Ethel on International Women’s Day (via the Rebel Pen Club)

A Week in Lancashire Part Two

PhD researcher and Radicals collaborator Jenny Harper had a very busy week on her first study visit to Lancashire.  It started with a delve into some precious public collections, which you can read about HERE, followed by a rather special ride on a charabanc!

My packed week of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth-related activities continued with a ride on a charabanc (vintage bus) arranged by cultural partner Mid Pennine Arts through its Pendle Radicals project. PhD work isn’t just about archival research, it also involves connecting with a wider research community, and learning from existing experts in the field. The charabanc event was a great opportunity to do this. The tour marked International Women’s Day on March 8th and was a day-long celebration of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth’s work and life, including visits to many of the locations across East Lancashire (and a bit of Yorkshire), that were of importance to her.

Read more on the Pendle Radicals, Rebel Pen Club blog.

MPA Welcomes New Trustees

At the end of last year our existing trustees decided that, in order to best equip MPA to meet the demands of coming out of the pandemic, we needed to reinforce our governance.

Using an open call for new trustees, we conducted a recruitment process in early 2022. We were delighted with the response. From 14 submissions, we interviewed a shortlist of six.

Having set a target of up to three new members, our panel decided to recommend four immediate additions, who have all now been appointed to the MPA Board. Together, they complement the existing trustees and add immeasurably to the collective capabilities of the Board.

Lesley Giddins is based in Rossendale and has worked in the public and private sectors, specialising in community engagement, equality and diversity and employability. She has managed her own company for 12 years, working with major corporates across the UK. She is an experienced trustee, leading on governance and safeguarding, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Lesley has worked with major corporate clients to develop community public arts projects concentrating on community engagement, is an advocate for the arts and a very enthusiastic football supporter.

Chris Moss is a writer and editor. He writes for national newspapers and regional publications, and has held several editing roles including books editor at Time Out, London. He spent the Nineties in Buenos Aires, working for a local daily and teaching English literature and drama. In 1999, he co-founded an Argentine street paper in collaboration with Big Issue. He has also taught in Nelson and at Morley College. He was born in South Lancashire and lives just north of Pendle Hill.

Kelda Savage is based in South Manchester and works for the National Trust across the Lancashire portfolio of properties including Gawthorpe, Rufford Old Hall and Formby. She was the first Cultural Programme Coordinator for the Trust from 2016-2021 supporting all of the NW properties with their visitor programming and external partnerships. Kelda has an MA in Critical Histories of the Visual Image and a BA(Hons) in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern. She has been a Curator, Producer and Project Manager of creative and cultural programmes for most of her career. She has worked with Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Waterside Arts, Manchester International Festival and Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. She was previously a Board Trustee for Hot Bed Press in Salford.

Faye Wetherall brings us our first under 30 trustee. A recent graduate from the University of Leeds in Art and Design, Faye has previous experience of working for MPA having supported many of our current projects during her Year in Industry. During this time Faye worked alongside and supported partners, volunteers and project leaders developing an understanding for MPA’s body of work and a passion for making arts accessible. Being a keen traveller with a desire to immerse, Faye has a lot of energy to bring to the team and a vast visual perspective.

They join our existing Board, chaired by Dr Stephanie Hawke. Steph’s doctorate in interpretation of heritage has been influential in honing MPA’s approach to placemaking and spirit of place, issues which are fundamental to our creative programme. Her own work as a senior manager for the bridge organisation Curious Minds also benefits us through access to a regional overview of issues around cultural education. Creative placemaking specialist Claire Tymon brings a wealth of invaluable experience of culture-led urban renewal, and is currently engaged on programme design for the shortlisted County Durham City of Culture bid. Independent curator Fareda Khan FRSA brings an exceptional CV of promoting and supporting south Asian artists and partnership links to the sub-continent. Rossendale councillor Andy Macnae, through his borough work and his own consultancy, is a specialist in outdoor pursuits, destination development and recreation management. Amber Corns brings much experience of the private sector, business networking and marketing. Peter Kenyon, former council cabinet member and constituency election agent, brings vast experience of local democracy and council finance.

You can read more about them on our website.

Ethel and the Archives (via the Rebel Pen Club)

A Week in Lancashire Part One

PhD researcher and Radicals collaborator Jenny Harper had a very busy week on her first study visit to Lancashire.  It started with a delve into some precious public collections.

As part of a packed week of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth-related activities, I ventured deep into the library archives of Manchester and Bolton. In carrying out my six-year PhD project on Ethel, I’m always seeking to dig deeper, to find out where new connections can be made, and to thus bring Ethel into sharper focus.

Read more about Jenny’s visits to the John Rylands Library, Working Class Movement Library and Bolton History Centre in our Pendle Radicals blog.

Selina at the Unity (via the Rebel Pen Club)

In autumn 2021, many of our Radicals contributors joined the celebration events for the delayed and much-anticipated launch of the Selina Cooper project at Nelson’s Unity Hall. Selina at the Unity has now been featured in the North West History Journal. Kevin Webb, one of the prime movers behind this lovely project, gave us this recap on how it all came about. Read the full article on our Rebel Pen Club blog.

Weaving a Way Back to Ethel (via the Rebel Pen Club)

The latest turn in our collective exploration of the great Ethel Carnie takes MPA and Pendle Radicals into uncharted territory.  We embark on that rare thing – a collaborative doctorate, with MPA as the non-academic partner – and we welcome the new PhD candidate who was awarded the opportunity.  Jenny Harper introduces herself and the personal history that ties her to the mill working milieu that Ethel writes so powerfully about in the latest Pendle Radicals blog.


My grandfather Neville Hartley worked all his life in the Jimmy Nelson Cotton Mill in the town of Nelson, starting in 1930 at 14 as a half-timer, and taking early retirement at the age of 62. Apart from occasional holidays, his only real break from the mill came when he served in the Manchester Regiment during WW2 (pictured). He saw huge changes in that time.

Click HERE to visit the Rebel Pen Club page to read the rest of Jenny’s blog.