Astor100 was a celebration of the life and legacy of Nancy Astor. More broadly, it was the celebration of 100 years of women in Parliament.
Astor100 involved a major series of academic and public engagements which took place during 2019 and 2020, curated by Dr Jacqui Turner, lecturer in Modern History at the University of Reading.
Challenging the male narrative in parliament
#Astor100 engaged beyond Astor as an individual; it was the memorisation of the achievement of an individual that facilitated a wider celebration of what Astor represented, and the avenues she pioneered for women who followed.
Nancy Astor was not the first woman to stand for election nor be elected; 17 pioneering women stood in the 1918 general election. Constance Markievicz was the only one elected, but as a member of Sinn Fein and in adherence to their abstentionist policy, she did not take her seat. Her achievements were celebrated in July 2018 and she was formally recognised at Westminster.
Building on the work of the Vote100 project, Astor100 was home to a major series of academic and public engagements throughout 2019 and Spring 2020 to continue to address issues of gender balance and perceptions of a masculine environment in the heart of the political life.
The project encouraged policy makers and educationalists to build on histories of suffrage and think more broadly about women, minority access and contributions to politics and power.
The project also facilitated work with our major partners in Nancy Astor’s constituency in Plymouth, the National Trust at her country home at Cliveden, and Parliament and History of Parliament.
The project was underpinned by a digital humanities project ‘An Unconventional MP’: The political career of Nancy Astor in 50 documents’, an online exhibition on Twitter illustrating Nancy Astor’s political career and her legacy. The twitter exhibition is currently being developed into a source-book of the same name providing access and comment on key archival materials that illustrates key facets of Astor’s career.
Welcome to the launch ‘An Unconventional MP: The Political Life of Nancy Astor in 50 documents’#OnThisDay @LadyAstorStatue #Astor100 #WomeninParliament #Vote100 @UniofReading #Twitterstorians @SpecialCollections The Box (Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives) pic.twitter.com/M93kQEo1rg— Astor100 (@LadyAstor100) November 21, 2018
Find out more: you can look back at the Astor100 digital project on Twitter here.
OLH Special Journal: ‘Nancy Astor, public women and gendered political culture’
An output from Astor100 is an Open Library of Humanities collection entitled ‘Nancy Astor, public women and gendered political culture’ which addresses a range of approaches to Astor and her time.
The collection is edited by Dr Daniel Grey and Dr Jacqui Turner. Daniel Grey is Head of History at Hertfordshire and has published extensively on women, crime and the state. Jacqui Turner is Associate Professor of Modern British Political History and curator of the national Astor100 centenary programme.
Read the collection here.