Women In The Hills (WITH)

The Women In The Hills (WITH) research network will highlight how women constitute a distinct community of land-users, whose experiences and representations of landscape, and whose values and beliefs regarding the natural world, frequently differ from those of men. WITH will focus on the experiences of female walkers, runners, and climbers in upland wildernesses in the United Kingdom, from 1800 to the present day.

The network intends to explore the numerous factors that shape, hinder and enhance women’s engagements with landscape and the natural world. Our aim is to bring together academics, creative practitioners and stakeholders across a wide range of disciplines and sectors, to identify and evaluate barriers and catalysts to, and benefits derived from, women’s participation in leisure activities in the hills.

Women In The Hills will facilitate a boundary-crossing exploration of challenges to and benefits from women’s participation in upland recreation. We hope that conversations during the network will lead to the emergence of future pathways to improve the quality and quantity of female recreational use of UK uplands. These conversations will also help develop an inter-disciplinary methodology for the study of diversity in land use.

The network’s events will be structured around three key categories that have shaped women’s historical and contemporary experiences of UK uplands, and are relevant across disciplines and industries:

·       women’s bodies

·       women’s lives and social circumstances

·       women as makers and recipients of decisions about land management.

These three categories will structure the network’s events and outputs, and provide a framework for investigating how biological sex and gendered social structures might intersect with social class, ethnicity, dis/ability and impairment, sexuality, gender identity, and religion, to shape women’s experiences and representations of land use.

The network is directed by a Leadership Group comprising Rachel Hewitt (Newcastle University), Kerri Andrews (Edge Hill University) and Joanna Taylor (University of Manchester). The network’s events and rationale are overseen by an Advisory Group, of which Zakiya Mckenzie, Keri Wallace (Girls on Hills guided trail-running for women), Isobel Filor (John Muir Trust), Emma Brockwell (Pelvic Roar) and Harvey Wilkinson (National Trust) are members. Women In The Hills is very lucky to be working closely with three organisations as project partners: Girls on Hills, John Muir Trust, and Pelvic Roar. You can find out more about these individuals and organisations on the Who We Are page of the project website.

Co-Investigator Kerri Andrews introduces the project in this short video

Link to the project pages on the UKRI Gateway to Research https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT00603X%2F1