Join us for the MCPHH/CA Pride Month Lecture with Dr Tom Sapsford on 6 June, on zoom.
Tom Sapsford’s research interests include performance, gender, and sexuality in both ancient Greek and Roman contexts with a specialization in imperial Latin verse. His recent book Performing the Kinaidos: Unmanly Men in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures. Oxford University Press, (2022) explores a figure called the kinaidos/cinaedus, who is known in antiquity for his outrageous gender performance and sexuality as well as for his distinctive style of song and dance.
Dr Sapsford is also working on ancient writings about Greek and Roman dance and has written on adaptations of ancient literature by contemporary choreographers. Work on these research strands has been possible thorough support from the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU and the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford.
By Suzie Cloves, Postgraduate Researcher, Department of History, Politics and Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
It may seem obvious that heritage must affect how we feel about places, but we’re only just starting to learn about how and why it does so. What’s more, research in this area has tended to focus on physical heritage such as buildings and monuments. Perhaps this is because it’s relatively easy to ask people to consider themselves in relation to physical objects in their landscape. However, the stories and memories that we attach to places may play a valuable role, maybe even if they’re not physically landmarked. We wanted to learn how a place’s non-physical heritage affects people’s attitudes to that place. To do this, we needed a way to put heritage such as oral histories, memories and music into landscapes so that people could interact with it.
In 2022, we piloted geolocated sound as a method for introducing non-physical heritage into the physical world. If you’ve ever used satnav, you’re already familiar with geolocated sound – an audio file is attached to a GPS location, and triggered when the listener arrives at that location. We’re using a tool called SonicMaps, which lets us draw shapes on the landscape and attach our own sounds to them. Our array of drawn sounds can then either be activated on location as an augmented reality layer upon the physical landscape, or remotely using an avatar (like Google Streetview but with sounds instead of photos). Our pilot project tells the story of the campaign to create Platt Fields park, and it’s still live if you’d like to play with it – just click here to get going. We’ve put instructions below in case you get stuck!
Now we’re using SonicMaps to create more augmented realities in Edgeley, Stockport, which has a really interesting mix of physical heritage and stories attached to places. The tricky part is finding stories where there isn’t a landmark to tell us that they’re there! We’re working with the North West Sound Archive and Stockport Libraries to find archive oral histories, but we’re also recording new ones with the present-day community. We’d love your help – for more information please see the call for participants (below). From hat-making to The Hatters and from Alex Park to the Alex pub, we’re certain that people will have valuable stories about places in Edgeley with special meaning.
Instructions for using sonic map Open this link and wait a moment for the website to decide where you are. You’ll see a button which says “Open” at the bottom of the page. Click that and the sonic map will load. It’s designed to be used either like an augmented reality trail on your phone in Platt Fields, or remotely from home. If you’re in the park (you’ll want headphones) you just need to open the link and move to where the sounds are, and they’ll activate automatically. If you’d rather activate it remotely, once you’ve opened the map click the little person icon in the bottom left and use it to activate the sound areas.
By Dr. Marie Molloy (Senior Lecturer in US History and Academic Lead for the club)
In February 2023, the History, Politics and Philosophy Department launched its Society and Change Saturday Club for the second consecutive year in collaboration with the National Saturday Club, a nationwide organisation that enables schoolchildren aged 13-16-years-old to attend a range of Saturday clubs across the UK for free on a Saturday! This builds on our successful pilot club that started in February 2022, as one of only two pilot clubs in the UK.
In 2022, we had two key themes: Race and Racism and Mental Wellbeing. One of our club tutors, Nathan Atherton, was completing a PhD in well-being and green spaces and he designed an innovative programme that connected present day issues regarding young people’s mental health (especially post-pandemic) with the past. This included trying recipes from the Victorian era that were designed to appeal to the five senses, and to balance the body and mind. We had a class trip to the local allotment and learnt about green spaces, food, and well-being in a city space, that the club members loved. This inspired students to design their own garden and to share these with the group.
Cameron Mitchell, our second MMU club tutor designed the second half of the club, on Race and Racism. This included guest speakers Ameen Hadi from Stand Up to Racism; SuAndi, a mixed race poet from Manchester, who spoke to club members about her life and poetry. We had a ‘hands on’ session at the Race Relations Centre in Manchester and learnt about archives that were centred on the global majority. Tunde Adekoya from Big Music Company, Manchester talked to the students about the 5th Pan African Congress in Manchester in 1945, and the students had an interactive session about Pan Africanism today. Finally, we learnt about the connection between Manchester and bees, and the club designed their own colourful beehives.
