(Re)Acting Romanticism: Disability and Women Writers

image reacting romanticism disability and women wri



Project Lead:

Harriet McKinley-Smith

DPhil student

Medieval and Modern Languages / Jesus College



Jeff Cowton MBE

Curator and Head of Learning at Wordsworth Grasmere


Rachael Sparkes

Artist and Theatre Practitioner


Melissa Mitchell AMA

Curator at Wordsworth Grasmere


Dr Ashleigh Blackwood

Project Research Consultant and Research Fellow at Northumbria University on Leverhulme Project ‘Writing Doctors: Medical Representation and Personality, ca.1660-1832’


Open - Oxford - Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership (OOC-DTP)

Funding body for 'Relating Romantic Disabilities' Collaborative Doctoral Award with Oxford University and Wordsworth Grasmere



About the project:

This project seeks to engage with visitors at Wordsworth Grasmere and bring attention to the experiences of Romantic women writers with disabilities. We plan to hold online workshops with students with disabilities to explore their responses to writing by authors such as Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary Robinson, and Susanna Blamire. This will then form the basis of an exhibition in the Community Gallery at the Wordsworth Museum.


The aim of the exhibition is to encourage the visitor to challenge their own feelings and attitudes towards those with disabilities, both past and present, as well as learning about understudied women writers of the Romantic period. This project has the power to resonate with the visitor while helping them to question their preconceptions, initiate conversation and bring about a change for good.


There will also be a webinar to discuss the exhibition, as well as an online presence for the project. Participants in the workshop will be encouraged to contribute blog posts and other creative responses so that we can reach as wide an audience as possible.




Harriet McKinley-Smith





Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the

future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.