Hannah More and Material Culture: Call for Papers

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A Digital Conference, 24-5 June 2021

Hannah More, one of the most prominent intellectual figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, left multiple material traces of her work and activities. From the buildings that housed her Sunday Schools across the Mendips, to the 1,800 surviving letters written by her in her lifetime, to the thousands of inscriptions and autographs written by her in fans’ books, to the copious knitting she produced for friends and loved ones, to the boards holding her poetry in country estates in the south west, a wealth of material evidence has survived. Little has been examined, however, or enjoyed the sort of sustained and serious investigation increasingly offered to material cultures of the eighteenth century by critics including Chloe Wigston Smith, Jennie Batchelor, Maddie Pelling, Freya Gowrley, Elizabeth Eger, Nicole Pohl, Amanda Vickery and others.

This conference, which will be held using digital technologies and platforms, seeks to address this significant gap in More scholarship and it looks to do so by taking advantage of the benefits offered by digital conferencing over face-to-face events. Therefore, contributors are explicitly invited to consider the ways in which they might make use of digital technology to make more visible, or more accessible, or more readable, the material traces left by Hannah More.

Proposals of around 250 words for presentations are invited. The deadline for submission of proposals is 9 April 2021. Submissions should include a title, affiliation if applicable, and a short (100 word) biography. If you are proposing a roundtable please include proposals and supplementary information for all participants.

As a result of our invitation to utilise digital technology to enhance your presentation, we are open to a range of formats including, but not limited to, the following:

•       Virtual tours of repositories, collections or libraries
•       Show and tell
•       Digital manipulation of objects
•       Digital explorations of buildings, blueprints, maps
•       Academic papers with a strong visual element
•       Roundtable discussions with a strong visual element
•       Recreation of objects using digital technologies
•       Theatre
•       Performance

These formats can be on a range of topics including, but not limited to, the following:

•       Hannah More’s letters
•       Textiles
•       Material culture and friendship
•       Object circulation
•       Collection, then and now
•       Barley Wood, its construction, history, use
•       Gardening
•       Botanizing
•       Gifting
•       Autograph hunting
•       Hannah More’s library
•       Sociability
•       Knitting and sewing
•       Material culture and gender
•       Hannah More’s Sunday Schools
•       Philanthropy
•       Inscription poetry
•       The Belmont estate
•       Hannah More’s Pedagogy
•       Museum curation, displays and/or public engagement with objects
•       Preservation and conservation of material objects
•       Buildings
•       Music
•       Church and/or Mendips churches


Please send your proposals to the following address: sue.edney@bristol.ac.uk clearly marked ‘Hannah More and Material Culture’.

There will be no formal conference fee, but participants will be invited to make a donation to The Hannah More Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting knowledge about More’s life and works.