Cynthia Hammond: “Every Tree a Staunch Heart: Feminist Spatial Occupations in Bath, England, 1909-1912”

poster_Cynthia Hammond

Suffragette Annie Kenney, photographed with a Lawson Cypress in Bath, England, 1909. Courtesy of Bath in Time. 

GPE Dept Seminar Series

Cynthia Hammond (Concordia Art History)
Every Tree a Staunch Heart: Feminist Spatial Occupations in Bath, England, 1909-1912

  • 12 February 2016
  • 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
  • H-1267 (Concordia Hall Building)

On the outskirts of Bath, England, a remarkable feminist landscape took shape between 1909-1912. During these years, over sixty women visited a private home, to plant a tree or shrub in a carefully designed arboretum. This field of trees was intended to be a living monument to women who had either fought for the right to vote in the streets of England, or who had undergone hunger strikes and force-feeding in prison. The “Suffragettes’ Wood” (also called “Annie’s Arboretum” after the famous working-class suffragette, Annie Kenney) is the only known example of collective feminist landscape design in England. It is, however, one of many forms of feminist spatial occupation during the same period. In 1965 the Suffragettes’ Wood was destroyed to make way for a housing estate, leaving few material traces behind. Fortunately, an extensive photographic archive survived, and was made public, digitally, in 2008. It was this archive that alerted Cynthia Hammond to this powerful feminist history in Bath, and led to her research-creation work, “The Suffragettes’ Orchard.” Her presentation will tell the story of the Suffragettes’ Wood, its creation, decline, and destruction. It will also tell the story of how, starting with a small public art project, a community came together to create this city’s first public monument to women.

Cynthia Hammond is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University.

Presented by the Department of Geography, Planning, & Environment, Concordia University

 

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