Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

Autumn 2014

25 November 2014, 4pm, Silverstone 317

Progressive/Traditional: Two sides of Boarding Schools - Judith Okely and Mikey Cuddihy discuss their memories of schooldays

Chair: Professor Sue Thornham

Mikey Cuddihy is an American born artist and writer. After the death of both her parents when she was nine, she was sent to England where she attended Summerhill, a small progressive school, run by A.S. Neill, in Suffolk. She left school at 16, and studied art, eventually settling in London. She recently wrote her memoir A Conversation About Happiness(published by Atlantic Books in 2014), based on her childhood, her time at Summerhill in the 1960s and early years as an artist. 

Professor Judith Okely is a Research Associate at the School of Anthropology, Oxford, and the author of The Traveller-Gypsies, Simone de Beauvoir: a re-reading, Anthropology and Autobiography and Anthropological Practice: fieldwork and the ethnographic method.  She recently revisited the all-girls boarding school she attended on the Isle of Wight. Aspects of this were explored in Own or Other Culture and subsequent publications, including ‘The filmed Return of the Natives to a Territory of Terror’. One lasting memory was being told by the headmistress that she would be ‘selfish’ to go to university because this would be ‘depriving a more worthy person of a place’.


7 October 2014, 5pm, Jubilee 144

Shivaun Woolfson: People, Places and Holocaust Objects

Dr. Shivaun Woolfson travelled to Lithuania to trace her ancestry and discovered the story of a people. Holocaust Legacy in Post- Soviet Lithuania: People, Places and Objects, the wonderful new book she has written about her experience, uncovers the lives of a remarkable group of elderly Holocaust survivors against a backdrop of ongoing Holocaust dismissal. She invites us to look through the lens of their stories and memories, their biographical objects and their ‘special’ places with deeply moving results. Incorporating psychology, anthropology and ethnography, the book has, at its core, a deeply spiritual approach which marks it out from conventional historical treatments of the subject. To launch the book, Shivaun will deliver a short presentation highlighting the remarkable histories of the individuals at the heart of her research, including slide-show, video clips and short readings from the text.

30 September 2014, 4pm, Jubilee 144

UK film première ‘With God Against Man’

‘With God Against Man’ is a new documentary film by Russian-American filmmaker Semyon Pinkhasov. Tracing the footsteps of the refugees of 1940, the film follows a group of families who received visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes – Portuguese consul in Bordeaux in June 1940 – on a June 2013 remembrance "journey on the road to freedom" from Paris to Lisbon. This documentary includes a lot of fresh archival footage of June 1940 and raises important questions about how, beyond public commemoration, the events of June 1940 remain for many an integral part of an intensely experienced private family memory.
This film screening was sponsored by the Sussex Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research with the support of the Centre for the History of War and Society and the Sousa Mendes Foundation.