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Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Woking History Society

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley gave a talk on Ethel Smyth for Woking History Society in The Gallery at Christ Church Woking on Monday 3 September 2018.

Addressing over 50 audience members, Dr Wiley’s hour-long presentation discussed Smyth’s activity as composer, author, suffragette, and, for the last several decades of her life, a Woking resident.

Dr Wiley previously spoke about Ethel Smyth at The Lightbox, Woking for International Women’s Day earlier in the year, as well as hosting and performing in a concert of Smyth’s music at Christ Church Woking in 2014, to mark the 70th anniversary of her death.

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at Women’s History Network annual conference at the University of Portsmouth

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Women's History Network logoDr Christopher Wiley was among the many speakers who presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Women’s History Network, held at the University of Portsmouth on Friday 31 August–Saturday 1 September 2018.

Entitled ‘The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage: National and International Perspectives’, the conference attracted a large delegation of scholars of women’s history internationally.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, was presented in one of the conference’s parallel sessions to an audience of some 25 academics.

Dr Christopher Wiley at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Wiley considered the extent to which Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate might be considered a feminist opera, with reference to the composer’s suffragette activity, the story on which the work was based, and her creative process, including her adaptation of pre-existing music in the score.

Dr Wiley has presented previous versions of his paper at several other UK universities including Surrey, Royal Holloway, and Edge Hill.

The conference website is here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/centre-for-european-and-international-studies-research/events/womens-suffrage-2018/

The complete programme for the event is available for download here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/media/contacts-and-departments/ceisr/events/Suffrage-Conference-2018.pdf

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes programme notes to BBC Proms programme

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Royal Albert HallDr Christopher Wiley has contributed notes to the programme for The BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London (pictured) on Wednesday 1 August 2018.

Prom 24, ‘A Hero’s Life’, presented Ethel Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ (Prelude to Act 2 of her opera The Wreckers), as well as Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and Richard Strauss’s tone poem Ein Heldenleben.

As an internationally leading researcher on Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley was invited to write programme notes for ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ as well as a brief biographical profile for the composer.

A regular fixture at The Proms during her own lifetime, Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ was programmed for the 2018 season mindful of the composer’s period of activity as a leading suffragette, in the centenary year of many women receiving the parliamentary vote in the UK for the first time.

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 gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Surrey Local History Symposium at Surrey History Centre

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Surrey History CentreDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled Dame Ethel Smyth, Ground-breaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette’ at the Annual Symposium of Surrey Local History Committee on Saturday 21 April 2018.

The one-day symposium, whose theme was The Changing Role of Women’, featured presentations from five speakers who work in areas of local history. Organized by a committee of Surrey Archaeological Society, the event was held at Surrey History Centre, Woking, and attracted around 40 audience members from across the county.

In addition to his internationally recognized academic research, Dr Wiley has previously spoken on Ethel Smyth at a range of local history events in the Surrey area, including talks at The Lightbox, Woking, The Guildford Institute, and at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

The programme for the Surrey Local History Symposium is available at the following links:

Surrey History Centre – https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/heritage-culture-and-recreation/archives-and-history/surrey-history-centre/heritage-events

Surrey Archeological Society – https://www.surreyarchaeology.org.uk/content/changing-role-of-women-surrey-local-history-symposium

Celebrate Woking – https://www.celebratewoking.info/events/annual-symposium-changing-role-of-women

Dr Christopher Wiley gives interview on Ethel Smyth for Pyrford TV ARTS

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Dr Christopher Wiley at Woking Golf Club

Dr Christopher Wiley is featured in an eight-minute segment for the Spring Edition 2018 of Pyrford TV ARTS, on Woking’s famous former resident, Dame Ethel Smyth.

Speaking to presenter Tim Matthews (see picture), Dr Wiley discussed Smyth’s activity as composer, author, and suffragette, as well as her passion for sports including golf.

The eight-minute segment was filmed at Woking Golf Club in Hook Heath, near Woking, of which Smyth was a member for many years. So keen was she on the sport that she had her house built adjacent to the golf course, where she lived from 1910 until her death in 1944.

Pyrford TV ARTS produces 20-minute programmes several times a year, featuring the arts and creative worlds of Pyrford, Woking, and North Surrey. The segment on Smyth was included to tie in with the centenary of women’s enfranchisement in the UK, which falls this year.

The segment on Ethel Smyth is available for viewing online here: https://vimeo.com/262660959

The full 23-minute programme may be viewed here (the segment on Smyth starts at 09:18): https://youtu.be/fFAuVmbmmPw

The programme is also available at the Pyrford TV ARTS website: https://www.pyrfordtvarts.com/

In addition, it is featured on the webpage of the Woking Remembers 2018 programme, part of the Celebrate Woking festival: https://www.celebratewoking.info/woking-remembers

Credits: Pyrford TV (video); Surrey History Centre (images); Retrospect Opera (musical excerpt from Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate)

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