Annual workshop

For Love or Money?: Women, Amateurs and Professionals

Keynote: Professor Judith Hawley (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Date: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this workshop is postponed until a later date. We will update this page when we have reorganised the event.

Non-WSG members £23; Waged WSG members £19; Unwaged and students £17

Tickets including Buffet Lunch and refreshments. 

10.30 Registration and coffee
11.00 Keynote Paper followed by discussion
12.15 – 13.00 Lunch (included in the price)
13.00 – 15.05 Participant presentations
15.05 – 15.25 Tea Break
15.25 – 16.40 Participant presentations continued
16.40 – 17.00 Summing up and closing Discussion.
Participant presentations:
All participants are invited to prepare a presentation of no more than 5 minutes, from any discipline related to the speaker’s subject.  Due to time constraints, please keep any PowerPoint presentation brief (maximum of 2-4 slides) and ensure it is loaded during the 10.30 registration, saved under your surname. A brief handout is to give to participants is also welcomed. Please print approx. 30 copies and bring them on the day of the workshop to distribute to participants.

•          The rise of the professional in the arts and sciences

•          The value of the amateur

•          Disdain for the commercial imperative

•          Training for amateurs in the arts

•          Feminine accomplishments

•          The role of the virtuoso and dilettante

Professor Judith Hawley (Royal Holloway, University of London) will provide our Keynote and lead the discussions. Professor Hawley’s research focusses on eighteenth-century literature and culture and she has published on a range of subjects from literature and science to Laurence Sterne. Of her Keynote ‘For Love or Money?: Women, Amateurs and Professionals’, Professor Hawley writes:

Amateur vs. Professional is one of those binaries which is too readily mapped onto the gender divide. In the past, men might have seemed to have had the monopoly on competence, expertise and commercial standing with women relegated to the status of bumbling amateur. As women were largely excluded from formal education and membership of professional bodies, this division of roles might carry some authority. Yet this binary can be challenged in a number of ways. Women had established proficiency in some trades and were achieving financial success and earning status in (emerging) professions such as literature and the theatre. Moreover, the notion of the inferiority of the amateur has been contested by thinkers such as Robert Stebbins and Richard Sennett who champion the amateur’s independence from the market, finely-honed skills and passionate commitment to their chosen field.


The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 annual workshop takes place every spring at The Foundling Museum, London.  The one-day workshop includes lunch, as well as refreshments, in the booking cost.  The day always follows the same format: a distinguished invited speaker provides the keynote in the morning, followed by discussion and lunch; then participants each give a 5-minute presentation on a subject relevant to the theme of the keynote, followed by discussion, and then the close of the workshop.  Previous speakers have included Professor Laura Gowing of King’s College London and Professor Jeanice Brooks of the University of Southampton.