SPAN: a participatory history

Project Details


This project brings together Barton Hill Settlement (BHS), the University of Bristol and the Feminist Archive South to research the history of Single Parent Action Network (SPAN), a voluntary organisation based in inner-city Bristol from 1990 until 2016, when it was amalgamated into BHS. At its height, SPAN oversaw a network of 1000+ groups, and a significant portfolio of national and European funding. Yet it retained a distinctively grassroots and multi-racial ethos. SPAN's activities included education, research, local service provision, community organising and political lobbying. This multi-faceted history is an important example of women's, black, and working-class activism, and the evolution of the voluntary and community sector in the 1990s and 2000s.

This project will bring together expertise from the heritage, voluntary and university sectors in an innovative participatory methodology. The central focus of the project is a History Group, which will meet weekly at the Barton Hill Settlement's premises in inner-city Bristol for a period of 12 months. This group will include both academic researchers and community members, activists and service users from both BHS and SPAN. Facilitated by the project team, participants will design and execute a research project, and communicate their findings to members of the public.

The project aims to overcome the currently existing gulf between academics and practitioners of public, community and co-produced history, to produce history which is rigorous, inclusive and engaging, and to communicate these new methodologies to academic researchers well beyond the discipline.
Effective start/end date1/01/1930/06/22


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