Mia Ridge and John McGoldrick in front of a banner on display at Leeds City Museum

Study Day: Living with Machines


02 December 2022

10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Venue Leeds City Museum

FREE – online event

The Living with Machines exhibition is a collaboration between Leeds Museums and Galleries, the British Library, and the Living with Machines research project. This study day is a unique opportunity to hear experts in the field illuminate key themes from the exhibition and learn how exhibition co-curators found stories and objects to represent research work in AI and digital history.

This study day is online via Zoom so that you can attend from anywhere. A link will be sent out with your e-ticket for the event.

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Emma Griffin, Professor of Modern British History, University of East Anglia

Emma is the author of several books on the industrial revolution and the history of women and family in Victorian Britain. She is also the editor of the Historical Journal, and the President of the Royal Historical Society.

Dr Gillian Cookson, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leeds

Gill is a specialist in the 18th and 19th-century history of mechanical engineering and textiles and industrial communities in northern England. She has written several books including The Age of Machinery: Engineering the Industrial Revolution, 1770–1850, and will speak on the subject of her next book, early machinery made in Leeds.

Dr Daniel Blackie, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University, Finland

Daniel Blackie is a disability historian and author (with David Turner) of Disability in the Industrial Revolution. He has worked on numerous public history initiatives aimed at raising awareness of disability history, including the award-winning ‘From Pithead to Sickbed and Beyond’ exhibition at the National Waterfront Museum, Wales, and the ‘Silent History of Disability’ project in Finland.

Dr David Turner

David Turner is a social and cultural historian, with expertise in disability, medicine, gender and the body. He is the author of Disability in Eighteenth-Century England: Imagining Physical Impairment, which won the Disability History Association Outstanding Publication Award, and Disability in the Industrial Revolution, co-authored with Daniel Blackie. He was Co-Director of Disability and Industrial Society: a Comparative Cultural History of British Coalfields 1780-1948. His current research explores the history of disabled people’s political activism in Britain since the eighteenth century. He is also a member of the Awen Institute, a £3.8 million project funded by the Wales European Funding Office, where he leads research on older and disabled people’s access to the arts and heritage.

Kitty Ross, Curator of Leeds History and Social History, Leeds Museums and Galleries

Kitty will explore what workers did in their free time, outside the factory walls.

Dr Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, British Library

Mia will discuss how the exhibition draws on themes from data science and digital history research on the Living with Machines project, and how online volunteers shaped the exhibition through crowdsourcing projects

John McGoldrick, Curator of Industrial History, Leeds Museums and Galleries

John will Join Mia in a Q & A session centring on the Living with Machines exhibition. The pair will discuss the how they transformed the Living with machines data science project, into a physical museum at Leeds City Museum.


10am: Welcome

10.15 – 11.15am: Living with Machines, project to exhibition Q and A – John McGoldrick and Mia Ridge

11.15 – 11.30am: Break

11.30am – 12.30pm: Disability, work, and activism in the Industrial Revolution – Daniel Blackie and David Turner

12.30 – 1.15pm: Lunch break

1.15 – 2.15pm: Working class lives and social history of industrialisation – Emma Griffin

2.15 – 3.15pm: Some Myths of Mechanization, and How Machine-Making came to Leeds – Gillian Cookson

3.15 – 3.30pm: Break

3.30 – 4.30pm: Free time during the Industrial Revolution – Kitty Ross

This event is linked to the current special exhibition in partnership with the British LibraryLiving with Machines: human stories from the industrial age.

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