MoMoWo is an EU-funded project that aims to explore womenâ€™s creativity since the Modern Movement. At the end of September this year, scholars from across Europe gathered at the University of Leiden for the first of the projectâ€™s conferences (three are planned in all) to explore, in this instance, â€˜women designers, craftswomen, architects and engineers between 1918 and 1945â€™.
Alban Wood School, Watford, by Hertfordshire County Architects, 1954. Architectural Association Photo Library.
The project as a whole has much relevance for AA XX 100, and members of the latter projectâ€™s team were well represented at the Leiden conference.
The conference keynote, â€˜City Spaces, Womenâ€™s Networks and Public Identities in London, 1918-1940â€™, was co-presented by AA XX 100â€™s lead historians, Dr Lynne Walker and Dr Elizabeth Darling.
Their wide-ranging paper discussed the overlaps among womenâ€™s rights, women reformers, and women architects in the inter-war years and the spaces â€“ adapted and designed from new â€“ that resulted from their collaborative work.
This was a process in which many AA women â€“ Judith Ledeboer, Justin Blanco White, Janet Fletcher (Pott), and Elisabeth Scott â€“ were much involved and manifested in projects such as the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Womenâ€™s Service House, London and Kensal House, London.
Dr Elizabeth Darling speaking at the MoMoWo conference. Credit: MoMoWo.
Yasmin Shariff, AA XX 100 Chair, also contributed a paper â€˜Mary Medd nee Crowley (1907-2005)â€™ about one of the AAâ€™s leading inter-war graduates, exploring her varied practice as a socially-responsible architect, not least her involvement in the Hertfordshire Schools project.
As a whole, the conference papers were diverse in subject matter and geography. Of particular relevance for AA XX 100 were discussions that explored the work of Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, and parallel developments in opening up the French architectural schools to women.
Taken together, the conference as a whole helped to build a clear picture (and reminder) of the major role that women played in the creation of European modernism.
The next conference, which will consider the immediate post-war period, will be held in Ljubljana in Autumn 2016.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AA Graduate Janet Fletcher