Manuscripts and Special Collections

dear sisters: activists' archives

This exhibition runs from Thursday 21 March until Sunday 1 September 2024, at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts.

Our exhibition presents an archive curated by the Nottingham Feminist Archive Group, a collective of local women, some of whom were active in the Women’s Liberation Movement. They embarked on a project to interview the former activists they were still in contact with and brought us their personal memories, zines, photographs, posters, papers, campaign badges and T-shirts to form the Feminist Archive (East Midlands).

They also set to work developing and preserving the collection of feminist magazines at the Nottingham Women’s Centre Library, the duplicate copies of which were kindly donated to form the basis of our new Feminist Publications Collection. By preserving these living histories, future generations are armed with the knowledge of their struggles. The fight goes on. 

This exhibition has been curated by University of Nottingham Libraries, Manuscripts and Special Collections, with advice from the Nottingham Feminist Archive Group.




Exhibition themes  

Six exhibition boards are on display in the Gallery. One of the boards can be downloaded or viewed online as Adobe PDF. 


Further Research

Items from our collections are available to consult in the Manuscripts and Special Collections reading room on King's Meadow Campus.

Links to our catalogues, and specific collections relating to the themes featuring in the exhibition can be found below.


Films: Our series of films will be coming soon

Curator Sarah Colborne discusses the interviews which form the core of the Feminist Archive (East Midlands)


Curator Dr Ursula Ackrill presents a drawing of the "Womanspace" exhibition house, an art exhibition/installation organised by members of the Nottingham Women's Liberation Group, in 1975.



Nottingham Feminist Archive Group member Tina Pamplin shares her memories of joining the Nottingham Women's Liberation Group in the 1970s, and the National Abortion Campaign

Nottingham Feminist Archive Group member Margaret Davies talks about the Nottingham Women Against Pit Closures Campaign during the 1984-5 miners' strike.




From the blog

Read our blogs and Discover newsletter article about items featured in the dear sisters exhibition.

All blogs relating to the feminist collections can be found on our blog site:

Introducing the Feminist Archive (East Midlands)

Feminist badges large image

An introduction to the Feminist Archive (East Midlands) and the Feminist Publications Collection at the University of Nottingham 

Go to blog post

How the Feminist Archive (East Midlands) was created

Volunteers with archives

Find out about the beginnings of the archive and the woman-hours invested in its creation.

Go to blog post

Audrey Beecham and the Nottingham Women's Liberation Group
Audrey Beecham c 1962-63

Audrey Beecham (1915-1989) was a University of Nottigham lecturer, poet and feminist. 

Go to article, on pages 6-7



Programme of associated talks and events coming up at Lakeside Arts. 
Recordings of some of these talks may be made available on this webpage shortly. 

Lunchtime Talks

£3 (free concessions)

A working class woman is something to be

Tuesday 9 April, 1-2pm
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts

Dr Lisa McKenzie, who grew up in the coal-mining town of Sutton-in-Ashfield, is a self-described “working class academic”, exploring how the white working class in the UK are perceived. She will talk about her book in which she presents ten stories of the experiences of women involved in the miners’ strikes of the 1980s. 

Meet the activists

Tuesday 11 June, 1-2pm
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts

A panel discussion featuring members of the Nottingham Feminist Archive Group and their interviewees, explores in depth some of the themes which emerged from the interviews with the women activists.  

Black women activists

Wednesday 10 July, 1-2pm
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts

Dr Panya Banjoko, founder of the Nottingham Black Archive, talks about Black women’s activism in the UK and highlights some of the women who feature in the Archive.


 Making misogyny a hate crime CANCELLED


No More Page 3 Campaign

Wednesday 24 July, 1-2pm
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts

Nottingham nurse, Lisa Clarke, will talk about her involvement in the national campaign of 2012 to 2015, which sought an end to The Sun’s use of photographs of topless women, which it had been publishing on the third page of its tabloid newspaper since 1970. 


Other events

Guided tours of the dear sisters exhibition

Free, advance booking required.

Thursday 16 May
Thursday 27 June

Weston Gallery

Join us for a guided walk through the exhibition and learn about the stories behind the items on display.

Please book all of these events through or call 0115 846 7777



Campaign corner

A corner of the Weston Gallery is being used to give updates of current campaigns which relate to the theme of the exhibition.

Campaign M: Launched in January 2024 as a series of Linkedin posts, this campaign published gritty, hard-hitting facts within a solemn narrative to highlight the darker and much less discussed sides of motherhood.

Get the latest updates

Follow Manuscripts and Special Collections Exhibitions on @mssUniNott to keep up to date with the latest exhibition news, or read the latest issue of our free magazine, Discover. If you would like to receive regular (monthly) updates on the Feminist Archive, contact us to join our Sisters and Supporters mailing list.


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651