Current Projects

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Published articles

New articles for 2019. Womanism and Black feminism, disability feminism and Audre Lorde in the Feminism Book.  Big Ideas simply explained. 

A Part of Me: An article in a Special edition of Kindred Spirit Magazine in Summer 2018

Discovering Maria Nugent: a case for a religious morality amongst enslaved people in early nineteenth-century Jamaica

Blog post on the travel writer Maria Nugent, written for the Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research.

Writings from the Sand Volume 2: the collected works of Isabelle Eberhardt, edited by Marie-Odile Delacour and Jean-Rene Huleu

Book review of volume 2 of Eberhardt’s travels and life in North Africa at the turn of the twentieth-century.  Available from Taylor and Francis online. For a free copy email me here.

Documenting Black Women’s Political Activism

This article published in the The London LGBT Almanac 2nd Edition. traces the development of black LBT women’s political consciousness from 1980s Britain to the present. The London LGBT Almanac 2nd Edition is a uniquely designed print publication with new research findings and original creative essays, visual art, photography, and poetry from acclaimed photographers and diverse contributors.   The London LGBT Almanac 2nd Edition has made headlines and received excellent reviews –Just £34.99 or £24.99 concession, with all proceeds going to support the charity centred. Just email contact@centred.org.uk

Women, art and travel: A journey to France

Picture of art box stained with paint
Our stained art box

Amelia Murray was so enthralled by the horizon on board the Halifax on her way to Canada that she turned to art to enliven her reactions. Women travellers were often very knowledgeable about art and artists. Some women  sketched and painted whilst abroad and some even travelled specifically to pursue their love of art.  Marianne North’s botantical drawings, which are held at Kew, are one example of art merged with extensive travel. Below I’d like to share my experiences of an art  holiday I took in France last year. On this  holiday  it gradually dawned on me why women felt that, whilst abroad, they could explore and expand their artistic talents. Having the space and time to draw, paint and sketch was amazing and I found myself doing the same thing. I returned to London after a week with chalk drawings, collage, sketches and a half filled sketch book! A true lady traveller!

“Last summer I travelled from Poitiers by train to Angouleme a town famous for its annual comic festival. On the way to Chateauneuf-sur-Charent, the small town where I would spend 7 days on a painting course, I saw fields of sunflowers and miles of vines. The natural light was startling, and I immediately understood why so many French artists painted the landscape.

Firstly we experimented with water colour by making nebulous colour wheels; then we used collage to make sketches and paintings. Overall, we used the wonderful nineteenth-century painted house as inspiration.

The most challenging task for me was finding a composition showing a door through a door. I couldn’t get the dimensions right and swapping between spectacles wasn’t working – I became frustrated. That I cannot always see detail frustrates me but in my art it’s not important there’s always a solution. Eventually I relaxed and looked for the blocks of colour and the dark and light tones. So as I shaded in the darkest objects, I made a whole drawing.

20150713_174525 butterfly
Sketching butterflies and insects …

Making wet on wet was also interesting – I wetted thick water colour paper and drew on top with watercolour paint and pencils. An elderly lady passer-by said of my paintings “yes they pass the time don’t they?” Although I like to think I did more than just ‘pass the time’ it was in some ways true. My holiday went by quickly, the brilliant light came and went and before I knew it I was back at Poitiers airport with my symbol cane which saw nothing of France for 7 days.”

Interested in reading more about my experiences of travelling with a visual impairment in London and beyond? Check out my regular blog posts on Living Paintings Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Amelia Murray an inspiration for the older female traveller

The Honourable Amelia Murraythe subject of my talk  on Monday night at Paddington  library, reminded me of something important – when is it too late to go travelling?

Murray traveturner-fighting-temeraire-NG524-fmlled at age 59, as my research has shown travelling over 40 was unusual for women. Travelling alone, as she did, was even rarer. So I am reminded as someone who is not so far off from that grand age that it is never too late to go wandering. As Tolkien said ‘Not all those who wander are lost’. This conjures up images of us all wandering aimlessly but I don’t think this is what Tolkien meant or what I propose. Murray’s journey was certainly not aimless – it was a well thought out trip to Canada, the United States and Cuba by steam ship in 1854. But whilst reading her letters, I did question why she waited so late in life to take such a big trip was she searching for something more than her life at Queen Victoria’s court? When I travelled at 39 to Mexico, I thought I was having an early mid life crisis, but it was there I decided my interest in travel was more than just that..it was an unquenchable obsession! Perhaps in travelling, writing and publishing her letters, Murray realised the same thing.

For anyone interested see my slides from the talk here AmeliaMurray_v5.

Please follow me to keep up to date with further posts, talks and publications.

 

(Above left: The Fighting Temeraire by J.M.W Turner mentioned by Murray in her journal. She was reminded of the picture by a sunset on approaching Newfoundland).

Writing about the history of travel

Today I had a sharp reminder about my process of writing on the history of travel -how formulaic it is, even predictable. I was stressing about completing a piece of work then after looking at all I had written I thought, I am there. When writing, I am constantly trying to fit pieces in at random, almost in the dark. then I get stuck – quite a few times, throw pieces in and more often than not, get lost completely. I liken the end piece to a huge scaffold or a building covered with scaffold – lots inside. This process was a familiar feeling. I remember when I was writing my thesis, I got to a stage when I thought I would never stop writing draft after draft. Would it ever be right? Now after several more drafts and articles I am aware that I know when I am there in other words when to stop! I feel writing about travel is like gathering materials for my building covered in scaffold. Often when I am writing about a person who has travelled somewhere there is so much to consider where they are from, where they went, what’s the historical backdrop – as my history teacher used to say.