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University author awarded National Life Stories fellowship to unearth unknown history of three Sussex creatives

Author and University of Chichester lecturer Suzanne Joinson [credit Simon Webb]

AUTHOR and University of Chichester lecturer Suzanne Joinson has been awarded a prestigious fellowship by National Life Stories at the British Library to unearth the little-known history of three Sussex artists.

Ms Joinson will research the legacies of Juliet Pannett, Ann Sutton and Barbara Mullins, all of whom have made significant contributions to the creative and artistic scene of the south of England and beyond.

The year-long Goodison Fellowship will give her access to the British Library’s oral history collections encompassing hundreds of National Life Stories (NLS) biographical recordings, including interviews with all three women.

Ms Joinson said: “Juliet Pannett, Ann Sutton, and Barbara Mullins were not household names by any means, but they all achieved significant professional success. I believe that in quiet, unsung ways, they have each left an impressive, potentially subversive artistic legacy that resonates today.

“My aim with this fellowship is to delve deep into the archives to celebrate the unique contributions of these impressive artists. I want to map how their individual stories and works link to a bigger cultural picture and I hope to showcase how the NLS collections are a tremendously impressive, unique resource.”

Recipients of the NLS Goodison Fellowship, awarded by National Life Stories at the British Library, are given a £5,000 bursary to increase public knowledge and awareness of oral history. Fellows receive unique access to the British Library’s oral history collections, amongst the largest in the world spanning many aspects of British life, work and culture.

Senior lecturer Ms Joinson, who teaches on the University of Chichester’s creative writing BA and MA courses, is herself an award-winning writer and frequent contributor to the New York Times and Guardian. Her novel, A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, was named as the Observer’s book of the year and translated into 16 languages.

Dr Rob Perks, Director of National Life Stories at the British Library, said: “This year’s selection panel for the 2020-21 National Life Story Goodison Fellowship had a tough task as there were so many strong applications and some great ideas to bring NLS’s amazing archive of biographical recordings to wider audiences.

“Suzy Joinson’s stood out for its clarity of purpose, focus, and the impressive array of outputs. Plus it draws on NLS interviews with three lesser-known women artists and craft makers connected to Sussex - Juliet Pannett, part of Artists’ Lives and Ann Sutton and Barbara Mullins from Crafts Lives - to explore how place and space, local and global, have been influences on their work.”

A blog written by Suzanne Joinson on the significance of creatives Juliet Pannett, Ann Sutton, and Barbara Mullins, as well as the Goodison Fellowship, can be read at https://blogs.bl.uk.

For more about Suzanne Joinson and the creative writing degrees she leads at the University of Chichester go to www.chi.ac.uk/creativewriting.

Alternatively find out more about the British Library and the work of its National Life Stories project at www.bl.uk/collection-guides/oral-history.