News | November 18, 2022

Chawton House Wins Prestigious Award for Innovation


Chawton House

Historic Houses has announced that Chawton House has been awarded the prestigious Frances Garnham Award for Innovation in Education.  

Commemorating the achievements of Frances Garnham, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Historic Houses until 2015, this award seeks to shine a light on innovative examples of learning and outreach within the heritage sector.  
Of the award, Ben Cowell, Director General at Historic Houses, said: “It’s a pleasure to announce Chawton House as the winner of this award. It’s so important to recognise the importance of engaging with a wide range of audiences, and Chawton House continues to set the high bar within the heritage sector for this. It’s no secret how important the House is to the people of Hampshire, so we’re glad that the local community can celebrate this award along with the team at Chawton House.” 

Committed to providing a stimulating and open environment for students of all ages in their educational journey, Chawton House offers a diverse range of educational packages for schools, colleges, and universities. Whilst Chawton House’s unique library of early women’s writing and connection to Jane Austen makes the House a natural setting for literature students, they also offer packages that aim to inspire a new generation of young people with interests in history, business, heritage, leisure, and gardens and the environment. 

Alongside a programme of tours, workshops and talks delivered onsite, online, and offsite, Chawton House runs a Visiting Fellowship programme for early career researchers, made possible by support from the Ardeola Charitable Trust. Open to researchers working on women’s writing of the long eighteenth-century, the fellowship scheme provides the opportunity for further research to be done on the collection, allowing new stories to be told. 

Responding to the news, Kim Simpson, Deputy Director of Chawton House, said: “I am delighted that Chawton House has been awarded the Frances Graham Award in recognition of the work we are doing to engage a new generation with our beautiful site and rich collections. This year, we have seen more variety of engagement than ever before: local primary students came to sketch in our gardens; postgraduate researchers shed new lights on neglected areas of our collections; young creative writers from all over the world penned moving poetry and short stories inspired by our Man Up! exhibition; and we had an entire school perfecting the art of eighteenth-century curtseys! Chawton House is brimmed with untold stories, and we look forward, in the future, to working alongside our communities to unearth and share them.”

Alongside their educational offer, Chawton House runs a vibrant public engagement programme, which reaches an international audience, and includes digital talks, study days, a monthly reading group, and themed tours. As part of their current exhibition, Trailblazers: Women travel writers and the exchange of knowledge, an exciting programme of virtual events have been organised to explore the lives and works of five trailblazing women writers featured in the exhibition.