Mission:
Since 1972 QueenSpark Books has been dedicated to gathering, preserving and making accessible Brighton & Hove’s histories. We do this through publishing oral histories or creative responses to local history, via books, e-books, exhibitions, events, websites and other projects.

Vision:
To inspire and involve residents of Brighton & Hove – particularly people who are seldom heard – to share and preserve their stories in an artful and accessible way; engaging the wider community in understanding those stories.

QueenSpark Books values:

  • The importance of sharing diverse social histories in order to facilitate greater understanding and inclusion
  • The importance of art and heritage in the creation of community identities
  • The principal of non-profit making in the sharing of people’s stories and the reinvestment of any surplus into the telling of further stories
  • The importance of engaging people and communities who are seldom heard in quality arts & heritage projects
  • A commitment to equality and diversity in our work practices and outputs

Aims:

  • Recording the oral histories of residents and communities and preserving, sharing and archiving those stories; both in print and digitally
  • Publishing a range of high quality books, ebooks, photographs and other material about the social and community history of Brighton & Hove
  • Facilitating collaborative projects between residents and organisations by providing education, training events and mentoring in heritage and publishing
  • Bringing Brighton and Hove’s history to a wider audience
  • Providing consultancy to others wanting to develop heritage and / or publishing / arts projects

The QueenSpark Management Committee directs QueenSpark’s activities.

It meets monthly (on the last Wednesday of every month) at the University of Brighton. Whilst the mix of the group is constantly changing, it always includes some very skilled and knowledgeable people. We encourage new members to join in the organisational development of QueenSpark Books.

Dr Gerry Holloway Eileen Yeo

A current member to be voted onto the Committee is Dr Gerry Holloway, (shown here on the left) with Eileen Yeo, one of the very first members of the Committee in the 1970s.

Please email: admin@queensparkbooks.org.uk to find out more.

Members of the Management Committee:

Melita Dennett  (Director and Chair)
Broadcaster and radio skills trainer.
Frank Flood  (Director and Company Secretary)
Film fanatic who created the popular compilation of Brighton footage screened at the 40th Anniversary fundraiser
Gerry Holloway  (Director)
She was senior Lecturer in Life History and Women’s Studies at the University of Sussex until 2010, she taught on the MA in Life History Research and the BA in Cultural Studies for many years.
Esther Gill  (Director)
Brighton-based consultant specialising in supporting heritage and arts organisations to build their audiences, to engage people with their work and to explore new ways of sharing heritage.
Helen Walker
Kerry Boettcher

These people also contribute to the monthly committee meetings and organisational development in an advisory capacity:

Patrons
Margaretta Jolly  (University of Sussex)
Dr Dorothy Sheridan  (Mass Observation Archive)

Freelance staff:
John Riches  (Development Director) who has 20 years experience in leading large-scale projects for award-winning community arts companies and national organisations. Since 2004 he has overseen the rejuvenation in QueenSpark’s programme, concentrating on the strategic development of the company’s profile and output, and leading new project ideas and publications.

Sarah Hutchings  (Creative and Marketing Director) who has over ten years experience in literature and reading promotion including the project management of several high profile literature schemes both national and regional. She is also the Artistic Director at City Reads, Brighton and in the past was Children’s Literature Programmer at Brighton Festival.

Nicola Benge  (Administrator) who is the Creative Director of the arts and heritage organisation, Strike a Light. She has worked on many creative heritage projects for organisations such as English Heritage, WRVS, Age Exchange, and Creative Partnerships.

Catherine Geeson – who keeps the finances in order!

QueenSpark is a partner of the University of Brighton. We contribute ideas and content to a number of courses and work on joint projects; we gratefully acknowledge the support – in office space and facilities – offered by the University.

QueenSpark Books is largely driven by project funding from publicly funded bodies such as the Arts Council UK and The Heritage Lottery Fund.

We continue to receive some core funding from Brighton & Hove City Council via the Three Year Discretionary Grant Programme.

Royal Pavilion, Museums & Libraries
QueenSpark has collaborated with staff from the Royal Pavilion, Museums & Libraries, Brighton & Hove on many projects over the years, and we continue to value their advice and support.

We would also like to thank them for allowing us to reproduce photographs in our books, calendars, and on the website.

University of Sussex
QueenSpark has a long-standing association with the University of Sussex, particularly its Centre for Life History Research and the Mass Observation Archive.

Dorothy Sheridan

Patron: Dorothy Sheridan
Dorothy first became involved with QueenSpark Books in its early years, and was a member of its management committee from 1996 to 2010.

Dorothy past experience was with the research organisation, Mass Observation at the University of Sussex as it’s first archivist. She has also designed and directed the national everyday writing project and has taught and lectured nationally and internationally; her special interests are women’s diaries and life story research.

Dorothy received an MBE in 1991and an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2007; is a Fellow and Honorary Professor at the University Sussex and a Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton. She is now retired but continues to write and research. She is a Trustee of the MO Archive and a Trustee of the National Life Story at the British Library.

Email: D.E.Sheridan@sussex.ac.uk

Margretta Jolly

Patron: Margretta Jolly
Academic and oral historian, Margaretta first discovered QueenSpark Books in the 1990s and has been a fan ever since.
Her own Sussex roots have drawn her to many of the deep stories of class, community and queer history that QueenSpark uncovers in its unique publications. As a scholar and oral historian, she also values its creative publications in life narrative.

Margaretta is Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex and Director of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research which has worked with QueenSpark Books in university-community events over the last 15 years.

Email: M.Jolly@sussex.ac.uk

Opportunities and activities with QueenSpark Books

We often have projects and events taking place at QueenSpark Books which have availability, support and training for new volunteers in a variety of areas.

We are currently working with volunteer artists and writers on our current Brighton’s Graphic War project which involves training and events.

Here is one example of what volunteers can be involved with..  QueenSpark volunteers interviewed the fascinating clientele attracted to the Pavilion Gardens Café. Over subsequent months more volunteers wrote up these interviews and some featured in our book Teatime Tales, alongside memories and photographs from the Sewell Family who have owned and run The Café since the 1930s.

To find out about current volunteer opportunities..
Please contact QueenSpark’s Administrator:
admin [@] queensparkbooks.org.uk

Flash Mob QueenSpark Books