A UNIVERSITY course all about the history of one of Leeds’ most famous firms is being run in the city.
The History on the High Street module is dedicated to the Marks & Spencer Company Archive at Leeds University.
The M&S archive was relocated to the purpose-built Michael Marks Building on the university campus in 2012.
The course is one of the university’s ‘discovery’ modules aimed at offering students extra opportunities to broaden their learning and pursue personal interests, while developing skills that will help them after higher education.
It has been set up by Regina Lee Blaszczyk, the university’s professor of the history of business and society.
She said: “The M&S Company Archive provides a wonderful opportunity for students – it’s right on campus. The staff are very helpful and it’s an unparalleled teaching resource because it has fantastic veins of material to draw on.
“The archive sheds fascinating light on a wide range of areas from visual merchandising to aspects of how an international family business is run...Leeds students have the opportunity to see a world-class company archive on their doorstep.
“This is the first module that is devoted one hundred percent to using the archive as a hands-on resource.”
Katharine Carter, M&S company archivist, said: “It’s wonderful to see the archive collection being used in this way, and knowing that’s it’s enriching learning for students”.
The eleven-week course’s inaugural run in 2014-2015 attracted students from management, marketing, maths, history of art and sociology and history courses.
History student Natasha Rai said: “I’ve taken a lot away about consumer culture, technology and buying online.”
The students finish the course with a field trip to Leeds city centre learning about how the retail heart of the city has evolved.