Successful Public Meeting at The British Library

Jonathan Pledge introducing Anat Pick, Kim Stallwood, and Paula Sparks.

More than 50 people attended ‘The Fight for Animal Rights: Kim Stallwood in Conversation’ public meeting hosted by The British Library in London on Tuesday, 16 May. The live stream attracted 138 unique viewers in the UK, USA, Australia, Turkey, Ireland, Austria, and Israel.

Jonathan Pledge, Lead Curator in Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts, Politics and Public Life at The British Library, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the panel.

The chair was Anat Pick, Reader in Film at Queen Mary University of London and author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2011). The panel included Paula Sparks, Chair of the UK Centre for Animal Law and Visiting Professor in Animal Welfare Law at Winchester University, Jonathan Pledge, and myself.

We discussed the importance of the Kim Stallwood Archive and animal rights philosophy and strategies. Jonathan presented and discussed ten examples of leaflets, pamphlets, and magazines from the archive. After the panel discussion, we answered questions from people in the audience and online attendees.

Here’s some of the feedback I received after the event.

Excellent conversation, I thought. You all struck a nice balance between history and present, and the audience seemed well engaged.

I’ve known Kim personally for a long time and know how dedicated he is to the subject. I just wish he’d had more time to air his views.

Thoroughly enjoyed your evening at the British Library. We were pleased there were so many questions.

Congratulations – excellent discussion and landmark for animal rights. You should be proud of what you’ve achieved for the movement. Needs more recognition.

It was lovely and I enjoyed seeing Kim and your archive as the centre of well deserved attention. And, it was a trip down memory lane to see the early movement cartoons and graphics. I’d forgotten how amateurish we looked back then.

Well done this evening and pleased to hear you managed to discuss Topsy.

I enjoyed your conversation at the British Library; I thought it was very informative.

The British Library continues to host two animal-related exhibitions. In The Library’s Treasures Gallery that displays permanent exhibits, including the Magna Carta (1215) and William Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), there’s the display, Animal Rights: From the Margins to the Mainstream, which includes items from the Kim Stallwood Archive. This display is available to see until Sunday, July 9.

The major exhibit, Animals: Art, Science and Sound, is near The Library’s entrance. It is a superb collection of historical and contemporary works (books, manuscripts, art, recordings, etc.) of animals, birds, insects, and nature. This is available until Monday, August 28.

Screen shot of The British Library Social Science blog

The British Library invited me to write four guest posts for its Social Science blog. The first two on ‘Animals and feminism: readings on the intersection of oppression’ and ‘Animals and the climate emergency: readings on the global impact of industrial animal agriculture’ are available to read. The remaining two will be published in June and July.

In addition to my work preserving the history of the animal rights movement with The British Library, I’m also a consultant with Tier im Recht, the Swiss-based charity working in animal law. TIR’s Zurich office has a significant library of books and other materials on animals, including the Kim Stallwood Collection. I will be working with TIR in Zurich on July 2-7.