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Read, Watch and Listen

Dream Time

“The more time you spend in ‘dream time’ living in your head where the story is, imagining how the people involved would feel – then you can lose yourself utterly in the story. That’s what I try to do.” Michael Morpurgo

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Kensuke's Kingdom

A young visitor to Seven Stories explores Michael’s notebooks for Kensuke’s Kingdom (1999), one of over 150 books Michael has written for children. Michael wrote the story after he received a letter from a fan asking him to write a story about a boy stranded on a desert island.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Michael and his illustrators

A Storycatcher engages with visitors in the Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime of Stories gallery. The exhibition has a section dedicated to illustrators of Michael's books, where artwork by Sir Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman and Patrick Benson is on display.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Michael Morpurgo

Award-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo visits the exhibition at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. AHRC Knowledge Transfer Partnership Research Associate Dr Jessica Medhurst has been exploring Michael’s archive and supporting Seven Stories’ curators.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Michael's orange notebooks

Orange school notebooks are an important repository for Michael's first ideas and drafts. On the cover of this Private Peaceful (2003) notebook, Michael notes how many words he's written each day as he develops the story.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Original manuscripts

Visitors have the opportunity to view handwritten drafts and typescripts from Listen to the Moon (2014), which tells the story of Lucy, a young girl who is washed up on the Scilly Isles during World War One, unable to speak. The novel explores the power of communication and the threat of silence.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

War Horse

Michael’s handwritten draft of Chapter 8 of War Horse (1982), on display for the first time in the Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories exhibition. The displays show how the story evolved from first draft to publication of the book, to adaptation for the National Theatre and Steven Spielberg film scripts.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Victoria Donovan, University of St Andrews

Victoria Donovan, based at the University of St Andrews, is a cultural historian of Russia whose research explores local identities, heritage politics, and the cultural memory of the Soviet past in twenty-first century Russia. Her new project explores patriotic identity in Putin’s Russia. She is also working on a project that looks at the connections between mining communities in South Wales and Eastern Ukraine.

Exeter Cathedral

Digital Photograph 2015

©Rose Ferraby

Huge clustered pillars of Blue Purbeck Marble support the famous Gothic vaulting of Exeter Cathedral. A stratigraphy of other Purbeck stones can be found reconstructed throughout the floor: Grub, Blue Bit, New Vein, Leining Vein. Names echo a quarrying history, and a unique knowledge of stone.

 

Nigeria - Ogaba region

Biafra conflict. Ogaba region. Fleeing fights, refugees flood the road from Aba to Umahia.

© ICRC / VATERLAUS, Max

Mass Rocks

Most people associate them with the Penal Laws. Some don’t notice them at all. But an AHRC-funded project has shown that Catholic Mass Rocks are an important emblem of Irish Catholic history.

Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews

Anindya Raychaudhuri is working on the way nostalgia is used by diasporic communities to create imaginary and real homes. He has written about the Spanish Civil War and the India/Pakistan partition and the cultural legacies of these wars. He co-hosts a podcast show, State of the Theory, and explores the issues raised by his research in stand-up comedy.

Christopher Kissane, London School of Economics

Christopher Kissane is a historian working on the role of food in history exploring what we can learn about societies and cultures through studying their diets, including what aubergines tell us about the changing tastes in food consumption. His book, which will be published later this year, examines food’s relationship with major issues of early modern society including the Spanish Inquisition and witchcraft.

Edmund Richardson, University of Durham

Edmund Richardson is working on a book about the lost cities of Alexander the Great and the history of their discovery by adventurers and tricksters rather than scholars. His first book was on Victorian Britain and the ‘lowlife’ lived by magicians, con-men and deserters. His latest project is on Victorian ghost-hunters and their obsession with the ancient world which led Houdini to fight against the con-artists making a fortune from fake ‘spirits’.

Katherine Cooper, University of Newcastle

Katherine Cooper is working on a project exploring the ways in which British writers including H.G.Wells, Graham Greene and Margaret Storm Jameson helped in the escape of fellow writers facing prosecution and imprisonment under fascist governments in the period between WW1 and WW2.

