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Dr. Tara Morton

Redrawing Boundaries: Suffrage Artists, Spatiality, Gender, and Power.

My doctoral thesis explores how the creative practices and political agencies of suffrage artists materially and culturally contested gender power relationships in the early twentieth century. Trapped in the disciplinary boundaries between the study of art and the study of politics, suffrage artists voices are often lost within women’s political histories and their political agencies overlooked within the histories of women’s art. The thesis addresses this slippage offering an innovative spatial approach to assessing suffrage artists role in challenging gendered structures through the everyday spaces and places of their creative and politicized communities. Dealing with themes such as embodiment, territories, colonialism, architectures, and sexualities, it re-evaluates their role in transformative feminist cultures, adds to suffrage, socialist, and imperial archives, and participates in wider scholarly debates about the relationship between space, gender, and power.

Research Interests

My research interests are broadly the women's suffrage movement, suffrage artists, political and artistic cultures and intersections, gender, spatiality, mapping, and inclusive histories. I am currently exploring the Suffrage Atelier; suffrage artists lives in the colonial context; and gathering together the threads of disability, representation and reform running through the suffrage movement.

Research & Impact Projects

Mapping Women's Suffrage, 1911 www.mappingwomenssuffrage.org.uk 

  • Creator & Director

This ongoing non-profit digital citizen science project works with members of the public and the heritage sector to digitally map the often-hidden lives and materials of ordinary Votes for Women campaigners at their home locations across the country drawing upon the census archive of 1911. The project aims to build an unprecedented map of the identities, shape, and geographies of the Votes for Women campaign at the height of the movement. The project’s official partners currently include The National Archives, UK Parliament, and the University of Warwick alongside local history and community groups. Project creation, implementation, and outreach work has included:

  • Liaising with academic technicians, web developers & graphic designers to produce & manage the project map & website using geo-temporal & digital exhibition platforms (Omeka S and Neatline).
  • Organising and delivering community a range of engagement events for Resonate, Coventry City of Culture 2021 & the National Festival of Social Science 2020.
  • Working with diverse collaborators including musicians & video editors; academic experts in the suffrage field; local & national archivists, regional history & community groups, family and research volunteers from around the country inc., Herefordshire, Sussex, Nottingham, Northumberland & Huddersfield.
  • Gathering, organising, editing, and inputting, local, regional, and national suffrage data.
  • Producing and co-editing project resources (videos; blogs; podcasts interviews).
  • Managing social media and website content.
  • Working with external & non-academic national & local organisations such as the National Archives, The Women’s Library, The National Trust & The Dorset Hall Group to identify, recover & promote buildings and architectural spaces used by suffrage campaigners.
  • Working on co-funding applications.

Women's Suffrage Resources: History & Citizenship Project 2018-19 (funded by HM Government in collaboration with the Historical Association & Association for Citizenship Teaching) www.suffrageresources.org.uk

  • Historical Consultant

My work for this national citizenship project for schools included:

  • Researching, populating, & delivering free suffrage database & web resources based on the 1866 suffrage petition to parliament (UK Parliament) & Suffragette Arrest Records (The National Archives) for student use.
  • Working closely with HA & HM government, education teams, and student liaison officers.
  • Collaborating with external web developers & graphic artists at Gooii to produce online educational resources for schools by visually simplifying historical archives.
  • Approaching, interviewing, recording podcasts with leading suffrage experts including Elizabeth Crawford OBE (independent scholar and author), Jill Liddington (University of Leeds) and Claire Eustance (University of Greenwich).
Public Engagement Talks & Events

‘Amazing Women: Coventry Women’s Suffrage Walk’ (with Prof. Sarah Richardson) Coventry, March 2022.

‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911’, Genealogy Stories UK, January 2022 https://genealogystories.co.uk/tara-morton/.

Leamington History Society Film ‘Life After Victoria: Leamington Spa in the Early 20th Century’ Life After Victoria: Leamington Spa in the Early 20th Century - YouTube August 2021.

‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911’ Historical Association Webinar, June 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPpNPR4rrrI

'Mapping Women's Suffrage, 1911 in the Black Country', Black Country Studies Centre: Lockdown Learning Series, Summer 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhOIstnOOug 

‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911: A Snapshot in Time in Coventry’, Local Community Workshop, Coventry Cathedral, Sept 2019.

'Women's Suffrage and Public Health in Coventry' Local Community Event, St Oswald's Church Coventry, July 2019 part of The Story of My Street: Activism Housing, Health & Welfare in Coventry, 1911-2019Link opens in a new window

‘‘Hitherto the Various Societies had Worked splendidly together’: Suffragists & Suffragettes: the differing Voices of Votes for Women’, Local Community Event with Leamington History Society, Sept 2018.

‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911: A Snapshot in Time’, The National Archives (free public talk & podcast) with Prof. Sarah Richardson (University of Warwick) & suffrage expert Elizabeth Crawford, Oct 2017 https://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/mapping-womens-suffrage/ 

'Mapping Women's Suffrage & Census Records', free public talk, The National Archives, 2017.

'Walking with Women’s Suffrage' public tours in Chelsea & Kensington (with Dr Jill Liddington) University of Leeds.

ESRC Festival of Social Science series, November 2020:

'Mapping Women's Suffrage and Me: Researching your Family History' Live talk with local & family researchers Clare Wichbold (Herefordshire) & Margaret Scott (Northumberland) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAHOLJv47f0&t=2s 

'Suffrage Music & Songs: Empowering Voices Past & Present' talk (with Prof. Sarah Richardson & featuring Coventry music trio 'The Pips') https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gddhE22POJ4 

'In Conversation with Coventry Atlas' Interview with Dr. Ben Kyneswood (University of Coventry) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr1cFQdSRek 

'Sharing Suffrage Stories: Mapping Women's Suffrage and 'Our Ethel' in Kent' talk produced in collaboration with local historian Jennifer Godfrey, Kent school student Isabeau Kemp, Sarah Kemp (her mum), and 'Our Ethel's' ancestors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5oQ1gKIw4 

Publications

Forthcoming - Morton, T, ‘‘Revolutionary Potential?’: The Role of Web Mapping and other Web Technologies in the Study and Democratization of Votes for Women Histories’ in Krista Cowman (ed.) The Routledge Companion to British Women’s Suffrage (London: Routledge).

Forthcoming - Morton, T, ''Teaching by the eye those who do not or cannot hear the spoken truth': Suffrage Street Postering in Women's Fight for the Vote' in D. Steele (ed.) The Politics of Sedition in Long Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Social and Cultural Discourse (London: Routledge).

Morton, T, ''A Fragile Unity': The Women's Coronation Procession, 1911', Blog, Mapping Women's Suffrage project (June 2021) Click here for article: A Fragile Unity: The Women's Coronation Procession, 1911Link opens in a new window

Morton, T, ‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911’: Online Sources, Modern History Review (2020) 23:1, pp. 22-23 Mapping women’s suffrage, 1911 - Hodder Education Magazines.

Morton, T, ‘‘An Arts and Crafts Society Working for the Enfranchisement of Women’: Unpicking the Political Threads of the Suffrage Atelier, 1909-1914’ in Miranda Garrett & Zoe Thomas (eds.) Suffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), pp.65-89.

Morton, T, ‘Votes for Women: Polychronicon’, Teaching History (2019) Issue 174, pp. 50-52 Polychronicon 174: Votes for Women / Historical Association (history.org.uk)

Morton, T, ‘Changing Spaces: Art, Politics and Identity in the Home Studios of the Suffrage Atelier’ in K. Bebe, A. Davies & K. Gleadle (eds.) Space, Place and Gendered Identities: Feminist History and the Spatial Turn (London: Routledge, 2015).

Morton, T, ‘Changing Spaces: Art, Politics and Identity in the Home Studios of the Suffrage Atelier’ Women’s History Review (2012) 23:4, pp. 623-638 Changing Spaces: art, politics, and identity in the home studios of the Suffrage Atelier: Women's History Review: Vol 21, No 4 (tandfonline.com)

Morton, T, & Liddington, J, ‘Walking with Women’s Suffrage in Kensington and Chelsea’ Herstoria (2011) ‘Issue 8, pp. 30-40 HerStoria, the magazine of women's history - Spring 2011

Contributions to & Acknowledgments in:

Calvini-Lefebvre, M, Delap, L, Richardson, S, & Sorin-Delpuech, C, 'Digital Humanities, Citizen Science and Feminist History: The Promise and Limits of Digital History' Histoire Sociale/Social History, 56:116, Novembre/November, 2023, pp. 453-470.

Thomas, Z, Women Art Workers and the Arts and Crafts Movement (Manchester University Press, 2020)

Schwartz, L, Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class and Domestic Labour in the Women's Suffrage Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Crawford, E, Art and Suffrage: A Biographical Dictionary of Suffrage Artists (Francis Boutle Publishers, 2018).

Liddington, J, Vanishing for the Vote: Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the Census (Manchester University Press, 2014).

