‘Represent’ explores the impact of gaining the vote and WW1 on the lives of Birmingham’s people.
‘8,000,000 New Men and Women Voters!’ declared the papers in December 1918. The decades long struggle for Universal Suffrage saw a major victory as the first women were able to vote and stand in elections under the ‘Representation of the People Act 1918’.
The end of WW1 brought huge challenges. Four years of fighting had seen massive political and social upheaval across the world. In Birmingham, soldiers returned from battlefields carrying their wounds and their hopes for a better life in peacetime. Women who had filled factories found their skills no longer needed. Adequate housing and secure employment were hard to come by.
How did Birmingham’s people respond to these challenges and opportunities? What was the impact on political representation, campaigning and the development of civic life in Birmingham? What lessons can we learn from these struggles today?
Represent is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project, examining these questions through archival research, co-learning and creative responses with community participants. It is supported by The Active Wellbeing Society and the Library of Birmingham’s Archives and Collections service.