MA Student Angela List-Evans works with Ormesby Hall to uncover Boosbeck Furniture
MA Design History Student Angela List-Evans, from Marske, is collaborating with National Trust property Ormesby Hall on an exciting research project to explore and document the histories of the Boosbeck Furniture Social Enterprise scheme founded by the historic Pennyman Family.
This exciting research project combines creativity, enquiry and local history with collaboration. Giving us insight into what it’s like to actively research and study on our MA programme here at The Northern School of Art. We caught up with Angela to find out more about this exciting project, read on to find out more!
Tell us about your Boosbeck research project?
My project centres on the Boosbeck furniture social enterprise scheme, founded by the Pennyman family of Ormesby Hall in the 1930’s, whose aim was to alleviate the poverty of the out of work ironstone miners of East Cleveland during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
You are currently working with Ormesby Hall how did you start collaborating with them and what work are you doing there?
I started volunteering at Ormesby Hall during the Summer after I graduated from The Northern School of Art with a BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design, and I currently work with the Conservation Team in House and Collections a couple of times a week. Spending time at Ormesby Hall getting up and close to the collections and seeing behind the scenes gives me valuable insight into the workings of a Heritage Property. I also get to see collection pieces not on show to the public.
When I started my MA in Design History, the first module was about Theories and Methods and involved curating a collection. Being at Ormesby Hall, gave me the ideal opportunity to engage with the Boosbeck Furniture collection that is housed there in storage. The connection with the East Cleveland ironstone miners is also a personal one to me as there have been several generations of ironstone miners and steel workers in my family and local industry has played an important part in my family’s life.
Out of the many social enterprise schemes that were meant to help the miners in East Cleveland, the Boosbeck furniture scheme has been the least talked about and I was intrigued to find out why.
Approaching the Trust to discuss a collaboration was easy for me because I’m regularly at the Hall and having built up relationships with the staff. I found they were happy to help and excited that I was interested in the furniture.
During my Batchelor’s degree the University lecturers were always stressing the importance of building up relationships with other creatives and organisations and this is a good example how it has worked well for me.
What are your future plans after study?
Looking forward, I am keen to continue with academic research and possibly embarking on a PhD. I would also be happy to collaborate with the National Trust again.
Tell us about your experience studying our MA Design History programme?
I started the MA in September 2021 and I am just approaching the end of the first module. It has been really exciting and I have found it very rewarding in terms of providing a stepping stone to working at a professional level.
Why did you choose to do your MA?
I am passionate about history and choose to study for a MA in Design History to progress within the Heritage/Education sector.
What is your educational background?
I have graduated this year 2021 with a First Class BA (Hons) in Costume Interpretation with Design and have a BSc (Hons) in Social Science and Geography (Open University) from 2007. I returned to study when I was made redundant after 30 years in the Steel Industry. This was a turning point that enabled me to pursue a new direction in the Creative industry which I have always wanted to do but had not had the opportunities. I enrolled for the Extended Higher Diploma in Design Crafts & Textiles at The Northern School of Art at Green Lane Middlesbrough and have never looked back. The staff were very supportive and suggested I should progress to a Degree course. Since then, I have never doubted that I made the right decision.
Tell us about what you are doing now in your creative field?
I am looking forward to January when I will be involved in cataloguing Mrs Pennyman’s wardrobe at Ormesby Hall. Mrs Pennyman’s extensive collection of historical garments and all her theatrical costume are currently in storage at the Hall and will be a challenging but exciting project. I will also be assisting with the cataloguing and digitisation of the Schools Historical Costume Collection based in the Ledbetter Building on Church Square so it will be interesting to be involved with two cataloguing projects and being able to compare the different requirements and methods used.
Any advice for future creatives & prospective MA students?
I am so glad I enrolled on the Master’s Degree, it allows the freedom to explore and question in depth the history of design and the implications it has within the wider social context. It’s like playing detective, you need a curious mind! The ability to think outside the box and push boundaries, looking at your subject from different perspectives to inform new enquiry is very satisfying. The importance of building up social networks and relationships with other creatives is key to progression within your chosen field. It’s like building up a supportive family around you. You know where to go and who to speak to if you need help!
Find out more about Angelas work on her Instagram @listevans and her Linkedin
If you are interested in studying MA Design History you can find out more about our fantastic programme here.