ECR Independent Conferences, Fellowships and Grants, Prizes

WHN Independent Researcher Grants for 2023/24

The Women’s History Network is delighted to announce the results of this year’s Independent Researcher Grant. This year, the award received a record number of applications and we were thrilled to see the amount of interest in women’s history from people of all backgrounds. It did, however, make choosing incredibly difficult – if only it were possible to fund everything! Despite this, we’re very pleased to share the four projects we will be supporting this year:

Laura Agustín will explore the lives of fourteenth century ‘ordinary women’ living in Norwich and Portsmouth, and produce walking tours for the public based on her findings. Laura, who was previously involved in street theatre in the Caribbean as part of educación popular, tells us “Although ‘walks’ aren’t theatre, they have much in common: learning while looking at things you haven’t thought about, including historical commentary. Not sitting in a classroom but feeling your feet as you walk and breathing the air of the place you’re hearing about”.

Elizabeth Ajao will research the life of British composer, Muriel Herbert and produce an hour long documentary about Herbert’s life and work. As Elizabeth writes, “This is the kind of thing I would have loved to see when I was 17 and bored by the composers I was being fed by the school system. Women have done incredible things, and I’m determined to show young musicians what women can do”. We agree!

Joanne Coates’s project, ‘Daughters of the Dales’, will look at the hidden histories and present day hidden life of the extraordinary women of the Yorkshire dales. Coates, an award winning artist and photographer, will blend archival research and contemporary photography to share the stories of women who’ve lived within the bounds of the national park from 1800 to the present day. Her project will be exhibited at the Dales Countryside Museum – we’ll keep you posted when you can visit!

Laura Maw is writing Working Class Manifestos, a group biography of four working class women writers – Shelagh Delaney, Ann Quin, Buchi Emecheta and Andrea Dunbar – in postwar Britain. She says “The book is a radical examination of how class shapes a writer’s work – how material conditions sculpt creative practice and how cultural attitudes to class inform critical reception”. She’ll be exploring these four writers’ archives and her book will be published with Virago.

Congratulations to all our successful awardees! We’re really looking forward to the variety of outputs from their projects, and will be sharing more details in blog posts on our website this year.

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