Chawton House Library is an internationally-renowned research institution, working in partnership with scholars and universities across the globe.  One of these partnerships has established close academic links with the University of Southampton, since the University has considerable strengths in the fields of women’s writing, history, and the visual and material culture of the long eighteenth century.  Since 2003, the University has been running a popular MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies, known as the ‘Chawton MA’.  For more information, please visit the website at the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies,  (SCECS), where the Library’s Director of Research, Dr Gillian Dow,  is also a member of staff.



Academic conferences form an important part of the Chawton House Library programme of events. They contribute to scholarly work in the field of women’s writing in English 1600 to 1830, and related topics, and they disseminate the results of the research by selected publication.  2013 saw a landmark conference held to celebrate the Library’s ten year anniversary.

Previous conferences include:



  • Anna Letitia Barbauld in Twenty Hundred and Twelve: New Perspectives.  A conference at Chawton House Library 11-12 May 2012

Co-hosted by the Department of English, University of Leicester, and SCECS, University of Southampton.

Co-hosted by the Department of Linguistics, University of Liverpool and SCECS, University of Southampton


  • New Directions in Austen Studies, a bicentennial conference to commemorate Jane Austen’s move to the village of Chawton in 2009, 9th-11th July 2009

Co-hosted by CHL and SCECS.

Selected articles resulting from papers presented at this conference can be found online, as a special issue of the Jane Austen Society of North America’s journal Persuasions On-Line edited by Gillian Dow and Susan Allen Ford.


  • ‘Readers, Writers, Salonnieres’, May 2008

Selected papers from this conference, co-organised by the Universities of Southampton, Swansea, and Warwick, were included in a special issue of the journal Women’s Writing in 2011, Women Readers in Europe: Readers, Writers, Salonnieres edited by Katherine Astbury, Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow, and in Readers, Writers, Salonnieres: Female Networks in Europe edited by Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow.


A two-day conference co-organised by the Library and the University of Southampton, held on the 16th and 17th March.


  • Mary & Elizabeth: Partners both in throne and grave.  A conference at Chawton House Library,   10th to the 12th September 2007


  •  Remapping Austen: Jane Austen in Europe and Beyond.  A conference at Chawton House Library,  8th November 2007


  • Study Day on Jane Austen and Contemporary Culture, Chawton House Library, June 2007

Transatlantic slaverySeveral edited collections of essays resulted from this activity: Imagining Transatlantic Slavery, edited by Cora Kaplan and John Oldfield; Tudor Queenship: The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, edited by Alice Hunt and Anna Whitelock; and Uses of Austen: Jane’s Afterlives, edited by Gillian Dow and Clare Hanson.


Conferences in 2006 included, in March, ‘Translators, Interpreters, Mediators: Women’s Writing 1700-1900′, and, in July  ‘Wild Irish Girls’: a bicentenary conference to mark the publication of Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl and Maria Edgeworth’s Leonora, was held in July 2006. Both were jointly organised by Chawton House Library and the department of English at the University of Southampton.



A regular schedule of seminars and lectures are held at Chawton House Library, open to the public.  These include evening events, lunchtime talks, and afternoon seminars on new research.  Please visit the calendar for details of the latest activities.


Visiting Fellowships

Fellowships run in partnership with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton.

Our programme enables scholars undertaking significant research in the long eighteenth century to access the collections at Chawton House Library.  Chawton House Library Fellows are also Visiting Fellows at the University of Southampton, thus enabling them to use the electronic resources and archives at the Hartley Library, and visiting members of SCECS.

Applications have now closed for the one-month Visiting Fellowships to be taken up between October 2012 and the end of August 2013 (please note: no fellowships can be awarded during December 2012, January and July 2013).

For more information about the Chawton House Library Visiting Fellowships 2014-15 program, please click here

A List of previous Fellows is available here.