The Bluestocking Legacy: A Conversation at Hatchlands Park
Join us on Tuesday 12 June for an evening of lively debate with successful women in the fields of history, art, literature and science, our modern-day bluestockings. Chaired by Nino Strachey, Head of Research and Specialist Advice for the National Trust, our speakers include: Dr Elizabeth Eger, Bluestocking Society expert, historian and author; Donna Coonan, Editorial Director of Modern Classics at feminist publishing house Virago, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, astrophysicist and campaigner for women in STEM, and Cairo Clarke, an independant art curator.
Fanny Boscawen’s London home in Audley Street was a popular spot for the bluestockings’ salons, described as ‘the rendezvous of the wit and culture of the day’. Here, in her home at Hatchlands, we’re reinventing the salon for the 21st century.
The original bluestocking hostesses were known for lively and stimulating salons, dominated by literary discussion, where popular pursuits such as alcohol and gambling were replaced with tea and fine conversation. The salon in this context originated in 16th century Italy and became widely popular in 17th century France before spreading to the rest of fashionable Europe throughout the 18th century.
Our modern day bluestockings will join together for a panel discussion in the Music Room at Hatchlands, talking about the original bluestockings, their legacy, and their relevance to women today.
Dr Elizabeth Eger is a reader in the Department of English at King's College London. She is a specialist in women's writing of the eighteenth century and the lives of bluestocking women. She co-curated the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Brilliant women’ exhibition, which featured Fanny Boscawen, Elizabeth Montagu and many of their bluestocking friends, and wrote the accompanying book with Lucy Peltz. She also wrote ‘Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism’.
Donna Coonan is the Editorial Director for Modern Classics at Virago. Virago was founded in 1973 as ‘the first mass-market publisher for 52 per cent of the population - women. An exciting new imprint for both sexes in a changing world.‘ Virago’s mission statement reflects the views of the original bluestockings, ‘Sometimes we publish to entertain, sometimes we publish to give readers the sheer pleasure of beautiful writing, sometimes we publish to change the world.’
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a celebrated astrophysicist and campaigner for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) who discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She has served as President of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics, alongside campaigning to improve the status of women in physics and astronomy.
Cairo Clarke is an independent art curator. Clarke’s work explores and challenges the way institutions and galleries approach curating contemporary artworks and their spaces. She is currently assistant curator for Art on the Underground and curator at DKUK in Peckham. Previous work includes: The Reinvention of Love at Century Club, Soho; Curating Radical Futures and Women in Art symposiums, Tate Modern; Art Nights Associate Programme and a residency with Guest Projects, Touch Sensitive.
Nino Strachey’s research focuses on the expression of personality through place, interpreting the biography of buildings and collections. She’s worked for English Heritage and the National Trust, curating the homes of scientists (Darwin), politicians (Churchill) and writers (Shaw). Head of Research and Specialist Advice for the National Trust, she’s recently written ‘Rooms of their Own’ for the National Trust’s Prejudice & Pride programme. This explores the homes of three writers linked to the Bloomsbury Group: Eddy Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.