Select Conference Papers

'Kathleen Trousdell Shaw: A deaf Sculptor Supporting Votes for Women' UK Disability History & Heritage Hub Conference, Manchester, June 6, 2024.

''She spoke like a negro to the manner born': Suffrage artists, migration, and empire: a case study of Pamela Colman-Smith' Women's History Network Annual Conference, Women and Migration, Sept 1 & 2, 2023.

‘Suffrage Artists: Mapping Women’s Suffrage, 1911’ British Women Artists 1750-1950 Network talk, University of York, March 2021.

'Black Country & Mapping Women's Suffrage, 1911' Black Country Studies Research Network II: Black Country Landscapes Conference, Black Country Museum, West Midlands, Feb 2020.

‘Not Women’s History, Just History: Re-imagining Women’s Suffrage’ joint paper & suffrage workshop, University of Cambridge symposium, 2019.

‘Suffrage Lives, 1866-1914: constructing a database’ Historical Association Conference, Chester, 2019

‘Mapping Women’s Suffrage & Census Records’, The National Archives, Kew, 2017.

'Translating Place and Space: Women Artists and the Making of Suffrage Propaganda’, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford.

'Envisioning Community: Space, Place and Translating the Past in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Britain', Envisioning Community Conference, University of Warwick.

''We lived in London; had two children and no thought of an art career entered my head': Louise Jopling-Rowe and Selfhood Through Work, Women's History Network Conference, University of Warwick.

Academic Roles

2024- Honorary Research Fellow, History Department, University of Warwick.

2024- Fellow, Warwick Institute of Engagement.

2021 Research Project Coordinator, British Women's Artists' Network, University of York.

2019 - 2021 Research Assistant, University of Warwick (passim).

2018 – 2019 Historical Consultant, Women's Suffrage: History and Citizenship Resources Project,

HM Government & the Historical Association.

2017- 2018 Lecturer ‘Access to University’, Dudley College.

2010-2011 Tutor ‘Gender History & Politics in Britain, 1790-1939, University of Warwick.

Awards & Training

Digital Arts & Humanities Lab Award, University of Warwick, November 2023

Bursary Award (Alan Turing Institute, University of Durham, University of Warwick) Delegate, Unlocking Digital Heritage & Creative Industries through Data Science & AI, Henley Business School, University of Reading, June 2023

Online Engagement (training & certification) via Dr Jamie Gallagher, Engagement Trainer & Consultant

Doctoral Fellowship Award, Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick

PGA IAPP Teaching Award (with exam board letter of commendation) University of Warwick.

Callum MacDonald Research Award, University of Warwick

Mentoring & Training Award, University of Warwick.

Visual Sources for Historians course, training & certification, Institute of Historical Research, London.

Other Awards & Activities

‘Round table Discussion on Disabled Women’s History’ Attendee, Women’s History Network Seminar Series, December 2023.

Round table Advisory Meeting & Best Practice Workshop 'Sites of Feminist Memory: A Citizen Science Project', IMERA, University of Marseilles, France, 21-23 November, 2023.

The Royal Historical Society Bursary Award Winner, 2010.

The Economic & Social History Society Bursary Award Winner, 2010.

Exhibition Curator & Catalogue Author: 'Performing the Self: Women's Lives in Historical Perspective', Women's History Network, 19th Annual Conference, MRC, University of Warwick, 2010.

Co-Organiser, 'Envisioning Community: Space, Place & Translating the Past in Nineteenth & Twentieth Century Britain' International Conference, University of Warwick, 2010 (funded by the Humanities Research Centre, The Royal Historical Society & the Economic and Social History Society) https://www.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/news-old/envisioningcommunity/Link opens in a new window

Memberships

Member of the Women’s History Network.

Member of the Royal Historical Society.

Member of the Global Suffrage History Collaborative, Simmons University, Boston.

Member of the UK Disability History & Heritage Hub.

Member of Sex: Queer Research Network, University of Warwick.

Member of the Migration, Identity, and Translation Network, University of Warwick.

Member of The National Trust.

Tara Morton

Honorary Research Fellow, History Department.

Fellow, Warwick Institute of Engagement.

Please contact me at:

tara dot morton at warwick dot ac dot uk

drtaramorton at gmail dot com

mappingwomenssuffrage at gmail dot com

For the full suffrage song & video 'Deeds Not Words' a creative collaboration with The PiPs & Mapping Women's Suffrage visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcxZ4q8B8UA 

Suffrage banner making.

Coventry Suffrage walk

Clemence & Laurence Housman house, Kensington - suffrage campaigners, designers & novelists.

Pamela Colman Smith - suffragist, artist & theatrical performer.