This August, we welcome Dr Kim Simpson into a new role as Deputy Director.

Kim has been the Postdoctoral Fellow at Chawton House since 2016, a post shared between the library and the English Department at the University of Southampton, where she lectured in eighteenth-century studies. Prior to this, she completed her PhD on amatory fiction, identity, and the body at the University of Kent. She now joins us full-time and will be responsible for academic programming.

Of her appointment, Kim says:

‘I am delighted to be joining the team at Chawton House on a full-time basis. Over this last year, we have gone from strength to strength, adapting to the challenges of the pandemic with an ambitious digital programme, and staying connected to both local and global communities. It is a joy to be back with colleagues in the beautiful house at Chawton, but also to start work putting together a programme that continues to share the wonderful women writers in our collections with both old and new friends, on site and online. We have two particularly big years in the near future, with our 20th anniversary coming up in 2023, and Austen 250 celebrations taking place in 2025, and I am really looking forward to an exciting series of events, collaborations and displays that showcases what makes Chawton House such a special place for people from all walks of life.’

Kim’s role will include management of summer Visiting Fellowships and academic collaborations, with a particular focus on providing support for postgraduate and early career researchers. She will be developing our existing educational packages for GCSE, A-level and undergraduate students to nurture a new generation of readers. Annual academic conferences will build on the success of past international events, including ‘Jane Austen, Germaine de Staël and their contemporaries, 1817-2017’ (July, 2017) and the recent digital ‘Adventurous Wives’ conference (May, 2021), and will ensure that Chawton House continues to facilitate and host emergent research on women’s writing in the long eighteenth century. Research is integral to what we do at Chawton House, and the research generated from the collections will feed into our outputs, from exhibitions and site interpretation to public lectures and workshops. Kim will be overseeing academic events, including talks, interviews and study days, and collaborating on the curation of future exhibitions. She will also continue hosting two monthly reading groups – one on site and one online – as well as editing Chawton House’s digital magazine The Female Spectator (3 issues per year).