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Dr Christopher Wiley co-organizes and presents paper at international conference on women’s suffrage at the University of Surrey

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Dr Christopher Wiley and Dr Charlotte Mathieson open the conference (from Twitter)

Dr Christopher Wiley served as one of three conference co-chairs for the two-day international conference ‘Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts – Local : National : Transnational’ held at the University of Surrey on 29-30 June 2018, together with two colleagues from the University’s School of Literature and Languages, Dr Charlotte Mathieson (pictured with Dr Wiley, right) and Dr Lucy Ella Rose.

Panel discussion L-R Codee Spinner, Dr Amy Zigler, Dr Christopher Wiley (from Twitter)

The conference incorporated more than 25 papers including Dr Wiley’s own ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, which he had previously given at Edge Hill University earlier in the year. The panel on which he spoke, Women’s Suffrage in/and Music’, led to an animated question and answer session (pictured, left).

Roundtable discussion L-R Christopher Wiley, Kate Willoughby, Lucy Stevens, Jacqueline Mulhullan (from Twitter)

Dr Wiley also convened and participated in a roundtable discussion (pictured, right) featuring three professional actresses who have recently developed shows on themes of women’s suffrage, Jacqueline Mulhallen (Sylvia, based on Sylvia Pankhurst), Lucy Stevens (Grasp The Nettle, on Ethel Smyth), and Kate Willoughby (#Emilymatters, a social media campaign inspired by Emily Wilding Davison), all of whom performed extracts from their plays as part of the conference.

Dr Christopher Wiley introduces Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford, OBE (from Twitter)

Finally, Dr Wiley chaired a session on ‘Ethel Smyth, Suffrage, and Transnationality’, drawing on his reputation as an acknowledged expert on the composer, and was privileged to introduce Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford (pictured, left), who had been awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List earlier in the month for services to education in relation to women’s history.

The event attracted more than 40 delegates (pictured, below), with speakers ranging from University of Surrey academics and postgraduate researchers to museum-based archivists to international scholars from the UK, Continental Europe, and North America representing the disciplines of literature, music, film, and the visual arts.

The conference organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey; The British Association for Victorian Studies; and The Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK & Ireland.

Further information may be found at the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/

The full programme, including abstracts, is available here: https://suffragecentennial.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/suffrage-conference-programme-2018.pdf

Conference delegates waiting for the roundtable discussion to begin

Update: A news piece on the conference has appeared on the the University of Surrey’s website: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/surreys-centennial-reflection-womens-suffrage-and-arts

Several postgraduate research students have contributed reviews to the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/reviews/

See also the reviews on the School of Literature and Language’s website: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/english/2018/08/02/looking-back-at-centennial-reflections-on-womens-suffrage-and-the-arts-local-national-transnational/

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at women’s suffrage conference at Royal Holloway, University of London

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largelondonrgbDr Christopher Wiley has addressed the ‘Education, College Women, and Suffrage: International Perspectives’ conference held at his alma mater, Royal Holloway, University of London, on 13–14 June 2018.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Gender Studies and Multi-Disciplinary Teaching: A Case Study of Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement’, discussed the challenges presented by the delivery of tuition in gender studies within higher education contexts given the necessarily interdisciplinary nature of the field.

Presenting to an audience that itself encompassed a wide variety of different arts disciplines and educational backgrounds, Dr Wiley illustrated his arguments by drawing on his current research on the relationship between Ethel Smyth, her suffrage activity, and her opera The Boatswain’s Mate.

Organized by The Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender at Royal Holloway in conjunction with the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at the University of Winchester, the two-day conference attracted some 60 delegates.

Further information is available at the conference website: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/

The full programme may be viewed online here: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/programme/

Dr Christopher Wiley addresses interdisciplinary Suffragette Symposium at Edge Hill University

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Dr Christopher Wiley - Edge Hill University - Suffragette SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the Suffragette Symposium hosted by the interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex) at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

His paper subjected to renewed critical scrutiny the claim that Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, composed following her two years’ service as a suffragette in the 1910s, constitutes a ‘feminist opera’.

