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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

James Parkes and the Age of Intolerance - A Travelling Exhibition

About the exhibition

This exhibition explores James Parkes’ pioneering work as a tireless fighter against antisemitism in all forms. In the 1930s, Parkes helped to rescue Jewish refugees, and he campaigned for European Jewry during the Holocaust. During the Second World War, Parkes helped found the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ). As part of his international campaigning and scholarship, Parkes built up a library and associated archive, which was transferred to the University of Southampton in 1964. This library is now one of the largest Jewish documentation centres in Europe and the only one in the world devoted to Jewish/non-Jewish relations.

This exhibition was curated by Dr Chad McDonald, who recently completed a PhD examining the British memory of the Holocaust. He is now a Visiting Fellow in the Parkes Institute at the University of Southampton and the Social Media Editor for the internationally-renown journal, Patterns of Prejudice .

The South, West, and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (Arts and Humanities Research Council) generously funded the creation of this exhibition. The exhibition contains materials reproduced with the kind permission of the University of Southampton’s Special Collections .

The exhibition’s tour

This page will be updated as the exhibition about the life and work of James Parkes travels around the country. Please check back regularly, as additional dates and venues continue to be added to the tour. Pictures and summarises of events will be uploaded after events.

For any queries about the exhibition, please contact the exhibition’s curator and projector co-ordinator, Dr Chad McDonald ( ). You can follow him on Twitter @Chad_McDonald .

Click on the links below to find out more about where the exhibition has visited:

  • January 2019: Solent University and University of Southampton
  • March 2019: University of Northampton
  • July 2019: University of Roehampton
  • October 2019: Lincoln Cathedral
  • October and November 2019: St Margaret of Antioch, Barley
  • November 2019: West London Synagogue
  • January 2020: Winchester Cathedral
  • February to March 2020: Hertford College, University of Oxford

Future venues:

Some events have been postponed due to COVID-19. Please check back for any revisions or updates to the exhibition’s tour. If you have any questions or want to check if an event is still happening, please contact Chad.

  • 12 to 27 September 2020 (dates TBC): St Andrew’s Church, Donhead St Andrew (Devon)
  • January 2021 (dates TBC): Northumbria University
  • May 2021 (dates TBC): St Stephen’s, Guernsey
  • 5 to 7 July 2021: University of Southampton
  • Dates TBC: Lichfield Cathedral
  • Dates TBC: Wiener Holocaust Library, London

January 2019: Solent University and University of Southampton

The exhibition was inaugurated at Southampton city’s Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day event, which was held at Solent University in January 2019.

The exhibition then transferred to the University of Southampton, where it was showcased alongside the 2019 Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture.

The exhibition’s time in Southampton led to the Parkes Institute being profiled on BBC South Today.

March 2019: University of Northampton

In March 2019, the exhibition visited the University of Northampton. Northampton is home to the Searchlight Archives , a major collection of material documenting the activities of British and international fascist and racist organisations. This provided a salient link to James Parkes’ own work challenging fascists.

Dr Chad McDonald opened the exhibition’s time in Northampton with a keynote lecture focusing on James Parkes’ lifework. Chad also spoke about the contemporary relevance of James Parkes’ work on BBC Radio Northampton.

July 2019: University of Roehampton

In July 2019, the exhibition was showcased at the British Association for Holocaust Studies conference, which was held at the University of Roehampton.

As part of the conference, Chad McDonald teamed up with Amy Williams (Nottingham Trent University) to facilitate a workshop reflecting on their shared experiences of curating travelling exhibitions about the history and memory of the Holocaust.

October 2019: Lincoln Cathedral

In October 2019, the exhibition visited Lincoln Cathedral .

During its time in Lincoln, the exhibition was visited by Cheltenham Ladies’ College’s Archivist, Rachel Roberts. Parkes’ sister, Mary Katherine (known as Molly), was a pupil of the College from September 1915 to July 1918. Molly was lost at sea on the RMS Leinster during the First World War.

Rachel Roberts noted that, before visiting the exhibition, the College had no idea that Molly was related to James Parkes. The College’s own archive contains very little surviving documentation about Molly’s life before College. The Parkes Institute were delighted to be able to share more information about Molly’s earlier life with Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Molly Parkes is mentioned in an exhibition on the female contribution on the First World War, which Rachel curated in 2018. You can find details of the exhibition on the Cheltenham Remembers website.

October and November 2019: St Margaret of Antioch, Barley (Hertfordshire)

In late October and early November 2019, a series of events were held in Barley, North East Hertfordshire, to mark Remembrance Day. Barley was Parkes’ home for many years. The events included a lecture by Professor Richard Evans , Regius Professor Emeritus of History (University of Cambridge).

Chad McDonald wrote a post about the events in Barley, which can be read on the Parkes Institute’s Blog .

November 2019: West London Synagogue

To accompany the exhibition, the West London Synagogue – together with the Council of Christians and Jews and CCJ Central London Branch – hosted a special event focusing on The Refugee Crisis: Then and Now.

Barbara Winton , daughter and biographer of Sir Nicholas Winton and refugee rights campaigner, provided a keynote address. A response was provided by Professor Tony Kushner , Professor of the History of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations in the Parkes Institute. The evening’s lecture was chaired by Bishop Michael Ipgrave, CCJ Chair and the Bishop of Lichfield.

January 2020: Winchester Cathedral

17 February to 2 March 2020: Hertford College, University of Oxford

During the exhibition’s time in Oxford, a public lecture was given by Dr Chad McDonald on Parkes’ lifework as an activist. The lecture was attended by members of the local Jewish and Christian communities, members of Hertford College , and other individuals from across the University of Oxford. A special dinner was held in honour of the exhibition’s visit to Hertford College.

Due to the exhibition’s visit, Hertford College decided to add James Parkes to their historic alumni page . You can view images of the exhibition inside Hertford College’s Chapel here .

12 to 27 September 2020 (TBC): St Andrew’s Church, Donhead St Andrew (Devon)

In September 2020, the exhibition is due to open in St Andrew’s Church in Devon. The church has recently reopened following the completion of an 8-year project, which has responded to the local community’s wish to see the medieval church become the centre of the community. The church is close to Iwerne Minster, where James Parkes is buried.

During its time in Devon, Dr Carolyn Sanzenbacher , Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute, will deliver a lecture on Parkes’ pioneering work to challenge antisemitism. There will also be a lecture by Patrick Moriarty, Joint Secretary and trustee of the Council of Christians and Jews, focusing on the persecution of Christians in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

Further details about the events in St Andrew’s Church will be added later in the year.

May 2021: St Stephen’s, Guernsey

To mark Liberation Day and the fortieth anniversary of James Parkes’ death, the exhibition will be travelling to Guernsey in 2021. The exhibition will be hosted by St Stephen’s Church , which is near to where Parkes’ lived on the island as a child. The church is also close to Foulon Cemetery, where Parkes’ father is buried.

Further details will be added in due course.

5 to 7 July 2021: British Association for Jewish Studies, University of Southampton

In July 2021, the exhibition will be returning to Southampton as part of the annual conference of the British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS). This year’s President of the BAJS is Dr Helen Spurling , Associate Professor of History in the Parkes Institute and History Department at the University of Southampton.

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