The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP) Archival Project

Photos by Jessica Pauszek

Project Partners: Jessica Pauszek, Steve Parks, Nick Pollard, Jeff Howarth, and the FWWCP/FED

The FWWCP Archival Project is an international alliance of scholars, community members, oral historians, librarians, activists, and students focused on preserving and circulating working-class histories. The project began over 10 years ago (see: Project History) to support collaborative writing projects linking UK residents, Syracuse residents, and US students from multiple locations.

Most recently, however, the FWWCP Archival Project involves the creation of print and digital archives of over 2,500 community publications, which explore working-class identity in connection to experiences of gender, vocation, race, immigration, language, and more. This part of the FWWCP Archival Project is housed at London Metropolitan University’s Trades Union Congress Library. With the support of the TUC, Syracuse University, and the FWWCP/FED, we have sorted, organized, and categorized over 40 years of the FWWCP’s history into an archive.

Of course, one of the greatest challenges of this work is making sure that it circulates — that the archival materials are used and studied. Therefore, we’ve developed the following projects to continue this work.

  • Pedagogical Opportunities: We have continuously looked to connect this archival work with pedagogical projects for students to explore the possibilities of writing connected to social and civic change.  This includes the creation of a WRT 301: Civic Writing study abroad course (hosted by Syracuse University in London), as well as the use of archival documents in writing classrooms within the United States. These courses produced three community publications created by students and community members (see: Pro(se)letariats; Preserving Hidden Histories; and Crossroads), undergraduate writing courses at Syracuse University and London. In 2012, the project received a CCCC Research Initiative grant to study how such work might support working-class students in freshman writing at Syracuse University, University of Akron, Long Island University – Brooklyn, and London Metropolitan University.
  • Digital Archive: In addition to the physical archive of texts at London Metropolitan University, we have created the FWWCP Digital Collection, which houses digitized versions of some of the community publications. Most importantly, this digital archive includes a searchable database that allows users to search the physical holdings by author; writing group; themes; regions, and more. In 2018, Jess Pauszek received a CCCC Emergent Researcher grant to develop the digital archive in connection with augmented reality. Currently, she is in the process of collecting interviews and creating “digital community tours” that connect the FWWCP community members’ histories with their publications and the physical spaces in which they were writing.