Leah Broad, University of Oxford

Leah Broad’s research is on Nordic modernism, exploring the music written for the theatre at the turn of the 20th century, taking her to Finland and Scandinavia to search out scores which have not been heard since the early 1900s. As a journalist Leah won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism in 2015. She is the founder of The Oxford Culture Review, a website communicating arts and humanities research and arts reviews.

Louisa Uchum Egbunike, Manchester Metropolitan

Louisa Uchum Egbunike’s research centres on African literature in which she specialises in Igbo (Nigerian) fiction and culture. Her latest work explores the child’s voice in contemporary fiction on Biafra. She co-convenes an annual Igbo conference at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) and delivers a workshop, ‘Rewriting Africa’ in secondary schools across London. She is curating a ‘Remembering Biafra’ exhibition to open in 2018.

Sarah Jackson, Nottingham Trent University

Sarah Jackson’s current research explores the relationship between the telephone and literature from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle to that of Haruki Murakami and why Sigmund Freud detested the telephone. The project involves research at the BT Archives which hold the public records of the world’s oldest communications company. She is also a poet whose collection Pelt won the prestigious Seamus Heaney Prize in 2012. She reads her poetry and fiction across the UK and USA.

Sean Williams, University of Sheffield

Sean Williams is currently writing a cultural history of the hairdresser from the 18th century to the present day exploring their role as ‘outsiders’ in society. As a lecturer at the University of Berne in Switzerland he taught German and Comparative Literature and wrote articles on flatulence in the 18th century and contemporary satires of Hitler.

Seb Falk, University of Cambridge

Seb Falk is a medieval historian and historian of science whose research centres on the scientific instruments made and used by monks, scholars and nobles in the later Middle Ages. His research has led him to make wood and brass models of the instruments he studies including the ‘equatorium’ and what it tells us about early scientific instruments. His new project will be an investigation of the sciences practised by medieval monks and nuns.

Manual marking the UK launch of 'Conovid'

A reworked booklet, focusing on patient FAQs, was circulated in October 1961, anticipating the Family Planning Association’s provision of ‘Conovid’ at select branches, and limited availability (subject to a fee) through the National Health Service. January 1961. Drug Reference Manual No. 85. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Superimposition of the newly emblematic round over a couple walking in the snow invokes the nascent role of pharmaceuticals as protectors of marital cooperation

Searle, facing imminent competition in the UK market, sought corporate synonymy with ‘the Pill’. “Conovid oral contraceptive. The responsible answer to a universal problem". Journal ad. [detail], Practitioner, January 1962. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Available through select Family Planning Association clinics from summer 1962, 'Anovlar' was heralded as the latest 'no-baby pill' in the press

Company literature, however, proclaimed a pro-baby function, by presenting ‘Anovlar’ as calendrical management tool for precision reproductive forecasting. 1963. Patient’s FAQ booklet. Pharmethicals [Schering] / 'Anovlar'. By kind permission of the Schering Archives, Bayer AG. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Metronomic and horological imagery was common in early Pill advertising

Here, a pendulum infers the rational march of Searle’s research, underpinning new ‘Ovulen’ as ‘the logical outcome of 11 years leadership in oral contraception’. However, mechanical analogies for contraceptive progress in what Marshall McLuhan called the ‘electric age’ were fast becoming outmoded. 1964. Physician's circular / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Journal insert from 'Practitioner'

This creative reminder-style advert imitates a skeletal molecular diagram in combination with the female gender symbol as visual shorthand for Searle’s alternative oral progestin, ethynodiol diacetate [‘Ovulen’]. The goal was an oral contraceptive universally “accepted by women of many different socio-economic and ethnic types”. June 1965. Die-cut bookmark [reverse] / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Alliance through contraception

“If the husband prefers to take charge and be responsible for birth control, he will want to use withdrawal or a sheath. If the wife takes the responsibility she has a wide choice. In either case the needs and views of the other partner will have to be considered”. 1966. Physician's circulars / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

A Somerset folksong, 'Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron' [c.1900] provides the hebdomadal basis for this mailing campaign.