Many of our club members have returned to club again this year, a testament to the club’s success. The theme of this year’s club is Race, Racism, and Immigration, and we have had some fascinating interactive sessions already from Haseeb Khan (MMU) on history and podcasting; and race and videogames from Dr. Jenny Cromwell (MMU). We had an incredible visit to the Mines Advisory Group in Manchester and learnt about the devastation caused by land mines across the world; this included being shown PPE equipment and land mines that had been demined. One club member noted “the trip was amazing”. Club members created their own fundraising Tik Tok with Haseeb Khan to advertise a planned fundraising event in June 2023 for MAG. Finally, we have several trips planned to local museums in Liverpool and Manchester next month.
One of the highlights of the National Saturday Club each year is the Summer Showcase, as it is an opportunity for club members to travel down to London, and to see their work exhibited at Somerset House. This is a valuable and ‘confidence boosting’ experience for our club members and staff. Last year, we travelled to London on the Jubilee weekend, and this made the trip even more exciting, as we saw London emblazoned with Union Jack flags. We were all very proud to see our club members go up on to the stage to receive their certificates.
The National Saturday Club model has enabled our own Man Met university students (at undergraduate, MA, and PhD level) to have the opportunity to co-design, facilitate and lead on a wonderful programme for young people, and in doing so, this empowered them as they gained valuable experience outside of the degree programmes.
By Michelle D. Ravenscroft, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University
If you delve into the history of the Manchester Man figure, you will discover that the record is somewhat incomplete. However, my doctoral research and a collaborative volunteer project with the Portico Library, Manchester are uncovering clues to the identity and reading practices of these men during the nineteenth century that are helping to form a more detailed picture.
Who was the Manchester man?
Although the identity has links with trade and manufacturing, the origins of the Manchester Man figure is still unclear. In the pre-industrial era, he was deemed to be a rather untrustworthy cloth or woollen merchant salesman that travelled from Manchester across the Pennines. The identity then began to evolve, and rather than a travelling merchant or manufacturer, the Manchester men were classified as influential owners of local textile mills and factories firmly located in the town.
Eighteenth-century trade directories show that the number of Manchester-based textile manufacturers increased from 209 in 1772 to 579 in 1797. Nineteenth-century guides to Manchester reveal how this affected their increasing social status, as highlighted in the title of Benjamin Love’s Manchester As It Is: or Notices of the Institutions, Manufacturers, Commerce, Railways, etc. of the Metropolis of Manufacturers: Interspersed with Much Valuable Information useful for the Resident and Stranger (1839). The title also explicitly links their identity as an important factor that determined Manchester as a metropolis. This association between place, trade and the Manchester men is further supported by the term ‘Cottonopolis’, which symbolised the town’s ‘singular importance in this staple product of industrialization’. The Manchester men not only connected through trade, but also through their cultural practices, with institutions such as the Portico Library enabling them to mix business with pleasure.
The Portico Library, Manchester
Founded in 1806, the Portico Library is a subscription library located on the corner of Mosley Street and Charlotte Street. Many of the nineteenth-century Library members were local manufacturers and merchants, living in the surrounding streets. The institution not only provided access to newspapers, periodicals and books, but offered the perfect opportunity for members to increase both their knowledge and their business connections.
The Manchester Man Volunteer Project
My doctoral research is supported by a collaborative project involving a group of Portico Library volunteers. It focuses on identifying and analysing representations of the Manchester Man figure within the nineteenth-century Collection. These include literature, such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Manchester novels’ and Benjamin Disraeli’s Coningsby. The archives show that the Portico Library committee ordered a copy of Disraeli’s novel within a month of its publication. Another novel that features in the Collection, Isabella Banks’s The Manchester Man (1876), chronicles the life of the ‘new Manchester man’ from the beginning of the century. Originally serialised in Cassell’s Family Magazine, the work features representations of its Manchester Man-type members, and contains a chapter entitled ‘On the Portico Steps’ which explicitly references the Library. The archives reveal the popularity of the novel with the members through the issue book entries that show it was borrowed continuously during the months following its acquisition.
Issues for Thursday 27 April 1876.
The Portico Library Collection and archives are proving a valuable resource for researching the nineteenth-century Manchester Man. It is hoped that as my research and the volunteer project progress, the representations of the Manchester Man figure and the borrowing habits of the Library members during the 1800s will reveal more about how this important and influential collective both formed and supported the identity of nineteenth-century Manchester and the Portico Library.
Acknowledgements: Supervisors, Dr David Cooper and Dr Emma Liggins, Manchester Metropolitan University, and The Portico Library staff and volunteers.
 Gary S. Messinger, Manchester in the Victorian Age: The Half-Known City (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), p. 175.