The presentation, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, explored the work’s refashioning of pre-existing music including two of Smyth’s suffrage songs used in its Overture, as well as a range of adaptations of traditional music.

Addressing an audience of some 35 delegates comprising both academics and members of the public, Dr Wiley also discussed the opera’s indebtedness to the short story by W.W. Jacobs on which it is based, and made consideration of Smyth’s creative process as documented in contemporaneous correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Edge Hill University shieldFurther information on the Suffragette Symposium may be viewed online: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/gensex/

The full programme is available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Symposium-Programme.pdf

Speaker biographies and abstracts may be found at the following link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Panel-Bios.docx.pdf

 

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes to media discourse on the UK centenary of women’s enfranchisement

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Dr Christopher Wiley - photo from Get SurreyDr Christopher Wiley has given expert comment to the media on the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which granted the vote to over 8 million women in the UK for the first time.

Coverage of Dr Wiley focussed on his research on Ethel Smyth, who, in addition to being an internationally successful composer, was active for two years as a leading suffragette in the early 1910s, developing a close friendship with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Together with a University of Surrey colleague, Dr Lucy Ella Rose, a leading expert on the suffragist Mary Watts and author of Suffrage Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word, and Image, Dr Wiley gave a live interview on BBC Radio Surrey for the ‘Breakfast on BBC Surrey’ show hosted by James Cannon and Lesley McCabe on Tuesday 6 February 2018.

Dr Wiley was also featured alongside Dr Rose in an article in Get Surrey, ‘Suffragette Vote 100 anniversary: University celebrates two Surrey women who were highly influential during the suffrage movement’, by Shona Duthie and Hannah Dodd.

The online Get Surrey article includes a video in which both academics give interviews on their respective research subjects, with Dr Wiley performing Smyth’s famous suffragette anthem, ‘The March of the Women’, on piano.

The full Get Surrey article, including video, may be viewed here: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/suffragette-vote-100-anniversary-university-14249832

The BBC Radio Surrey live interview may be heard here: https://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=7180&DateTime=2%2F6%2F2018+8%3A52%3A52+AM&Term=University+of+Surrey&PlayClip=TRUE

The live interview is also available on BBC iPlayer (listen from 2:52:11): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vm2m4

Ethel Smyth - Darling magazine Spring 2018 pp.12-13

Update: A text on Ethel Smyth contributed by invitation by Dr Wiley has been printed in the North Surrey edition of darling magazine for Spring 2018 (see image above). It may be viewed online here (see pp. 12–13): https://issuu.com/darlingmagazine/docs/darling-north_surrey-spring_2018

An article on Smyth written by Dr Wiley, ‘Dame Ethel Smyth: Remembering a Pathbreaking Artist, Suffragette, and Lesbian’, has appeared on the LGBT History Month website here: https://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/lgbt-history-month-resources/desarticle2018/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Ethel Smyth’s (feminist?) opera, The Boatswain’s Mate at the Millmead Centre, Guildford on 27 February 2017, for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group.

The Boatswain’s Mate was the fourth of six operas composed by Smyth (who suffered from distorted hearing and deafness for the last several decades of her life), and was the most popular and most frequently performed during her own lifetime. It was recently released in its first complete modern recording by Retrospect Opera (of which Dr Wiley is a part).

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley provided an outline of the circumstances of the composition of The Boatswain’s Mate, its plot, and interesting features of the music. He also discussed the extent to which the work constitutes a ‘feminist opera’, as has previously been suggested.

This is the second time that Dr Wiley has addressed Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group, having delivered a presentation on Smyth’s life and works two years ago in January 2015. Dr Wiley has also recently given talks on Smyth at The Guildford Institute and at the composer’s childhood home in Frimley Green.