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Imagining Women’s Home-Work: History, Photography, Activism

Discover how history and photography can bring women’s past working lives to life. An event accompanying the exhibition These Four Walls: A Secret History of Women Home-Workers.

The curators of These Four Walls, photographer Leonora Saunders and historian Dr Helen McCarthy, will be in conversation with Dr Laura King. They will ask questions like: how can we recover and represent the hidden histories of women’s waged labour in the home? Was home work emancipatory for women, or a mark of their inferior position in the labour market? Can a visual medium like photography start new conversations about the past, present and future? Can it help to challenge the inequalities which continue to hold women back in 21st century Britain?

Leonora Saunders is a photographer and artist. Her work explores themes of diversity, inequality and the representation of women. Recent projects include "Same But Different" for Business in the Community and "Raising Horizons: 200 years of trowel-blazing women in archaeology and geosciences".

Dr Helen McCarthy is a fellow of St John’s College. She teaches modern British history at the University of Cambridge and is the author of "Women of the World: The Rise of the Female Diplomat" (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is currently writing a history of working motherhood in Britain from the late 19th century to the present.

Dr Laura King is Associate Professor at the School of History, University of Leeds. She researches histories of family, gender, emotions and everyday life in 20th century Britain.

An image of a woman chain worker by Leonora Saunders
An image of a woman chain worker by Leonora Saunders
An image of a woman chain worker by Leonora Saunders