 Peter Maw, ‘Provincial Merchants in Eighteenth-Century England: The ‘Great Oaks’ of Manchester’, The English Historical Review, Volume 136, Issue 580, June 2021, Table 1. Manchester textile manufacturers listed in trade directories, 1772-1800, p. 575.
 Benjamin Love, Manchester As It Is: or Notices of the Institutions, Manufacturers, Commerce, Railways, etc. of the Metropolis of Manufacturers: Interspersed with Much Valuable Information useful for the Resident and Stranger (Manchester: Love and Barton, 1839).
 Alan Kidd and Terry Wyke, ‘Introduction: Making the Modern City’, in Manchester: Making the Modern City, eds. Alan Kidd and Terry Wyke (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016), p. 2.
 The Portico Library Archives, Share Transfer Records, 1806-1850.
 The Portico Library Archives, Committee Meetings Minutes 1834-1849.
 Mrs G. Linnaeus, The Manchester Man (Manchester: Abel Heywood and Sons, 1896), p. 409.
 The Portico Library Archive, Issue Book, 14 January 1875 – 22 December 1876.
Frank Patterson (1871-1952) was a highly renowned commercial artist, active from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. He was able to produce art in many different forms and styles, however, it is his intricate line drawings using a pen that are his most famous and impressive pieces. It would not be difficult to find examples of these pieces of artwork, as it is estimated he produced over 25,000 in his lifetime.
His work mainly showed idyllic countryside scenes, depicting a bicycle or motorcar nestled within the landscape. These pieces of work were produced for travel magazines, most notably The Motor and CTC Gazette. What is fascinating about Patterson’s work is the sheer longevity of his career, and how through analysing examples throughout his career, social and technological advancements can be recorded within his work.
He was drawing for these magazines in the golden age of the bicycle and motor car, representing the immense possibility these items could offer a person, and, arguably, alluding to the ever-growing fallacy of the serene open road. Due to the sudden popularity of the bicycle and motor car, the once quiet and peaceful countryside scenes were now overrun with weekend tourists and visitors. But that is never what Patterson portrayed in his work. Instead he captured a time of early exploration and vast empty roads of possibility, which was far from what it came to be in the later years of his career.
Patterson’s work can also be accredited, alongside other travel artists and other factors, for helping to champion the use of the ‘safety’ bicycle, which is the bicycle we still use today. This overtook the use of the ‘ordinary’ (the proper name for a penny farthing!). The same can be said for the increase in popularity of the motor car, which was in its relative infancy in the early 1900s. Patterson, by contributing to these magazines, aimed at the middle classes and higher lower classes as reflected in their cover price, allowed the masses of society to see the great possibility these modes of transport could offer.
He is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to artists of this era. He is nothing like the contemporary metropolitan artist, as he was a burly countryman who lived in a remote cottage. He was also a farmer (hat and rifle included!). He had an affinity to the countryside and lived in his famous cottage Pear Tree Cottage from his 20s until the day he died.
Frank Patterson was an interesting and talented artist. His life and work reflect the society that he was a part of, which I find to be an incredibly special part of this artist. He was vastly popular as an artist and had a society dedicated to his work (The Frank Patterson Appreciation Society) which ran for many years until the mid- nineties. He is still known within the cycling community but has fallen into obscurity the past few decades.
If you are interested in finding out more about this amazing artist, you can find a trove of work at the Richard Roberts Archive, located in Stockport. There are hundreds of examples of his work within publications, and the archive boasts a database of some of Patterson’s work, with over 500 entries.
Join experts from MCPHH and beyond on a practical course to develop your academic historical work into formats suitable for wider publics.
Led by Professor Catherine Fletcher, this free five-session course features a range of experts including Emma Nagouse from the production team of hit podcast You’re Dead to Me, public engagement specialist Dr Mai Musié, Dr Kate Wiles, co-editor of History Today, TikTok star Dr Ellie Mackin Roberts and Dr Owen Rees of badancient.com.
Running online over four Tuesdays from 30 May to 20 June (10-3 each day), with a final in-person event on 27 June, it will introduce you to essential techniques in communicating history to wider audiences.
The course will cover a range of different formats:
– short-form writing (for magazines and online)
– long-form writing (trade books)
– podcasts and radio
– social media
– engagement with the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries and Museums).
The final day, in-person in Manchester, will be your opportunity to present your own work. We have bursaries available for participants without access to institutional funding.
By the end of the five sessions, you should have a good understanding of what is expected in these different contexts, some practical ideas of where to take your own work next, plus useful tips on money and career strategies.
This course is free and aimed at academic researchers (from mid-PhD onwards), with little or no experience of this type of writing. It is essential that you have an existing piece of academic research (e.g., a close-to-final thesis chapter, article, or book chapter) that you would like to translate to other contexts. You do not have to be studying History provided that your work has a historical element.
To express interest in participating, please complete the form here by Thursday 30 March. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-April.
Notes for applicants:
Public history environments differ significantly from country to country. This course focuses on the UK context, and will be most useful if you currently work here or plan to do so in the near future.
We do not cover historical fiction. If your main interest is in this area, a short course in creative writing will probably be more useful.
This is the concluding part of our mini series with Andy. Andy talks about the great West Indian cricket player and personality, Learie Constantine, who played a lot of cricket in Lancashire for Nelson CC. We also spoke about Yorkshire’s racism scandal and its historic roots, before Andy finished on how cricket as been a social force for good in communities. Listen below or on Spotify here. We hope that you have enjoyed! Purchase Andy’s book here.
Founded in 1960s Moss Side, at a time when a colour bar still existed, the Reno was an inclusive space that anyone could enjoy. This included Muhammad Ali, who visited it in 1971! Phil Magbotiwan, the Reno’s founder, had a fascinating life including, among many other things, meeting and forming a connection with Muhammad Ali. The Reno, and stories such as Phil’s, are a vital part of Manchester’s history. It was a pleasure to speak with Phil’s daughter, Lisa Ayegun. We spoke about how Phil came to found the Reno, racism, and Lisa’s memories of the club. Phil’s connection to Muhammad Ali was also brought out beautifully by Lisa. We hope that you enjoy! Be sure to check out some of Lisa’s great photos of Phil, and the Reno below. Listen below or on spotify here.
Welcome back to our Early Black and Asian Cricketers in Britain mini series. In this penultimate part, Andy takes us through the fascinating life of Ranjitsinhji. Ranjitsinhji came from a royal family in India, was one of England’s greats and after he retired got involved in Indian politics. Stay tuned for part 3 on Learie Constantine! Listen on Spotify here.
An Evening with Mrs Terrell and Friends was an exciting day in which students visited Manchester Metropolitan University, learning about black women’s activism and the fight for gender and race equality from 1900 – 1960s. The day was sponsored by the British Association for American Studies, the US Embassy and Manchester Metropolitan University. It ran in collaboration with award-winning playwright and historian Pamela Roberts, Dr Marie Molloy and Student Ambassadors from the University.
To begin the day Pamela Roberts presented a screening of her play An Evening With Mrs Terrell and Friends, which was introduced through a monologue delivered by George Ukachukwu. The monologue explored the experience of black male academics at Oxford, whilst the play took on a broader approach. On a surface level, the play focused on the politics of Mrs Mary Church Terrell, who alongside others campaigned for suffrage and racial equality. It was immensely refreshing to see Roberts’ portrayal of the black contribution to the American suffrage movement, which has been largely disregarded in historiography and public memory. There were clear racial divides within the women’s suffrage movement, seen through figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, yet Roberts’ play goes one step further to explore colourism, classism and hierarchy amongst the African American community. The play was a complex response to the history of intersectionality and the hidden victims who live within it, with Roberts’ exploring the themes of colourism, echoing tones from Rebecca Hall’s Passing (2021). Moreover, Roberts took on a relatively progressive approach to teaching history, as she chose to tell black women’s history through a play, rather than through a typically academic format. This is incredibly important as it breaks down the barriers and helps to make history accessible to a wider audience. This was reflected through the students’ responses at the end of the day, and through the Q&A which was hosted after the workshop; students were engaged, and were encouraged to think about privilege, hierarchy, and selective memorialisation.
The afternoon comprised of workshops in which students learned about influential women in the civil rights movement. The Key Stage Three workshops included a short Q and A about studying at university as well as an activity in which students created posters about influential women in the civil rights movement. Students were actively involved, and it was brilliant seeing them exercise their creativity in this task. The Q and A helped challenge some students’ perceptions about learning at university ‘It can show you … it’s not just writing down, copying massive paragraphs, it’s about learning about things with practical examples and real-life stories.’ The Key Stage Five workshop focused on themes of intersectionality and misogynoir. The workshop was centered around primary source analysis focusing on sources from Angela Davis and Audre Lorde. This allowed students to learn more about black women in the civil rights movement whilst enhancing their practical history skills. From student feedback, it was clear they enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about black women in the civil rights movement, a subject largely neglected by school curriculums. ‘I thought it was really educational and brought a lot of light to the civil rights movement and black people in power.’ Not only did this day give students the opportunity to learn more about black women’s activism in the fight for racial and gender equality, as Scarlett, one of our Student Ambassadors articulates, we also learned a lot. ‘Personally, I really enjoyed covering new aspects of black women’s history, and I really enjoyed doing the research behind the preparation for the workshop.’ The day gave all our student ambassadors an opportunity to collaborate, develop our skill sets and gain new experiences.