With express reference to 21-day regimens, it is suggested that the domestic schedule of the sixties housewife might be matched to routine self-administration of oral contraceptives. 1966. Physician's circular, No.4 in a series of 7 / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

"Life is not restricted, but enriched".

This campaign utilises a contemporaneous resurgence in child psychology, marking the young, healthy multipara as facilitator of family well being; once enabled as a strategic contraceptor, pregnancies are viable and desired, and emotional privation is negated all round. 1966. Physician's circular, No.3 in a series of 4 / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Phase one of this campaign suggested that a housewife's hebdomadal domestic schedule could anchor the routine self-administration of oral contraceptives.

In these alternate instalments, figure and ground are reversed; "Thursday's girl has a full calendar, but she has less need for a calendar since taking her Norlestrin 21-tablet course”. c.1967. Physician's circulars / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Traditionally a manufacturer of spermicidal pessaries, Rendell proffered 'Norolen' (an 'Oral') via pseudo-pedagogic means: the discrete, quick-reference doctor's booklet, explaining different denominations of oral contraceptive.

"Properly kept, this hand-book should be of great assistance in enabling you to prescribe for your patients with minimal consultation". 1967. ‘Oral Control of Conception’ medical handbook / WJ Rendell, 'Norolen'. By kind permission of WJ Rendell Limited. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

The patient's first month: brochure, instructions, with glossy gatefold sleeve [pills not shown].

The patient’s first month: brochure, instructions, with glossy gatefold sleeve [pills not shown]. As advertised in journals, "This starter kit is a stopper. It stops ovulation. And it stops that wasteful drain on the doctor's time-over frequent calls for reassurance about disturbing side effects". 1967. Select collateral from 'Starter Kit' / Eli Lilly & Company, 'Sequens'. With the kind cooperation of Eli Lilly. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

"Now Women's Freedom is Complete"

Emancipatory accounts of the Pill’s envisioned impact had been cultivated through corporate literature since 1961, with the American Andromeda campaign [for ‘Enovid’]. This ‘Suffragette’ item anticipates the centrality of reproductive autonomy to second-wave feminists and the nascent Women’s Liberation Movement. 1967. Calendar for 1968 / Eli Lilly & Company, 'C-Quens 21'. With the kind cooperation of Eli Lilly. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Sorted.

“Little publicity, much less than it deserves, has been given to…(oral contraception) for the production of highly desirable and pleasant side-effects. These would include personal happiness of the patient, presumably from confidence in the future that the method affords…” Murphy, J.E. (1968) Clinical Trials Journal, 5, 143. 1968. Physician's circular / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

"Millions of women throughout the world accept and trust Ovulen 1mg"

Several oral contraceptive brands sought market differentiation by presenting motivational models of ideal end users in print campaigns, e.g. the affluent, white multipara. Here, typical racial typing is [ostensibly] reversed, and ‘Ovulen’ claims authority through universality as “The Accepted Contraceptive”. 1969. Physician's circular / Searle, 'Ovulen 1mg'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Mrs Everywoman's "Passport to Freedom"

Fanfare campaign announcing validation for the American brand ‘C-Quens 21’ in British trials. The modern British wife might now expect “freedom to plan her family as she chooses” but also “a very low incidence of depression and loss of libido”. 1969. Physician's circulars / Eli Lilly & Company, 'C-Quens'. With the kind cooperation of Eli Lilly. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

The Home Front 1

TASS Window 1115: 'A Sacred Duty', 22 December 1944. The leading Window for the Home Front theme on the website, this poster proclaims its message in the title.  The cavalry's ‘sacred duty’  is not so much a religious mission as an obligation to liberate fellow Russians and the common homeland. The poster combines traditional military equine painting with an all but cartoon approach to the rescued citizens, bottom right.