About the Span Project

SPAN: a hands-on history project is a participatory research project that involves members of the public in researching and writing history. It is a collaboration between Barton Hill Settlement, the Feminist Archive South, and the University of Bristol, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Single Parent Action Network (SPAN) was formed in the 1990s by a group of Bristol women who wanted to support each other and make life better for single parents. Our aim is to tell their story.

We believe that it is important to bring new voices into the discussion of the past. This seems very important when writing the history of an organisation like SPAN, which included many working-class and black activists, and which put the experience of single parents at the heart of its work.

In year one of the project (April 2019-March 2020), a ‘history group’ will meet weekly at Barton Hill Settlement. Over the year, we will be learning about research, looking at the SPAN archive, talking to people who were there, and planning how to tell the story of SPAN. We hope to be ready to share our findings in the spring of 2020.

On this project, we are also interested in learning about how universities can work with members of the public and with the voluntary sector. How can we learn from each other, and can we draw on our different expertise to produce better research? We will be spending time in the second year of the project (April 2020-February 2021) reflecting and writing about these questions.