Invited Talk: Woman’s Weekly & Working Women (20 Jan 2021)

Keeping up appearances in the workplace: Woman’s Weekly and working women, 1918-1919

Dr Eleanor Reed (NTU)

English Research Seminar Series

Time: 13.00-14.00 (GMT)

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Duration: 60 mins (40 mins – talk, 20 mins – Q&A)

How to Join: Email to request a joining link

This talk shares material from Dr Ellie Reed’s forthcoming monograph, Making Homemakers: how Woman’s Weekly shaped lower-middle-class domestic culture in Britain, 1918-1958. Based on her 2018 PhD thesis, this book – the first ever depth study of a single UK domestic magazine – will map the distinctively lower-middle-class domestic culture produced by the publication during a period of turbulence within Britain’s class system, and showcase a new methodology for surveying periodicals of this kind within the wider literary field. Close reading samples of Woman’s Weekly taken at ten-year intervals alongside other domestic titles and fiction, this methodology positions the publication within wider public-sphere discourses surrounding femininity, which evolved throughout the period.  

Between 1918 and 1958, Woman’s Weekly targeted full-time housewives and clerical workers, who, it assumed, were unmarried and aspired towards full-time housewifery. The magazine’s treatment of these working readers during the year immediately following the end of the First World War is the focus of this talk. Surveying careers advice columns, office conduct features, and workplace romance fiction from issues of Woman’s Weekly published between November 1918 and November 1919, alongside novels by Dot Allan and E. M. Delafield, Ellie will explore how the publication engaged with contemporary concerns about typists, and addressed a working readership anxious to preserve middle-class standards of conduct. Underpinning the magazine’s construction of lower-middle-class lifestyles and identities for its working readers are broader issues of class: the lower middle classes’ distinctive anxiousness to distance themselves from working-class culture, and upper-middle-class concerns that their own position was under threat from the ambitious, upwardly mobile lower middle classes.

Invited Talk: ‘Yearning for unity’… (10 Dec 2020)

‘Yearning for unity’: The Idealist Visual Culture of Modernist Magazines

Dr Tim Satterthwaite (University of Brighton)

Time: 16.30 (GMT) on Thurs, 10 December 2020

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Duration: 75 mins (including 30 mins Q&A)

How to join: Email to request a joining link.

The PPCRG is delighted to welcome Dr Tim Satterthwaite (University of Brighton) as the second invited speaker this term in our 2020-21 New Directions Series. The series focuses on exchanging and developing methodologies across disciplines in periodicals and print cultural research.

Hosted online, this occasional series of talks is free and open to all.

For this second talk in the series, Tim will discuss pattern theory as a means of understanding the cultural symbolism of the regularity and repetition of images in interwar magazines. The talk will be chaired by PPCRG member, Dr Hui-ying Kerr, a design practitioner turned design historian and Senior Lecturer in Product Design at NTU.

A recording of the talk is now available:

Dr Tim Satterthwaite, PPCRG New Directions (10 December 2020)


The new popular magazines of the 1920s traded in images of an idealised modernity, promising motorised leisure, scientific progress, and social and sexual emancipation. Whilst the components of this modernist ideal varied from title to title, its common principle was one of tolerance: the reconciliation, or mutual co-existence, of opposing forces, ideologies, and traditions. The defining question, captured in photo-stories on technology, architecture and the natural world, and in images of youthful, sunlit bodies, concerned the nature of modern society: how could individuals, and nations, learn to live together, and avoid a return to civil unrest and the catastrophe of war.

Tim Satterthwaite’s newly published book, Modernist Magazines and the Social Ideal (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a pioneering history of these periodicals, focusing on two of the leading European titles: the German monthly UHU, and the French news weekly VU, taken as representative of the broad class of popular titles launched in the 1920s. The book explores, in particular, the striking use of regularity and repetition in photographs of modernity, reading these repetitious images as symbolic of ideals of social order in the aftermath of the First World War. Introducing a novel methodology, pattern theory, the book argues for a critical return to the Gestalt tradition in visual studies. Interwar visual culture, in this reading, employed pattern as a cultural signifier: the spectacular and submerged pattern forms of magazine images reveal ‘a symbolic resonance, an impress of their cultural intention’.

This talk will outline the principles of pattern theory, and describe how these are applied, in Modernist Magazines, to the critical reading of photographs and page layouts.

Capturing repetitious and regular forms in both the manmade and natural world, the visual symbolism of interwar magazines embodied the contrasting ideals of technological and organic modernism.

