‘Represent’ – PHC launch new HLF funded project

We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded £36,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the impact of WW1 and the extension of the franchise on Birmingham’s politics.


Launch of ‘Represent’: a new community heritage project exploring the impact of WW1 and gaining the vote on the lives of Birmingham’s people has been awarded a £36,000 National Lottery grant.

The People’s Heritage Co-operative are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Represent’, which has been generously funded £36,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Over the next 18 months the People’s Heritage Co-operative will work with two community organisations in Birmingham to find out more about how the city’s people responded to the tumultuous events of the period following WW1.  The project will culminate in a touring exhibition.

The project launch, which will take place at the city’s Archives and Collections Service at the Library of Birmingham, coincides with the Centenary of first General Election to take place in this country where women were able to vote.  The People’s Heritage Co-operative will host a ’show and tell’ of some significant archives from the period alongside a selection of their work from previous projects.  This is an invite only event for project partners, supporters and press.

‘Represent’ focuses specifically on the impact and legacy in Birmingham of the ‘Representation of the People Act, 1918’. Extending the franchise in 1918 to include most men, and for the first time some women, had a radical impact on political representation, campaigning and the development of civic life in Birmingham. It was the beginning of an exciting era of ideas and activism. Coupled with the huge upheavals of the First World War and citizens’ responses to this, the post-1918 period of Birmingham’s history is rich with important stories which still have resonance today.

Working alongside The Active Wellbeing Society, the project will engage with members of the Saheli Hub and Edgbaston Community Centre. The project will focus both on women’s historic role as active citizens and historic housing campaigns.

Through exploring local archives and drawing on their own lived experiences, the groups will ‘re-present’ their archival research for new audiences through a new touring exhibition, co-created with local Artists, due to tour to leisure centres and other community venues in Summer 2020.

Corinna Rayner, Archives and Collections Manager at the Library of Birmingham is eager for new audiences to discover local archives.  

‘We are very keen here in Archives and Collections to work with new audiences to enrich their understanding of local heritage through the rich repository of material housed here.  ‘Represent’ has archives at its heart and I am very excited to see how the project’s participants interpret this material over the course of the project.’

Rachel Gillies, Represent’s Project Manager said:

‘As we commemorate the end of WW1 and mark 100 years since the first women were able to vote, we are curious to find out how people responded to the challenges and opportunities of the era.’

Karen Creavin, Chief Executive of The Active Wellbeing Society said:

The Active Wellbeing Society is really excited to be working with this People’s Heritage Co-operative project.  Active citizenship and an appreciation of the lessons history can teach us is at the core of the work that we do with some of the most vulnerable and deprived communities.  If we understand how we all came to be here, it can help us to understand what we have in common.  Understanding our past can provide ways to show how we can best live alongside each other in happy, healthy communities right now.  We are delighted to be part of this work and excited to bring this to our citizens.’


When: Saturday 15th December, 2:30pm

Where: The Wolfson Centre, Library of Birmingham, B1 2EA

Who: Rachel Gillies – Project Manager / Secretary of the People’s Heritage Co-operative


Notes to Editors

About The People’s Heritage Co-operative

The People’s Heritage Co-operative are a group of heritage professionals with a strong track record of delivering and supporting engaging and educational community heritage projects, including ‘Untold Stories: Birmingham’s Wounded Soldiers from WW1’and ‘Field of Remembrance’ with pupils at Paganel Primary School.  We aim:

  • To promote and raise awareness of people’s heritage
  • To contribute to community cohesion and increase understanding of our diverse heritage
  • To support our members to more effectively work with people to share our culture and heritage
  • To develop a network of supportive members, developing their practice by promoting collaborative work, increasing participation in exploring and interpreting Birmingham’s heritage through an open membership policy

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

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For further information, images and interviews, please contact

Rachel Gillies – – 07967 093 256