For the past three weeks, 7 students from Syracuse University, as well as the University of Rochester and Carnegie Mellon University have been visiting the TUC library to work with the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP) Collection. The TUC acquired this collection from long-time FWWCP member and lecturer Nick Pollard just under a year ago. The FWWCP began in 1976, after 8 groups from across England gathered for a reading of their creative work and formed this network of writing and publishing groups, focused on providing a space that was accessible for working-class people to share their writing.
The Syracuse students were taking a Civic Writing course, taught by Jess Pauszek, through Syracuse’s London Campus, Faraday House. During this course, the students have visited the FWWCP collection and have indexed over 1,000 FWWCP publications into regions throughout the United Kingdom, as well as international locations. In addition to this work, the students had the opportunity to meet former FWWCP members, attend writing workshops with ongoing community writing groups (such as the Newham Writers Workshop and Stevenage Survivors who are now part of an offshoot organization called TheFED), and meet previous FWWCP members to learn about the organization’s history from multiple perspectives. While many students had not visited London before, they stated that they now have a new sense of history from these community writers and the stories they shared. They were also able to have a hands-on experience with being part of documenting, preserving, and even participating in this rich history of working-class writing.
Last week we held two meetings with former members of the FWWCP to discuss a possible digitisation and oral history project. We’d like to thank all those that attended and hope to meet with those that couldn’t make it. The students also had a chance to meet them.