West Midlands Region

Recent Projects

Recent Research and Shared Learning projects

U3a in the Time of Corona
In April 2020, Subject adviser Jo Livingston and Jennifer Simpson, the then subject adviser and national coordinator for shared learning, began gathering diary entries from u3a members around the UK. This ‘Diary Project’ resulted in a book, ‘u3a in the Time of Corona’, drawn from members’ contributions describing what turned out to be the first lockdown in 2020. It includes efforts to get a supermarket delivery and how to manage without a haircut, as well as how our members filled all that spare time and tried to keep the u3a going. After the first print run sold out, a second printing has been done and can be bought for £10 from this link Diary Book

Our 1901 Postal Pensioners led by Kings College London
In October 2020, 47 U3A members from South West England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland started working towards a collective biography of 96 pensioners who retired from the Post Office in 1901, the first year that a full census is available for England, Scotland, and Ireland. Listen to the podcast Postal Pensioners Podcast on the British Association for Local History website, Series 1 episode 9. U3a get a great mention from 27 mins onwards!

The project began in October 2020 and finished in May 2021.
As well as leading, guiding and collating the research, the team from KCL also arranged a season of lunchtime talks for u3a members via Zoom. These talks were extremely well attended and greatly appreciated by u3a members.

Happiness across the Ages
Lessons and tips from a collaborative, intergenerational, interdisciplinary research project on happiness devised by Exeter University and Exeter u3a
As well as background and a description of the project, the booklet contains a useful toolkit that can be applied to all project planning and implementation

Download the Booklet Happiness Project

Guardian Foundation Pitman Diaries transcription project – from article by Margaret Derrick
The Guardian Shorthand Project officially finished at the end of 2020. It involved translating the shorthand diaries of the Guardian’s Africa Correspondent from the 1960s, which is a very specialised skill set! Despite the lockdown arriving in the opening months of the project, the u3a volunteers made great inroads into this area of research and many have decided to continue with it in their own right.

Cary Ellison Theatre programmes
Cary Ellison was a talent spotter who worked for Spotlight magazine and as part of his work he went on twice yearly tours of repertory performances around the country in order to find up and coming actors, directors and plays. The programmes of these productions, heavily annotated by Ellison, are now at Kingston University. U3a members researched the places visited by Cary Ellison around the UK and expanded the detail of Kingston’s contextual knowledge for the Cary Ellison collection.
The project went into hibernation in 2020. If you want further news about this or other theatre-studies related projects please email slp@u3a.org.uk
You can see the presentation about this project here Cary Ellison Theatre Project