One of my primary interests regarding fields of historical research includes the history of feminism and gender. In my second year of study, I investigated post-colonial women and the intersection of gender and class factors that contributed to their status as ‘subaltern’. The Student Research Portfolio gave me the opportunity to explore this topic further by looking at the suffragette movement.
Our project’s strong focus on the experiences of working-class suffragettes enabled me to examine how the intersection of gender and class in late modern Britain affected the suffragette movement. Furthermore, the project offered a unique opportunity for me, as an undergraduate, to not only conduct my own primary research but also present my research by producing a public engagement output.
My main role entailed conducting independent research to identify primary source material of working-class suffragettes. Over the course of the project, I engaged closely with local and national newspaper archives, records from the National Archives and archives from the Modern Records Centre, to locate working-class suffragettes and chart their involvement in the suffragette movement. To supplement and direct my primary source research, I consulted secondary literature which focused on the discovery of the voices of the working-class suffragettes.
The public engagement initiative of our project also meant that a key objective of my role included using my research to construct ‘stories’ for viewers of the exhibition to follow and engage with.
The opportunity to conduct and direct independent research and work extensively with archives has been invaluable for me as a history student. Albeit locating digitised primary sources concerning working-class suffragettes was challenging initially, it allowed me, as a researcher, to be much more innovative and resourceful when carrying out my research.
Another enriching aspect of the project included the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary group of students from the Faculty of Arts. The process of identifying a research topic that reflected the interests of the whole group, planning and strategising our research to producing a digital output for the project has been extremely rewarding.