(Re)making spaces and ‘working out ways’
Women in the printing industry
in Hot metal
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This chapter is about the experiences had by women in the printing industry in the second half of the twentieth century. Focusing on the stories of three women – a tablehand, a senior manager and a printing apprentice – the chapter explores how women in the printing industry coped with the shifting challenges of a patriarchal printing environment. One of the threads holding these three stories together is the presence of design and embodied experience; each of these narratives speaks of something made, designed or physically manipulated, be it spatial, environmental or technological. The active making and re-making of things and spaces, and the forming of embodied knowledge about machinery and industrial objects, were strategies that female workers mobilised in order to survive challenging and often discriminatory circumstances. The contentious politics lifting – and associated legal limitations – is evaluated, revealing a disjuncture between workplace rhetoric and actual embodied practice.

Hot metal

Material culture and tangible labour

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