About the Speaker:

After completing a BA in English at the University of Oxford, Tim Satterthwaite had a first career as a theatre practitioner and editor. In 2009, he enrolled on an MA History of Art at University of Sussex, graduating with distinction. He took his doctorate, on an AHRC scholarship, at The Courtauld Institute of Art, completing in 2016. Since then he has taught on History of Art and Design programmes at the University of Brighton, as associate lecturer at Middlesex University, and as summer school tutor for Courtauld Public Programmes. He was the organiser and co-director of Future States (University of Brighton, March-April 2020), a pioneering nearly carbon-neutral conference (NCNC) on the history of magazines. Modernist Magazines and the Social Ideal, based on his doctoral study of interwar periodicals, is his first book. Current projects include a special issue of the Journal of European Periodical Studies for which he is guest editor; a proposed edited volume, Magazines and Modern Identities, is currently under peer review.

Please circulate our event poster widely:

Invited Talk: Print, Plastic, Panorama (25 Nov 2020)

Print, Plastic, Panorama: The Empress of Britain Fashion Story, 1956

Professor Faye Hammill (University of Glasgow)

Time: 16.00 (GMT)

Date: Weds, 25 November 2020.

Duration: 60 mins (30 min talk, 30 min Q&A)

Venue: Microsoft Teams

How to Join: Email to request a joining link.

The PPCRG is delighted to welcome Professor Faye Hammill (University of Glasgow) as the first speaker in our 2020-21 New Directions Series.

Our New Directions series of invited guest speakers for 2020-21 will focus on exchanging and developing methodologies across disciplines in periodicals and print cultural research. Hosted online, this occasional series of talks is open to all.

For this first talk in the series, Faye will discuss print mobilities on ocean liners and plastic in print as a method for interpreting the relationship between   domesticity and mobility in mid-twentieth century magazines.

A recording of the talk is now available:

Professor Faye Hammill, PPCRG New Directions (25 November 2020)


The Canadian Home Journal was a successful women’s monthly published from 1905 until 1958. As the title suggests, its content was domestic in two senses: the focus was on home and nation. Yet the magazine consistently engaged with themes of mobility. During the final decade of its run, the jet age had arrived, but the age of the ocean liner was not yet past. Car ownership was on the increase, though railway trips were still heavily promoted. These forms of transport compete for attention in the pages of the Journal. This talk presents a case study of the May 1956 issue, which documents a fashion event set on Canadian Pacific’s new transatlantic liner. “The Empress of Britain Fashion Story” is about design and commerce, glamour and novelty – and above all, it is about plastic. From synthetic fibres to camera film, from cellophane wrapping to laminated panels, plastics feature on almost every page of the issue. Presented as the ultimate domestic product, plastic is simultaneously used to evoke panoramas of travel. This talk explores plastic in print, as a way to understand the larger dynamic between home and mobility in mid-century magazine culture.

About the Speaker

Faye Hammill is a Professor in the School of Critical Studies at Glasgow University. She works on early and mid-twentieth century literature and print culture in a transatlantic frame. Faye is the author of six books, most recently Modernism’s Print Cultures, with Mark Hussey (2016) and Magazines, Travel and Middlebrow Culture, with Michelle Smith (2015). In 2008, she set up the AHRC Middlebrow Network, which now has over 400 members. Her current project is on ‘Ocean Liners and Modern Literature’.

Please circulate our event poster widely:

Invited Talk: Eaton Family (24 Jun 2020)

‘The Eaton Family in Geographic, Print Cultural and Digital Space: Sui Sin Far, Onoto Watanna, and more’

Dr Mary Chapman (University of British Columbia, Canada)

PPCRG Online Research Seminar

Time: 17.00 (BST) on Weds, 24 June 2020

Venue: Microsoft Teams

How to join: This event is free and open to everyone. To sign up, email

We are delighted to host Dr Mary Chapman (University of British Columbia) as the first speaker in the Periodical and Print Culture Research Group’s (PPCRG) occasional seminar series at Nottingham Trent University. This seminar is a live online event.

