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“Because I had something to say”

Dutch women authors from the 19th century

An exhibition
On the 30th of September, the Museum of Dutch Literature, in collaboration with Huygens ING and the KB, National Library of the Netherlands, opened the exhibition “Omdat ik iets te zeggen had”, presenting a number of nineteenth-century Dutch women authors.

The exhibition was organized in the context of the European HERA research project Travelling TexTs 1790-1914: The Transnational Reception of Women’s Writing at the Fringes of Europe. This project is carried out at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, and at the universities from Turku (Finland), Volda (Norway), Nova Gorica (Slovenia) and Glasgow (United Kingdom). The project is a continuation of earlier undertakings financed by NWO and COST, such as New approaches to European Women’s Writing (NEWW) and Women Writers in History.

The other party collaborating in the exhibition is the “Damesleesmuseum” (Ladies’ Reading Museum) from The Hague: a late-nineteenth-century library which played an important role in the international circulation of women’s writings, and still exists today.

A workshop
On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “Omdat ik iets te zeggen had”, the Dutch team of HERA TTT organized a “Knowledge Exchange Workshop” on September 29 and 30, 2015. It was entitled:

Women’s History: Research, Dissemination and the role of the Digital

This “Knowledge Exchange Workshop” discussed in a quite informal way the potential impact of research in literary history, and the means at our disposal for trying to reach a larger audience. We focused on research about the roles women played in the historical literary field, and on the possibilities created by the growing online presence of texts (including those by women). This was considered in direct relationship with the interest of “engaged citizens” participating in research, digitizing and crowd sourcing projects.

The exhibition was actually prepared with the collaboration of a number of these non-specialist, voluntary collaborators, who each of them were struck by the fact that these nineteenth-century women authors do have “something to say” – not only to researchers, but also to present-day non-specialized interested readers. The voluntary collaborators participated in the presentations and discussions.

Each of the invited speakers delivered a brief presentation discussing her/his activities within this field, which introduced common reflection and brainstorming between the panel members and the audience.

Further information
The exhibition “Omdat ik iets te zeggen had” will also be shown in Haarlem (Noord-Hollands Archief: February-March 2016), in Amsterdam (Atria, Knowledge center for Emancipation and Women’s history: April 2016) and in Utrecht (Public Library: September-October 2016). In each location the presentation will be adapted to local circumstances. It will include material from these archives or show local authors.

See also
the website of Huygens ING

Suzan van Dijk
Francesca Scott
Janouk de Groot

SvD, October 2015

  • Conferences and activities > HERA TTT meetings > Dutch meeting 2015: Workshop and Exhibition

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