Online again: 1 June, A Lightbulb Moment

We’re getting in the groove with CTANZ online and suddenly it’s June and our next installment is coming up on Wednesday 1 June, 7pm. This time, we’re headed to Hawke’s Bay for some history, presented by Emerita Professor Kay Morris Matthews. Kay’s talk, A Lightbulb Moment: Integrating Cottage Industries within a New Zealand Women’s Movement, draws on the life of (Anna Elizabeth) Jerome Spencer (1872-1955) founder and leader of the New Zealand Women’s Institutes, and on a 2021 exhibition co-curated by Kay and Gail Pope, For Home and Country: Women’s Institutes in the Hawke’s Bay, MTG. 

Jerome (Bessie) Spencer was inspired by a visit to London in 1919, where the English Women’s Institute Exhibition of Crafts, showed her the potential for combining women’s arts and crafts with cottage industries. It would provide the pathway to her establishing the New Zealand Women’s Institute (WI) in 1921.

An accomplished spinner and weaver, Jerome Spencer taught and encouraged Institute women to produce rugs, cushions, curtains, furnishings as well as clothing items. Her exhibition of their work at the 1925 New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin proved an effective recruitment exercise for the WI, and it became the largest women’s organisation in New Zealand.

As before, CTANZ members should have received an invitation to this talk by email, but if you’re not a member, but are interested in the talk, please contact us for the link (before 7pm on 1 June).

The series was started in part because of the Covid-enforced disruption to normal CTANZ activities. Our Traditions symposium was postponed until 2023; the new dates are 5-7 May.


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