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WHN Independent Researcher Awards 2021/22

The Women’s History Network is delighted to announce four new Independent Researcher grants for the coming academic year. The grants provide financial support to those working on women’s history outside of academia. Full details of their projects are as follows:

Chamion Caballero: Princesses Pratibha and Sudhira Devi and their relationship with the Mander family of Wolverhampton

Chamion will be undertaking research into Princesses Pratibha and Sudhira Devi who married Lionel and Alan Mander in the early twentieth century, the brothers part of a well-to-do family in Wolverhampton. During this period, they appear to have received substantial public attention and commentary. In addition to the perceived novelty of the class, gender and racial combination of their unions, Princess Pratibha’s subsequent turbulent divorce from Lionel Mander attracted regular commentary in the press. As such, in addition to setting out a fuller biography of the sisters’ lives, the project explore their representation in British newspapers, in particular the discourse around their racial and ethnic heritage, gender and interracial marriages. In addition to a journal article, Chamion will be producing an online exhibition for The Mixed Museum on the sisters’ relationships.

Preeti Dhillon: The Shoulders We Stand On: How Black and Brown people fought for change in the UK:

Preeti is currently working on a book which tells the stories of ten remarkable movements, campaigns and organisations led by Black and Brown people in the 1960s to 1980s that fought against racism and capitalism, and impacted the way we live in the UK. She will be undertaking archival research into two organisations and movements led by women, the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD), and the Grunwick strike. In addition, she hopes to uncover more detail on the role Black and Brown women played in other movements and organisations, where their presence has often been overlooked in favour men, including Altheia Jones-Lecointe and Beverley Bryan in the British Black Panthers.

Ann Kennedy Smith: Outrageous proceedings: women at Cambridge 1882-1914:

Ann’s project is about the women who arrived in Cambridge towards the end of the nineteenth century and changed it for the better. It is a group biography that delves into the lives of seven of the pioneering scholars, college heads, academic wives, townswomen and female students of this period, whose individual stories tell the wider history of women at Cambridge. Among the women she will be researching are Mary Paley Marshall, who continued to teach economics at Newnham and Girton despite her academic husband’s growing opposition to women students; Newnham Vice-Principal Helen Gladstone, who changed her Prime Minister father’s mind about the importance of women’s higher education and Dr Susila Bonnerjee who, after studying at Newnham in the 1890s, helped to establish medical education for women in India before returning to England as an active suffragist.

Laura Noakes: The Professional Identity of Women Workers at HM Factory Gretna in the First World War:

Laura’s work explores the stories of the thousands of women who worked at Gretna producing munitions for the war effort. It will consider the experiences both of working-class women employed to produce shells, but also more middle-class women who worked as welfare supervisors. The interactions between women munition workers and the women regulators of their behaviour in the Welfare Department and Police service illustrate the complications that many first-wave feminists encountered when interrogating the relationship between gender and class. Laura will be working particularly with the Devil’s Porridge Museum’s extensive archives and her research will inform part of The Devil’s Porridge upcoming exhibition on the ‘Miracle’ munition workers of the First World War.