The Ballad of Women in Print

Friday 20th May Chetham’s Library

We have some great speakers lined up for this event- including  Jenna Ashton and Hannah Allan from MMU, the folk singers Emily Portman and Jennifer Reid. Hannah PAdgett will be talking about Wife selling in 19thc street literature, and Stephen Basedo will be talking about presentations of Maid Marion. Tickets are £10 , or £5 for students, and can be booked here

The fourth ‘Women in Print’ event, hosted by Chethams’ Library and in association with Manchester School of art, presents a series of talks, printworks and performances investigating and celebrating the cultural agency women as subjects, performers, producers or peddlars of 19th and 20thc street literature. The day seeks to foreground the under researched contribution of women to print culture associated with the street, and also to interrogate the depiction of women in the street literature of this time- such as broadsides, ballad sheets, chapbooks, penny dreadfuls, periodicals, postcards and political pamphlets.

Street literature is a direct, if fragmentary, record of the lives and stories of the non elite, and its study enables us to hear the voices of those whose histories do not exist elsewhere. Street Literature in the 19th and 20thc was braided with earlier oral traditions of storytelling and communicating, speaking to varied audiences and generating communities of interest, and one of the aims of the day is to bring to life these multivaried texts through word, image and song.

Termagant and democratic itself, street literature offers up a model for constituting multidisciplinary ‘herstories’ from below, invoking radical subcultures of historical practices in the form of DIY print, oral history and performance, alongside traditional forms of scholarship.

Desdemona McCannon

Senior Lecturer Contextualising Practice – Manchester School of Art



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