Esther Johnson

A Share of a Pensioner's Christmas 'Bonus'


Output: Other

This body of work investigates a seldom-explored perspective of the 1984-1985 UK miners’ strike – the legacy of being involved from a child’s perspective. The research illuminates what it was like to grow up during the strike, and in particular, the public Christmas appeals for miners’ families. The primary research was undertaken in 5 archives, with the ‘Hilary Wainwright Papers’ held at the People’s History Museum (PHM) the core focus. Research field trips included: Durham Miners’ Institute; Durham Miners’ Gala; and Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign rallies. Oral testimonies were recorded with individuals connected with the strike, and Johnson created a photographic series highlighting personal Strike ephemera poignant to each interviewee.

The research was disseminated through multi-strand exhibitions including a poetic audio documentary; a photographic series; text; museum collection items; and artefacts from project contributors. The interaction of historical items with contemporary work providing a portal to stories of the past from the standpoint of the present.

The enquiry was part of collaborative ‘Echoes of Protest’ supported by PHM; National Coal Mining Museum for England (NCMME); and Art, Design and Media Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University.

The research premiered at PHM (5,712 visitors + launch event); with an extended exhibition at NCMME (160,44 visitors + launch event + symposium).

The co-authors created a distillation of the research with ‘The People’s Echo’, a newspaper free for NCMME visitors. A ‘Christmas Toy Appeal’ and ‘Christmas Wishes’ family workshop took place to inspire acts of generosity.

Additional dissemination includes: four conference/symposia; book chapter ‘Voices from the Strike’, in ‘Justice Denied: Friends, Foes and the Miners’ Strike’ (Merlin Press); and journal article ‘Echoes of Protest: untold stories of the 1984–1985 UK Miners’ Strike’ (Oral History, Spring 2017). The research has been reviewed in print and online. The audio documentary resides in the NCMME archive.

Research Output

Due to restrictions, this project does not have a full submission available to view. However, please feel free to check out other projects from this author.

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

Johnson approached researcher Deborah Ballin to commence a collaborative project looking at the legacy of being involved in significant protest movements from a child’s perspective. Following primary research, the decision was made to focus on the Christmas appeals made during the 1984-85 miners’ strike to provide a good Christmas for miner’s and their families.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

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Other Projects By

Esther Johnson