opportunity to network with all the attendees.

Training programme

The training programme (click on the image above to view) ran throughout the week from 12 to 2pm and aimed to cover a range of different topics that researchers might come across during the research life cycle. Each session was one hour long with two or three sessions running at the same time. All sessions were tailored to Early Career Researchers and aimed as introductions to topics and the support and resources offered across the University of Essex. The sessions were given by experts from the UK Data Archive, Research and Enterprise Office, Library Services and some external providers.

All in all we had over 250 participants across the 25 courses throughout the week. Many sessions were fully booked – some even had a waiting list! Both participants and presenters were very happy with the sessions and many participants reported they were positively surprised about the range of support offered to researchers at the University of Essex. Definitely reached our goal of increasing awareness of research support via this event!

We also received suggestions for future sessions, which we have taken into consideration as we plan the next Newcomers Research Week June 18th – 22nd.

To stay tuned about our upcoming Newcomers events, please sign up to our Newcomers Mailing List here.

LGBT+ Book Group

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5.30-7pm, Monday 19 February 2018

To celebrate LGBT History Month 2018, and as part of our “Liberate Your Library” campaign, the Library will be hosting a book group.

From a shortlist of titles you chose Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith for discussion at this event.

A modern-day reinterpretation of Ovid’s myth of Iphis, it concerns two sisters, Anthea and Imogen (Midge) living in Inverness. Imogen works in the marketing department of a large company producing bottled water, Anthea is on work experience in the same department but then falls in love with Robin, a female eco-warrior. It also vividly portrays her sister Imogen and her joyful emergence from low self-esteem.

(synopsis from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_Meets_Boy)

Get reading, and join us for an evening of discussion by booking on EventBrite! Refreshments will be provided.

If you would like to know more about the LGBT+ content available in the Library, take a look at our reading list.

Library Training Workshops 2018


This week sees the launch of our shiny new workshop programme. Here are the full details, but to whet your appetite there are sessions on:

  • How to search Google effectively
  • Finding your way around the Library website
  • Making the most of our amazing Social Science collections
  • Referencing & reference management software

We’ll also have sessions aimed specifically at PGR students and other researchers, as well as drop-ins where you can speak to your Subject Librarian about finding sources for assignments or your capstone project.

Save time, improve your grades and gain some transferable skills by joining us for a session. No booking required, just turn up!

Any questions? Ask at the Helpdesk or email libline@essex.ac.uk