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The Uses of Literacy revisited – exhibition launch event, Sheffield

Posted on July 20 2017 in News & Updates

The launch of “The Uses of Literacy revisited: young people in Rotherham reimagine the future” exhibition was held at the Western Bank Library Exhibition Gallery, Sheffield on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

The exhibition, which runs until 9 September 2017, showcases the outcomes of the ‘Imagine’ project’s work in Rotherham with young people including art work and images of Rotherham that re-imagine what Rotherham could be. It also features the magical ‘ Grimm & Co’. literacy charity, and their work in Rotherham supported by the research of Professor Jane Hodson of the School of English.

The exhibition also draws on the archive of Richard Hoggart, author of ‘The Uses of Literacy’, which is held by the University of Sheffield Library. The exhibition explores his thinking on literacy in everyday life, and imagining better communities an important element in both research projects. Hoggart’s thoughts on community, working class identities and belonging are particularly relevant to Imagine.

“We shall not assess the possible effects of this process unless we have a firmer knowledge of ‘ordinary’ people’s lives, of the interaction of family, neighbourhood and the workplace relationship, of older and newer attitudes.” Richard Hoggart, A Sense of Occasion

The exhibits include documents and photographs from the life and work of Richard Hoggart and visual artefacts developed during the ‘Imagine’ project, including art work, poetry and photographs created by groups of young people in Rotherham and the Imagine project film which describes the overall project.

Grimm & Co. have brought a little of the magic from their shop in Rotherham, displayed alongside objects and stories produced by participants.

Commenting on the exhibition Professor Kate Pahl, Principal Investigator for the Imagine Project, said: “I am thrilled our work with the young people of Rotherham displayed here at The University of Sheffield’s Western Bank Library alongside the work of Richard Hoggart. The idea for this exhibition has been in development for many years and it is a fantastic to see this realised”.

Thanks to Anne Horn, Library Director, and Jenny Kirton for her work researching the Hoggart collection. Thanks also to the exhibition organisers Jacky Hodson and Andrew Moore and the contributors Deborah Bullivant, Zanib Rasool, Mariam Shah, Zahir Rafiq, Cassie Limb and Nathan Gibson.