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Amy Galvin

Research Overview

My PhD research project is supervised jointly by Dr Sarah Richardson and Dr Laura Schwartz, of the History Department at the University of Warwick, and Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives. It is kindly funded by an Economic Social Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award. The project is entitled From Suffragette to Citizen: female experience of parliamentary spaces in long-nineteenth century Britain and will employ various concepts from feminist geography to examine gendered experiences of political spaces in England in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Female enfranchisement is a widely researched subject and much has been done to explore the suffrage movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly the political activities of the Pankhursts and their supporters. However, although there have been in-depth studies into the methods by which women campaigned to attain the vote, little has been done thus far to explore their interaction with the physical spaces of Parliament itself. Inherently patriarchal in every way, it was not a building that was ready to serve the political needs of enfranchised women. Furthermore, beyond the building itself, its language, manners and practices were also largely inaccessible to a female voter. This study will provide insight into how women were able to transition from female voters outside of Parliament to enfranchised citizens within it.

Examining the rich resources of the Parliamentary Archives and the Parliamentary Art Collection alongside memoirs, personal testimonies and women’s writing will determine the extent of female agency in the physical political world, evidencing how women permeated and subsequently inhabited political spaces to increasing degrees over the course of their journey to suffrage. Exploring female interaction with political spaces will contribute to a greater understanding of how British women achieved citizen status.

Research Interests
  • Women's suffrage movement in Britain
  • Social perceptions of gender in the nineteenth century
  • Nineteenth century political culture
  • Spatial theory and social creation of space
  • Parliament and political spaces in the nineteenth century
  • Writing as a political tool
Academic Background

2016-2020 University of Warwick, PhD History
2013-2014 University of Warwick, PGCE Secondary English
2012-2013 University of Warwick, MA for Research in French and Francophone Studies
2008-2012 University of Warwick, BA (Hons) English and French

Funding and Awards

- Royal Historical Society Award, Conference Grant, May 2018.

- Warwick Doctoral Fellowship Competition, 2018-2019.

- Humanities Research Fund Grant, November 2017.

- ESRC PhD Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award, 2016-2020.

- Ann Barnes Memorial Prize for Outstanding Classroom Practice, 2014.

- University of Warwick, Department of French Studies MA Bursary, 2012-2013.


Review - 'Suffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise.' Edited by Miranda Garrett and Zoë Thomas, Twentieth Century British History, published online 01/07/2019. 


2017-2018 HI153 Making of the Modern World, Associate Tutor, History Department, University of Warwick.

2018-2019 HI153 Making of the Modern World, Associate Tutor, History Department, University of Warwick.

2019-2020 HI113-30 Europe in the Making 1450-1800, Associate Tutor, History Department, University of Warwick.

Conference Papers & Conferences Organised

June 2017 Out of Site, Out of Mind: the Women of the Ventilator at 'Landscapes of Power: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Power and Place', University of Nottingham.

September 2017 Out of Site, Out of Mind: Women in Parliament in the Early Nineteenth Century at 'Ordering the Margins of Society: Space Authority and Control in early modern Britain', Institute of Historical Research, London.

September 2017 Hidden Spectators: Women and the Ventilator in the Old House of Commons, c.1778-1834 at Parliament Heritage Fortnight, Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

January 2018 Constructing New Meanings of Space: Women in Parliament in the Early to Mid-Nineteenth Century at 'Women's Negotiations of Space, 1500-1900', University of Hull.

April 2018 A New Female Political Subjectivity: Reimagining Definitions of 'Politics' and 'Knowledge' in Nineteenth Century English Parliamentary Space at '7th Annual International Feminist Journal of Politics Conference - Feminism and Knowledge and Politics', University of San Francisco.

June 2018 Painting a Political Subjectivity: Women in Parliament in the Early-Nineteenth Century, 1818-1834 at 'Centennial Reflections on Women's Suffrage and the Arts', University of Surrey.

September 2018 Escaping from the Ladies' Cage: Female Subversion of Space in Parliament in the Mid-Nineteenth Century at '27th Annual Women's History Network Conference', University of Portsmouth.

September 2018 Reconceptualising the Buildings of ‘His-story’: Women’s Fight for Political Spaces in the Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Centuries at 'A Century of Women MPs, 1918-2018', Westminster.

November 2018 Co-organised a conference funded by the Warwick Humanities Research Fund and the Royal Historical Society - Politics of Sedition in Long Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Social and Cultural Discourse.

January 2019 Petticoat Politics: the emergence of female political discourses in nineteenth-century Parliament, a joint paper with Dr Catriona Cooper at 'Geographies of Gender: An Interdisciplinary Conference', Centre for Gender Studies, University of Winchester.

June 2019 Petticoats in Parliament: female experiences of citizenship and policymaking in nineteenth-century British politics, Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Lincoln.

August 2019 Petticoats in Parliament: the creation of female political space in early nineteenth-century Britain, 1818-1834, International Conference on Romanticism, Manchester.

Public Engagement

March 2017 Blog post for the Women's History Network on International Women's Day 2017 - Out of Site, Out of Mind - the Women of the Ventilator.

April 2017 Blog post for the Parliamentary Archives Blog 'Inside the Act Room' - Thoughts of a Collaborative PhD Student in Parliament.

May 2017 Blog post for Vote 100, the parliamentary project marking the centenary of women gaining the franchise - Out of Site, Out of Mind - the Hidden Ladies of the Ventilator.

September 2017 Listening to the Commons: the Ventilator workshop organised in Parliament. This study day faciltated the meeting of those interested in the space of the ventilator to share knowledge and develop research.

March 2018 'Women and Power' installation at Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire (National Trust) - Historical interpretation provided for a painting by Georgiana Chatterton for the 'Women and Power' installation, part of the National Trust's National Public Programming for 2018-2019.

June 2018 Listening to the Commons panel at the York Festival of Ideas.

September 2018 Blog post for The Victorian Commons, An Artist in the Attic: Women and the House of Commons in the Early-Nineteenth Century.


- Women’s History Network

- Royal Historical Society - Postgraduate Membership

- Social History Society

- Centre for the Studies of Women and Gender, University of Warwick


Amy Galvin


Sketch of the Ventilator above the old House of Commons by Frances Rickman, June 1834.


Drawing of the Ladies' Gallery, House of Commons, published in the Illustrated London News on 12 February 1870.

Votes for Women

Campaigning for the vote outside Parliament.