A recording of the talk is now available:


In the first half of this presentation, Dr Chapman will outline her current research: a microhistory of the Eaton family, one of North America’s first Chinese families. Deploying Lisa Lowe’s concept of the ‘Intimacies of 4 Continents’, she will acknowledge their participation in the work of the British Empire in Asia, North America and the Caribbean. Her project hopes to trace the circuits of print culture in which daughters Edith Eaton (who wrote under the Chinese pseudonym ‘Sui Sin Far’) and Winnifred Eaton (who wrote under the faux-Japanese pseudonym ‘Onoto Watanna’) participated. She will explore how these print cultural networks mirror, in interesting ways, the global circuits of migration that their parents—mui tsai and travelling acrobat Grace Achuen Amoy Eaton and British silk-merchant-turned-human-trafficker Edward Eaton—participated in.

Dr Chapman will discuss how her biographic research informs bibliographic/recovery work and vice versa. The talk will survey the periodicals and print culture in which Edith and Winnifred participated, in terms of subgenre, nation, aesthetic, and politics to consider how these two racialized authors positioned themselves variously within the imagined communities of these periodicals: as white, as Chinese, as Japanese, and as unspecified ‘other’.

The second half of the presentation will focus on the Winnifred Eaton Archive website, which interested participants are invited to peruse in advance. Dr Chapman will address the technical challenges both of DH more broadly (sustainability, infrastructure, expertise) and of the WEA project more specifically (how to organize texts given her diverse oeuvre, the variety of her author positions, pseudonyms, geographies, genres, aesthetics, and politics). She will conclude by looking at some topical texts from the site.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

About the Speaker:

Dr Mary Chapman is Professor of English and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at the University of British Columbia. She specializes in American literature and transnational American Studies, suffrage literature and activism, women’s poetry, periodicals, digital humanities, and public humanities.

About the PPCRG:

The Periodicals and Print Culture Research Group (PPCRG) is located in the English department at Nottingham Trent University and co-directed by Dr Catherine Clay and Professor Andrew Thacker. The group aims to develop work on the study of periodicals and print culture, from the nineteenth century to the present. It is concerned with the material culture of periodicals alongside books, newspapers, pamphlets, comics, zines, and other forms of print ephemera, along with the digital manifestations of these objects.

Please share the poster for the event with anyone who may be interested.

Talk: Modernist Bookshops (13 May 2020)

Professor Andrew Thacker, ‘”This owner, that”: Shakespeare and Company and the Rebuilding of the Modernist Bookshop’

Colleagues are warmly invited to the second of NTU’s spring series of English Research Seminars (ERSS) on Wednesday 13th May at 1pm.

This week’s format is slightly different in that colleagues have access to a paper beforehand, and chance to listen to the paper and reflect before a 30-40 minute online discussion on Wednesday at 1pm. In the ERSS 2020 Teams room, files section, you will find a PowerPoint presentation and transcript of a new paper by Professor Andrew Thacker, titled ‘”This owner, that”: Shakespeare and Company and the Rebuilding of the Modernist Bookshop’. Please note that to hear the audio commentary you will need to download the PowerPoint presentation. You can access the seminar at 1pm on Wednesday by entering the ERSS 2020 room. Please feel to share the invitation with colleagues outside of the department who might be interested, and your research students.

PPCRG Project Launch (4 March 2020)

The Project Launch Event of the Periodicals and Print Culture Research Group (PPCRG) will take place on Wednesday, 4th March from 4.30-6.30pm on the ground floor of the Mary Ann Evans building (MAE007 and MAE008) on NTU’s Clifton campus.

Following an opening address, the launch will provide an informal opportunity to engage with colleagues’ shared research interests in periodical culture. It will be followed by a wine reception.

We invite interested parties who work in related areas to bring an object that reflects their research interests. Potential items may include, but are not limited to:

  • periodicals
  • books
  • newspapers
  • pamphlets
  • comics
  • zines
  • pamphlets
  • miscellaneous print ephemera
  • digital manifestations of these objects 

The aim is to produce an impromptu exhibition of periodicals and related ephemera (or digital/photographic representations thereof) and to use this as a ‘talking point’, through which we can begin to have meaningful conversations about colleagues’ shared or overlapping research interests. You’ll be invited to draw up a museum label in situ that introduces your item for display.

If you are interested in joining us, please email by Monday, 24th February for catering purposes.

We aim to recruit members on the basis of shared research interests, regardless of disciplinary perspective, career or project stage. Those new the field, but interested in developing research in this area, are also welcome. Please share this invitation further to colleagues working in related fields of whom we may not already be aware.

Periodicals and Print Culture Research Group (PPCRG),

Dept. of English, Communications and Philosophy,

Nottingham Trent University.