The history of the campaign for votes for women is inspiring and compelling, and still has great political significance in the present.
Through 2018 and since, staff and students at BGU and other Lincolnshire communities have been exploring this history and its contemporary resonance. This engagement has found special expression through the creation of a touring exhibition, exhibition ‘Vote100: A Lincolnshire View of Women’s Suffrage’, and we have captured some of the reflections on its production and importance.
The exhibition, which is continuing to tour locally, was created collaboratively with other organisations and individuals, including Lincoln Central Library and the local Fawcett Society as lead partners. It has formed the showpiece for part of a series of events celebrating important dates in the history of women’s voting rights and the extension of the franchise by #Vote100BGU project at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) and elsewhere in Lincolnshire through 2017-18 and into 2019.
February 6 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time. July 2 2018 marked the 90th anniversary of the Equal Franchise Act, which gave women the same voting rights as men from the age of 21. December 14 2018 was the centenary of the first general election in which women could exercise their newly gained right to vote.
BGU hosted a series of events in the lead up to the centenary on February 6 2018, and since. Lectures, debates, performances and more, including student-directed events, celebrated the important milestones. History and English Literature staff Dr Andrew Jackson and Dr Claudia Capancioni, and students, Elaine Johnson, Sian Hope-Johnson, Jasmine Mills along with team members from BGSU were particularly active in supporting the various events.
BGU was founded in 1862 as the Lincoln Diocesan Training School for Mistresses, and through much of its history was a college specialising in preparing young women for the teaching profession.
‘Equal opportunities for women in professional life was at the heart of BGU’s original purpose. The history of the University over more than a century and a half make it a fitting setting to celebrate 100 years of progress in electoral and political opportunities for women.’
Dr Andrew Jackson, Head of Research, Bishop Grosseteste University.
Our itinerant exhibition will contribute to the Wolds Women of Influence this summer. It will be at Spilsby Franklin Hall from 5th June to 26th July 2019.
The exhibition will continue to tour throughout the year, please check back here for more information.
2018, December 14. The Vote100 exhibition formed the backdrop to an event to mark the centenary of the 1918 General Election. The event also featured an extract from the play, 'The World At Her Feet', introduced by Dr Claudia Capancioni (BGU) and Stephen Gillard and Sam Miles (Lincoln Mystery Plays); an extract from the play, 'The Forgotten Suffragette', introduced by Phoebe Wall-Palmer (Lincoln Performing Arts Centre) and Rachel Baynton (Proto-type Theater); a talk by Prof. Krista Cowman (Lincoln University); and contemporary writings introduced by Dr Andrew Jackson, and read by Elaine Johnson, Sian Hope-Johnson and Jasmine Mills
2018, December 10 – 13. The Vote100 exhibition was placed on display in the historic Old Stonebow Guildhall on the invitation of the City of Lincoln Council, as part of the lead up to the centenary of the 1918 General Election
2018, November 17. The Lincoln Labour Club hosted the Vote100 exhibition for their event to recognise and celebrate women’s rights: ‘100 years of Women’s Suffrage: Learning from their Legacy’. The exhibition was opened by Karen Lee MP and Professor Krista Cowman from the University of Lincoln, who introduced the collection within its historical context and explored its ongoing significance. The event also featured readings from letters in the BGU archive of 1909, on the arguments for and against women’s suffrage. The readings were introduced by Dr Andrew Jackson, and presented by Elaine Johnson, Sian Hope-Johnson and Jasmine Mills.
2018, November 16. The Vote100 exhibition provided the stimulus and inspiration for a workshop with local schools for the Being Human Festival, led by Dr Claudia Capancioni and Sian Hope-Johnson. The Being Human Festival theme for 2018 was ‘Origins and Endings’.
2018, October 4 - November 13. The Vote 100 exhibition was on display as part of North Kesteven District Council’s Local Democracy Week, and tying in with European Local Democracy Week / UK Parliament Week. The portable exhibition was to be found in the Council Chamber, Sleaford Town Hall, and at Kesteven & Sleaford Girls High School in Sleaford, Sir Robert Pattinson Academy in North Hykeham, and in the Terry O’Toole Theatre, Nth Hykeham, over this period.
2018, September 27. BGU sponsored a Vote100-inspired evening event for the Lincoln Book Festival. The Festival’s theme for 2018 was ‘Revolution’, and under the banner of ‘Sisters of the Revolution, there were talks by authors Jane Robinson, Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas, introduced by Prof. Krista Cowman of the University of Lincoln.
2018, June 4 – July 2. The exhibition ‘Vote100: A Lincolnshire View of Women’s Suffrage’, at Lincoln Central Library on Freeschool Lane, Lincoln. The exhibition was designed by History and English staff and students at BGU, Dr Andrew Jackson, Dr Claudia Capancioni, Elaine Johnson, Sian Hope-Johnson and Jasmine Mills; together with staff of Lincoln Central Library. The exhibition features Lincolnshire’s contribution, set in the context on the progress towards achieving the vote in 1918, and the equalising of the franchise in 1928.
2018, February 9. Women into politics event at BGU Students’ Union (BGSU). The evening included a debate on ‘who should sit on the iron throne’. Guest speakers included Lincoln MP Karen Lee, former BGSU President Becca Smith and BGSU Manager Abigail Rogers.
2018, February 6. Andrew Jackson and Sian Hope-Johnson, BGU SU Officer and Eng Lit student, featured on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, discussing the historical and contemporary significance of Vote100. Andrew and Sian appear a number of times through the first hour of a three-hour programme marking the event, available on BBC Catch-Up here.
2018, February 5. Parliamentary Reform in 1918: Continuity, Reform or Revolution? In this talk noted historian, Professor Martin Pugh, explored a number of important and relevant questions surrounding the Representation of the People Act 1918.
2017, November 27. BGU hosted the Lincolnshire heat of the Historical Association Great Debate 2017 on the topic of: ‘Was the 1918 extension of the franchise the most significant moment in British democratic history?’ The heat, organised by the City of Lincoln Historical Association was open to Lincolnshire schools and sixth form colleges. Further information is available from Dr Claire Hubbard-Hall at BGU.
2017, November 18 and 23. Part of BGU’s engagement with the national Being Human Festival on this year’s theme of ‘Lost and Found’. An event for two Lincoln-based schools on November 23 was organised in collaboration with the charities Slam Jam and First Story. The event on Saturday November 23 was open to the public and celebrated ‘Becoming teachers: women’s college life from 1862 to 1918’. This occasion considered the life and opportunities for young women in this period in history. Further information is available from Dr Claudia Capancioni at BGU.
2017, November 6. The first event relating to Vote 100, a lecture for the City of Lincoln Historical Association. Dr Andrew Jackson, Head of School of Humanities at BGU, presented ‘Life on the First World War Home Front: Distressing or a Blessing?’ Andrew was accompanied by Maureen Sutton, folklore historian and dialect poet. Maureen read some extracts of the work of the Lincolnshire home-front poet, Bernard Samuel Gilbert, whose writings considered the lives, experiences and opportunities for working women 100 years ago. Further information is available from Andrew or Dr Claire Hubbard-Hall at BGU.
Dr Andrew Jackson: Celebrating votes for women one hundred years on, The Lincolnite.
For further information:
Dr Andrew Jackson, Head of Research, BGU firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Claudia Capancioni, Programme Leader for English, email@example.com