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  • University of Strathclyde

Working Lives in the Factories and Mills: Textile heritage of the factory workers

Exploring Britain’s Industrial Heritage

6,564 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

The course is important in that it will discuss the relationship between textile factory labour in the past and present, and specifically consider the uses of British industrial heritage in the present day. It will also teach students skills in historical, literary and genealogical research and provide opportunities for further engagement via events at the museums and contributions to ongoing research project

What topics will you cover?

  • Explore the range of activities involved in working in factories and mills in the long nineteenth century, and how these changed during the period covered by the course.
  • Assess representations of millworkers from this period, as well as writings by the workers themselves, and discuss how they relate to wider questions of class, gender, and professional identity.
  • Investigate how museums represent factory workers.
  • Locate material relevant to this field through online archives.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the range of activities involved in working in textile factories in the long nineteenth century, and how these changed during the period covered by the course.
  • Assess representations of working lives in textile factories and surviving texts and artefacts from the period, and discuss how they relate to wider questions of class, gender, and professional identity.
  • Compare written and oral material on workers’ lives within the appropriate historical and material contexts.
  • Engage online and other archives in order to locate material relevant to the history of textile factories and workers’ lives.

Who is the course for?

The target audience consists of members of the public with an interest in industrial history or heritage, or specific connections to mill-work (e.g. through family links). The secondary audience will be professionals working in or aiming to work in the heritage sector. The course will also appeal to students at school or university who have interests in the long Victorian period. Learners do not require prior experience or qualifications. Our museum partners have strong connections to local schools and communities, and through our partnerships with them we will have unique opportunities to advertise to wider local audiences.

Who will you learn with?

I am the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, and from 2018-22 have led the research project 'Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace.'

I teach English Literature at the University of Manchester and have an abiding interest in the culture and politics of the British Working Class Movement in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Who developed the course?

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, committed to useful learning.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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