Local sixth form pupils explore University’s unique archives
Local sixth form students were treated to an afternoon of hands-on research and immersive theatre as they explored the extraordinary archives of Rosey Pool.
The visit, organised by the University’s Widening Participation team, gave sixth formers from five local schools a chance to visit the campus as well as to gain an insight into American Studies as a degree subject.
This is also the first time that a school group have had the opportunity to view the University’s unique collection of documents collected by academic Rosey Pool.
A Holocaust survivor, Pool was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the US and was a pioneer in the field of African-American studies. She befriended leading African-American writers and amassed a significant collection of letters and other items.
Upon her death in 1971 Pool’s archive was donated to the University of Sussex and is now held at The Keep. During their visit, the students used items from the collection to find out more about Pool’s life.
“I really enjoyed walking around The Keep and seeing all the different items in the Rosey Pool collection” says Martha, a student from Sussex Downs College, Lewes. “All the different photographs were really fascinating.”
To bring their research at The Keep to life, the 16 and 17 year-olds also attended a special preview performance of Waves of One Sea: They Taught Me Laughing To Keep From Crying at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.
Artist Harold Offeh was joined by Sussex academics Dr Doug Haynes (American Studies) and Dr Joanna Pawlik (Art History), and former Sussex PhD student Diarmuid Hester (University of Cambridge) for an immersive theatrical talk on Pool’s life and archives.
The school pupils also had the chance to participate and were invited to interact with the performers throughout the show.
“We are delighted to have given the pupils the chance to experience something unique”, says Chris Mason, Academic Events Manager (Widening Participation). “Visiting the Rosey Pool archive and seeing today’s performance has given an opportunity to find out more about this fascinating person as well as experience some of what the University has to offer.”
The University’s Widening Participation team works with a network of around 80 partner schools, colleges and charities in London and the South-East to improve access to higher education for people from under-represented backgrounds.
In 2016-17, the University hosted over 500 events, campus visits and summer schools as part of its Widening Participation programme.