In 2018 the UK commemorated the centenary of women over 30 getting the vote. With exhibitions, performances, presentations and tea-parties, the celebrations extended well beyond Parliament, and Dr Jacqui Turner, the UK’s expert on Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat in Parliament, played a significant role in the programme’s development.
Dr Turner’s mission is to ‘disrupt the male narrative of Parliament’ and encourage a more balanced view of women’s contribution to politics and power throughout history. During her research, Dr Turner worked with the Astor papers in the University’s Special Collections and the Parliamentary Archives. And as a direct result, Nancy Astor now has a place in the House of Commons Committee Corridor, in the form of a bust. The sculpture is a regular stopping point for guided tours, providing a focus for discussions of women in politics with hundreds of visitors every day.
Working with women MPs of all parties, as well as archivists and activists, Dr Turner’s contributions have been instrumental in Vote100 events and exhibitions across the country, including at Cliveden (the Astor family home), Westminster Hall, the National Army Museum and the University itself. In Reading, she has also worked with Reside Dance and the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality, helping to put women at the forefront of twenty-first century debate, both locally and nationally.
The National Trust, Archives of the Houses of Parliament, University of Reading Special Collections
“We were impressed by how Jacqui has built relationships and networks to bring research about women’s role in politics to the fore in Parliament”
Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2018
First published: June 2018