The Girl at the Door is a three-year public art project exploring the legacy of suffrage. It started in 2015 as a collaboration between artist Kristina Clackson Bonnington and Dr Martine Rouleau (UCL Art Museum Learning and Access Officer).
About the project
Kristina Clackson Bonnington explains the origins of the project."It all started with a painting I came across in the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury. It's a life size painting of a little girl standing at the door, painted in 1910. The painting has such a prescence and immediately struck me as being of huge social significance. In 1910 the little girl standing at that threshold was excluded from so many places, but big changes were about to come. I wanted to explore what all these changes had actually amounted to. By working with hundreds of people, from primary school pupils to Parliamentarians, I started to investigate what changed as a result of suffrage."
UCL was thought to be the perfect site to launch the project due to its historical ethos of equality. Known as the 'godless college on Gower Street', UCL was the first secular university in the UK, and the first university to admit female students on equal terms to men. UCL's Slade School of Fine Art was also the first art college to admit women in the life room and has played a significant role in the inclusion of women in the arts.
It was launched with a two-day event taking place on 6 and 7 March on the eve of International Women's Day 2015. Activities took place on UCL campus with talks, workshops, music and a new piece of work by Clackson Bonnington called the House of Doors. This was an immersive sculptural work that reworked UCL's Quad into a private members' club in which visitors were sworn in as MHDs (Members of the House of Doors) and contributed ideas for new laws to The Book of Love and Legislation.
The House of Doors comprised of a large sculpture that referenced architectural details from three sites of significance to suffrage (UCL, Parliament and St James' Street). The sculpture extended to create a space where people could come together to reflect on and question their beliefs and actions through a range of spatial interventions and a series of talks and workshops.
See a range of images on our Flickr site here.
- Professor Graham Scambler, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at UCL
- Sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco
- Students from Argyle Primary School
- Dr Susannah Walker
- Artist Kristina Clackson Bonnington
- Students and researchers from Central St Martins
- Students and researchers from the Slade School of Fine Art
- RockFourArt: Art & Action Research Collective
- Sixth Form students from Sacred Heart Catholic School
- Les Zoings
- UCL History of Art students