The World of Women Explorers

– Posted on Thursday 14th May 2015

Part of the History in Heels season, a forthcoming illustrated talk at the Manx Museum will inspire us all to explore the world – near and far – through the accounts of women whose travel writing and research took them to China, West Africa, Iceland and the Isle of Man. Dr Avril Maddrell, social, cultural and historical geographer, visits the Isle of Man to present ‘To the ends of the earth (and home again): The hidden histories of women’s geographical work on Saturday 23rd May at 2.30pm.

Inspirational nineteenth-century Englishwomen, like explorer Isabella Bird and writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist Gertrude Bell are just two of the remarkable women Avril will introduce us to.  Closer to home, she’ll also talk about the work of researchers such as Cuchlaine King, professor of physical geography at Nottingham University and geographer and historian Margaret Davies, both of whose work brought them to the Isle of Man.

As will be seen in this illustrated talk, an excavation of the history of Geography reveals a host of women with a passion for learning and travel, who undertook extraordinary journeys, made important advances in knowledge, and worked in diverse professions including the sciences, arts, journalism, war work – and even espionage.

Dr Avril Maddrell specialises in gender and geographical thought, mobilities and deathscapes (spaces for death, mourning and remembrance). She has taught at Westminster College in Oxford, the Open University, Oxford Brookes University, and is currently Associate Professor in Geography at the University of the West of England in Bristol. She is author of numerous publications including ‘Complex Locations: Women’s Geographical Work in the UK 1850 – 1970 and ‘Pilgrimage, Landscape and Heritage’, which features the Isle of Man Praying the Keeills walks.

This talk is just one of many special events taking place as part of 2015’s History in Heels project –pop-ups displays and events hosted at seven Manx National Heritage venues.  From a Civil War Countess to the fastest women round the TT, History in Heels takes a fresh approach to remarkable Isle of Man women and their stories.  Also coming up in May at the Manx Museum for History in Heels are Katie Melua’s Knox inspired Dress and Fast Women: Women in Manx Motorsport, a visual exhibition.  Pick up a History in Heels leaflet or follow us on social media #historyinheels.

Tickets for the talk are £6.

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