RGU professor’s suffragette series in high demand

A series of lectures and programme of activities, led by Professor Sarah Pedersen of Robert Gordon University (RGU), which focus on the suffragettes in North-east Scotland is proving to be so popular that the project has expanded to take in additional dates and events.

Karen Shaw (left), and students from the School of Creative and Cultural Business dressed as suffragettes to welcome pupils from across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who attended the exhibition launch at RGU.Earlier this year, RGU received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the project which primarily focuses on the correspondence and work of Caroline Phillips, a journalist and activist for women’s rights.

Since then, Sarah, Professor of Communication and Media, has carried out a number of engagements which support the project. Most recently she gave a talk at Aberdeen Central Library which coincided with the launch of an exhibition and short book based on Scottish suffragettes and the letters of Ms Phillips, secretary of the Aberdeen branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, and reporter on the Aberdeen Daily Journal, a forerunner of the Press and Journal.

Demand was so high that the venue was changed to accommodate 100 attendees – double the originally intended audience. She will deliver an additional lecture at the library in February to cater for the 150 people still on the waiting list.

The Aberdeen lecture followed on from talks in Dunfermline and Orkney. Additional talks at Stonehaven and Inverurie and to Aberdeen WI have also been scheduled. Two exhibitions on the subject will tour Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire libraries.

Around 200 Higher History pupils from schools across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire attended a launch of the exhibition and book at RGU. A similar event will be held at Peterhead Academy on November 27th.

Participants at all the launch events received a copy of the edited collection of Caroline Phillips’ letters.

The project is part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and will also form part of activities in 2018 which will mark the centenary of women gaining the vote in the UK. In connection with the centenary, Sarah is working with members of Aberdeen Women’s Alliance (AWA) to put on an event to mark International Women’s Day on March 3. It will further explore the correspondence and the wider issue of women’s right to vote. A similar event with AWA will also be held at Glasgow Women’s Library.

Professor Pedersen, of RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business and author of The Scottish Suffragettes and the Press, to be published this summer, said: “2018 will mark the centenary of women gaining the vote in the UK. Many people do not realise how active the campaign for women’s suffrage was in the North-east of Scotland. It is the aim of this project to raise public awareness of the activities of the suffragettes in the area and the unique collection of suffrage correspondence held in the city.”


Release by Kate Yuill
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries