Public Engagement Events

The Centre is committed to engaging with the wider public, and spreading knowledge about Victorian Literature and Culture through keynotes and lectures, newspaper articles, study days and documentary television appearances. Centre members and postgraduate students have participated in a wide range of public events.

Past Public Engagment Events:

Angelique Richardson worked with the National Trust on developing 'Hardy Country' and is a Member of the Thomas Hardy Country Steering Group (Dorset County Council). She was awarded a PhD Studentship on 'Hardy, Education and the National Trust' (2012-15) to increase knowledge and understanding of Hardy regionally, nationally and internationally. Prof. John Plunkett similarly has longstanding links with the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (University of Exeter). In 2011, he collaborated with the BDM and the BFI to produce a short film on 'Dickens and the Magic Lantern'.

Thomas Hardy and John Stuart Mill

25 April 2013

A lecture by Demelza Hookway at Dorset County Museum. This is the first in a series of five lectures about Thomas Hardy and is part of a larger project from a Hardy Country working group which includes Dorset County Museum, the National Trust and the University of Exeter. See the university events page for more details.

BBC news

December 2012

Prof John Plunkett appeared on BBC West Country Spotlight discussing Dickens and Cornwall

Thomas Hardy Public Lecture Series 2012

June-October 2012

Dorset County Museum, the University of Exeter, and the National Trust organised the 2012 Thomas Hardy Public Lecture Series. The academic organiser of the series, Dr Angelique Richardson (English department), also gave a talk Hardy and Devon in May about Hardy's connections with Devon. See the university news page for more details.

RAMM lecture

May 2012

John Plunkett gave a public lecture, ‘Pictures for the People; Victoria, Albert and Photography’, at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

Girls and Boys in Storyland

April 2012

PhD student Demelza Hookway curated two new exhibitions of children's literature at Exeter Central Library and the University of Exeter. The exhibitions were organized by Heritage Collections and Exeter Central Library to showcase highlights from their exciting collections of early children's books. The project has a WordPress blog where you can find out more about the exhibitions.

"Great Exhibitions and Great Debates" 

March 2012

Staff from the Centre participated in the panel discussion "Great Exhibitions and Great Debates" at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter. More information on the event can be found on the RAMM website

Moving and Projected-Image Exhibition in the South-West


The findings of Dr John Plunkett and Dr Joe Kember's AHRC-funded project on the exhibition of moving and projected-image entertainment in the South-West (1820-1914) were disseminated through a free exhibition which toured public libraries across the region. Consisting of items drawn from the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, exhibitions were hosted by the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (Nov 2010 - May 2011), City of Bristol Reference Library (4 January - 14 February 2011), Torquay Library (18-30 July 2011), Weston-Super-Mare Library (15 October - 11 November 2011), Barnstaple Library (1-30 October 2011), Sidmouth Library (8-20 August 2011), and Redruth Library (14-25 November 2011). An online exhibition was also placed on the BBC Devon website, and findings were featured on BBC Radio Devon, Western Morning News, and at a Plymouth Local Studies Day.

Dear Mr Darwin


Researchers ran annual master classes for school children from the local area based on the concept of writing letters to influential Victorian authors. The success of the scheme also led to PhD students holding more school master classes in April 2010 on the theme of writing a letter to Thomas Hardy. Pupils from the area were invited to submit letters to the competition with prizes on offer for the best contributors. The scheme was a collaboration between the Exeter Centre for Victorian Studies, Dorset County Museum and the Thomas Hardy Society. More information about the project can be found at the Darwin Correspondence Project website